Dan Brown writes interesting books, filled with historical arcana and geographically accurate settings. And the critics hate his incredibly wealthy guts.

Most people know of Dan Brown through Tom Hanks’ portrayal of his greatest character, Harvard symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon. The most popular, The Da Vinci Code, took readers and viewers on a search through the early church to find the Holy Grail – and managed to piss off a lot of Roman Catholics at the same time (as did Angels & Demons). Through two movies and four novels, Langdon has packed several lifetimes’ worth of adventure into pages and film, making Indiana Jones seem like a has-been slacker. Regardless of the literary world’s opinion of Brown, his books do contain a great deal of historical fact gleaned from what seems to be years of thorough research.

Brown’s latest, Inferno, deals with Dante, Florence, Venice, The Divine Comedy, cathedrals and museums, and a vector pandemic viral contagion intended to save humanity from itself. Sound intriguing? Characters include a mad (?) scientist, doctors and assassins who aren’t quite what they appear to be, museum docents and local authorities, a mysterious “Consortium” that helps rich people and governments achieve clandestine objectives, and the head of the World Health Organization. Perhaps the main characters in Brown’s books, however, are the settings. Each city, street, and building is described with perfect detail, placing you right at the scene of the action – and certainly resurrecting memories for those readers who have ever visited any of the locales described in the book.

Yeah, there is some stretching of the imagination required, perhaps a little suspension of reality now and again. But the conjectures and theories advanced in Brown’s pages catapult the storyline along from crisis to crisis, hardly letting the reader stop to catch a breath (much less the characters involved).

So what does this have to do with summer in the Keys? Not much… except for the fact that it’s always good to have a summer read. Between emails and spreadsheets and websites and PDFs, it’s good to grab an actual book now and again and escape into someone else’s world for a while. Inferno is a compelling action-packed summer read perfect for escaping the Island Paradise reality we share. Enjoy your trip to Italy!

And as far as the critics who don’t like Brown’s books, if they strain their ears, hey can hear him laughing… all the way to the bank.


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On this Memorial Day weekend, as we enjoy the time off and the cookouts with family and friends, let us remember those who have served and sacrificed so we can enjoy those freedoms we often take for granted. And let’s hope the political gridlock in our nation’s capital will ease enough so that somebody up there can do something to ensure our veterans get the help and treatment they have earned. Anything less is a disgrace for those who wear and have worn the uniforms of our armed services.


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It’s hard to believe, but July 4th is coming up faster than we think. Sponsors, volunteers, and parade participants are all wanted; stay tuned to the pages of the Weekly for information on our community’s biggest beach party! This event, co-sponsored by the City of Marathon and the Rotary Club of Marathon, helps the Rotary Club fund local scholarships and community projects. Truly, it’s a party with a purpose!


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