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Deception Point (D. Brown)

2004-09-06 3 min read Books marco

Probably the first of the very successful set of novels written by Dan Brown, Deception Point opens with a series of themes that will be recurrent throughout Brown’s work. We find the hero and heroine couple to be, meeting at the beginning of the book and forging an unlikely alliance. The hero will be someone that has sworn not to fall in love again; he will be handsome but learned, desired but humble. The heroine will be stunning but too smart to deal with commoners.
The father figure shows up very prominently. In this case, that’s not the heroine’s actual father, who doesn’t ever behave father-like in the whole novel. Instead, it’s the heroine’s boss. This is a prelude to more similar figures throughout the series, and implicates that an almost Oedipal relationship with older men is what prevents the heroine from binding to one of the multitude of men seeking her.
Twists are another recurring item. In Dan Brown’s work, the plot twists like a snake recoiling in a captor’s hand. What seemed good becomes evil, and who seemed friend becomes foe. This need for twists in the plot line gives Brown’s novels a level of ambiguity they share with a lot of thrillers: since you are never sure about the goodness of a character, morality becomes very ambiguous.
Research is another one of Brown’s naturals. When he talks about scientific or technical matters, he sounds very convincing. Despite this, to the expert all his stories have severe logical flaws that render them virtually indistinguishable from Hollywood movies, whose written memento these books seem to be.
Deception Point is a story about a meteorite used to justify the existence of NASA. It is about a close presidential race, in which the incumbent is honest but losing, the opponent cunning but dishonest. And finally it is about a spy and an oceanographer who fall in love despite being both very much the classical Brown misanthropes.
In the end, Deception Point fails on many levels. The premise of the story, a fake meteorite, is too unbelievable to be true. Despite the admonition that all technology in the book is real, placing a meteorite under and ice shelf seems too much a complication to be acceptable.
As a novel, Deception Point is too unevenly paced. Descriptive elements will be inserted in high-paced sections, and where a slowing of the pace would allow for a credible description of the characters, Brown rushes as if hit by an evil editor seeking to cut the end in half.
As a thriller, Deception Point is too predictable. While there are a great many actors in the drama, the premise of the hidden meteorite points directly towards the ultimate culprit. Even if you wouldn’t want to believe his (or her, I don’t want to spoil your fun!) guilt, you are still faced with the realization there are only two other characters that can be at fault.
If you have read all books by Dan Brown, read this for comparison. If you haven’t but intend to read them all, then start a chronological progression. If you are just curious about Dan Brown, read The Da Vinci Code – an almost perfect zenith of his writing, spoiled only by the realization that it’s going to be quite impossible for him to reach the same levels.