Dan Brown – Origin – A Guided Tour

I have been a big fan of Dan Brown’s books, all the way back to Digital Fortress and Deception Point. Origin, the latest book in the Robert Langdon series, is no exception. Even though the books follow a fairly predictable structure, i.e. “middle aged professor saves the world from a shadowy foe with attractive young woman against backdrop of old buildings and paintings”, I still enjoy them.

What I enjoy most is the way that a crucial real-world question of philosophy, science or religion is woven into what appears on the surface to be a low-reader-investment thriller. With this approach, I think Dan Brown has managed to reach an audience which would otherwise never pick up a book on the ethics of genetic engineering, comparative religious studies, ancient architecture or synthetic intelligence.

I won’t go into the plot here, you should go and read the book yourself. What I did find, was that I was stopping every 10 pages to look up a painting, building or religious cult on the internet. In order to save you some time, I have created a list of links to some of the key elements of the book. Some of them I had heard of before, others were entirely new to me. There are no real spoilers in the list, hopefully it will save you some googling.

One day I hope to make it to Spain to do an Origin tour, as I was able to do in Rome and Washington D.C. focused on the content of Angels & Demons and The Lost Symbol. Let me know what you thought of the book, and if you think I have missed anything.

(this post has no association with Dan Brown or Penguin/Bantam, links are all to external sites)

Works of Art

Yves Klein

Leap into the Void:  https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1992.5112/

Monotone Silence (nudity): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkHoWUwxEFM&t=5s

Luis Boureois

Maman: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/10856

Richard Serra

The Matter of Time: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/21794

Joan Miro

Signs and Meteors (not specifically mentioned, but Joan is referenced):

https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/8519

Pablo Picasso

El Guernica: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/artwork/guernica

Antoni Gaudi

Parc Guell: https://erasmusu.com/en/erasmus-barcelona/what-to-see/parc-guell-1897

La Sopa Primordial: http://www.barcelona-metropolitan.com/features/barcelona-history-underfoot-the-city%27s-tiles/

Paul Gauguin

Where do we come from what are we doing where are we going?:

http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/where-do-we-come-from-what-are-we-where-are-we-going-32558

William Blake

Vala or the Four Zoas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vala,_or_The_Four_Zoas

The Ancient of Days: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ac/Europe_a_Prophecy_copy_K_plate_01.jpg/800px-Europe_a_Prophecy_copy_K_plate_01.jpg

Buildings/Locations

Montserrat

http://www.complexmania.com/montserrat-rack-railway/

Library – http://www.montserratvisita.com/en/culture/montserrat-library

Guggenheim – Bilbao

https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/the-building/

Dohany Synagogue in Budapest

360 internal: http://www.synagogues360.org/synagogues.php?ident=hungary_003

Local photos, plus weeping willow sculpture: https://www.budapestbylocals.com/budapest-great-synagogue.html

Catedral de la Almundena

http://www.catedraldelaalmudena.es/imagenes/

Royal Palace of Madrid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Palace_of_Madrid

Palacio de la Zarzuela

https://www.digitalsevilla.com/2017/10/17/alerta-zarzuela/

Szechenyi Chain Bridge

https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g274887-d276821-i124534337-Szechenyi_Chain_Bridge-Budapest_Central_Hungary.html

Basilica of Palmar De Troya

(visit by former nun) http://www.mariahallwriter.com/basilica_visit/

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/El_Palmar_de_Troya.jpg

Casa Mila (by Gaudi)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_Mil%C3%A0

video mentioned in book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utaTcNq2mHs&t=5s

La Basilica De La Sagrada Familia

Must be seen to be believed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lYdrhYYWpg&t=733s

Plan for completion by 2026: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ8NcKNlZzg

El Escorial

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Escorial

Barcelona Supercomputing Center

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/barcelona-supercomputing-center

Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_de_los_Ca%C3%ADdos

Organisations or People

Palmarian Catholic Church:

(totally real) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmarian_Catholic_Church

Spanish Royal Guard

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Royal_Guard

Random Information

What is a Whiffenpoof?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Whiffenpoofs

Symbols of Franco

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbols_of_Francoism

D-Wave (Quantum Computer)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Wave_Two

Miller-Urey Experiment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

About Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly is a singer/songwriter from Yass in Australia.
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