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THE BLOOMSBURY-T2 HARRY POTTER DIWALI CONTEST IS BACK!

  • Published 18.10.17
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THE BLOOMSBURY-T2 HARRY POTTER DIWALI CONTEST IS BACK!

How about some magic to light up this festival of lights? 

Bloomsbury, the publishers of the Harry Potter books, has just come out with a full-colour illustrated edition of Book No. 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay, this hardbound collector’s edition includes the unabridged text of J.K. Rowling, making it a perfect gift for a book lover this Diwali. And if you want to win yourself a copy, here’s your chance to get lucky!

Which is your favourite character from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Tell us within 60 words and you could win this stunning illustrated copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!   

To participate in the Bloomsbury-t2 Diwali Contest send your entries to t2contest@abp.in with your name, age, phone number and postal address. Entries exceeding the word limit will not be considered. Contest closes at 9pm on October 20, 2017.

IN ORIGIN, DAN BROWN GOES BACK TO THAT OLD DEBATE THAT CATAPULTED HIM TO GLOBAL FAME WITH THE DA VINCI CODE — SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Dan Brown 

All ye who read Inferno and abandoned all hope of ever being enthused about another Dan Brown thriller again can take heart from his latest offering, Origin (Penguin Random House India, Rs 799). In his fifth novel featuring Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, Brown returns to the premise that brought him unprecedented fame (and infamy) when he wrote The Da Vinci Code in 2003 — the tussle between science and religion. 

Now, it is “colossal” fun to take “perfectly aimed” potshots at “the world-renowned” Dan Brown’s loopy language and interminable passages that seemed copy-pasted straight from Wikipedia, but if the mammoth success of some of India’s biggest selling writers have shown us anything, the ability to write is not a prerequisite to become a successful writer. What is, however, of utmost importance (not “utmost happiness”, mind you) is that you spin a yarn well and make the reader turn the page. 

In Origin, Brown makes sure you make your way right till the end of this 456-pager by promising to answer the two BIG questions of human existence: where did we come from, and where are we going? Did God create life on earth, or did Nature? And what future is mankind moving towards?

At the centre of Origin is Langdon’s former student Edmond Kirsch, an Elon Musk-like millionaire tech whiz who invites a clutch of important people from all over the world (including a Bollywood actor, which is Brown’s obvious nod to Indian fans) to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, to show off a presentation that will answer those two questions and settle the Creationism vs Evolution debate once and for all. 

But before he can make his big reveal, he’s shot dead and now Langdon must work out Edmond’s 47-character password and unlock the presentation on a computer in an unknown location, of course in a race against time with people who want to bury the truth and Edmond’s discovery. 

As usual, Langdon is not alone in this quest. On the run with him is Ambra Vidal, the stunning director of the Bilbao Guggenheim who’s poured herself into a “form-fitting dress” for Edmond’s big night. She’s engaged to the Prince of Spain but she doesn’t trust him one bit. 

This time Langdon has another aide too, and he’s far more attractive for readers — Winston, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled computer programme with a slight British accent. If you find yourself questioning Winston’s human-like behaviour, remind yourself of Siri and Alexa and how Facebook had to recently shut down an AI programme because two robots developed their own language and started communicating with each other, shutting their human creators out. 

The Guggenheim Bilbao, where Edmond Kirsch gathers everyone to make his big reveal

Brown has also peppered the pages with modern-day references that make the story seem very real, from Uber to fake news, driver-less cars to talking phones. The book begins with a note that adds to the “real” feel: All art, architecture, locations, science and religious organisations in this novel are real. 

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, a basilica that has been under construction for 135 years, is where Langdon’s search ends

The set up and the reveal are actually quite engaging. The problem with Origin is the middle, which just doesn’t have enough mystery, or codes and symbols and ciphers and musty crypts that left us breathless in his first two Langdon books, Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code.

Samhita Chakraborty

If I could suggest one book to Dan Brown it would be...
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