Dan Brown is famous for his popular if not controversial novels, The Da Vinci Code, and more recently The Lost Symbol. Unfortunately, these novels have branded Brown with the stigma of being an author of religious conspiracy which may turn many potential readers who are not interested in religious conspiracy novels away from his earlier work. My goal is to help introduce readers who may not be familiar with Dan Brown or who may have been turned off by his later novels to a genuine page turner of a novel that is not bogged down by Brown’s love of controversial subject matter.
Deception Point, like most Brown novels, takes place within a relatively short time frame; approximately one day. NASA has made a discovery deep beneath the ice of the Arctic and they have assembled a team of independent scientists to analyze the discovery and prepare for a public revelation that will change the world as we know it. Unfortunately, not all is at it seems and a lethal Black Ops team is dispatched by an unknown entity to keep a powerful secret from being revealed.
Deception Point is immediately engaging. The opening chapter of the novel quickly sets up the style, pace and mystery that continues relentlessly through the duration of the book. The fact that the story is set within the confines of approximately one day adds tension and urgency to virtually every page. I had a very difficult time putting this book down to go to bed. In fact, I found myself up until sunrise reading this book at least once. The lengthier size of this novel gives the reader plenty of exciting sequences and allows enough room to develop characters and plot so that they become important to the reader.
I found myself becoming attached to many of the characters in this novel, and also found myself developing a strong dislike for a few of the antagonists. This is a hallmark trait of good character development and something that every writer should remember: it is better for your reader to dislike a character than to not care at all. Brown crafts his characters with the precision of a master author; it is difficult to believe Deception Point is one of his earliest novels.
Like most Dan Brown novels, Deception Point climaxes with an unexpected twist that most readers will not expect. Some may claim the twist is contrived and unnecessary, but in this book it simply works well. I felt it was believable and added even more drama to an already dramatic plot. Brown even takes the time at the end of the novel to give one particularly rotten character everything he deserves.This is a great payoff to the reader who has spent the entirety of the novel fostering a growing dislike for the character.
Deception Point does many things right, but that does not mean it is perfect. There are a number of fantastical elements of the novel that the most critical readers will be quick to point out. Scientific accuracy is loosely discarded in favor of workable plot devices. Some of the character names sound a little bit too much like character names. A few readers have criticized Brown for pacing the novel too closely to the Da Vinci Code, however it is important to realize that this novel was written first, and therefore should not be judged in that context.
Whether you are a fan of Dan Brown’s later novels or not, Deception Point is truly an entertaining book. If you dedicate the attention that this book demands, you will find yourself enjoying the story a great deal. If you’re a casual reader who picks up a book one or two times a week to read a few pages, you might not like this book as much simply because this book is meant to be consumed quickly.