First thing Monday morning, the day before The Lost Symbol was to go on the market, TG woke to find that Janet Maslin of the New York Times had broken the embargo and reviewed the book. A rave review, as a matter of fact. TG is so annoyed by this (the fact that she broke the embargo, not the fact that she gave it a rave review) he's not even going to link to her column. The LA Times broke the embargo as well. Usually when this happens, the publisher leaps in with denunciations, demanding an investigation as to how the offenders came by their copies. Since there has been nary a peep from the publisher on this score, I can only think they gave them the book themselves. If true, shame, shame, Doubleday. I would be glad to publish comments from them, or anyone else, on where these reviewers got their copies. And the reasons why they chose to break the rules. (Yes, yes, TG is not really so naïve to not know why they did what they did, but he'd like to hear their mewling, self serving justifications.)
TG stood patiently on line at Borders at midnight, along with six other hardy souls, bought his own copy and headed home to stay up all night to read. The fact that the reading session lasted till two AM is testament to the fact that the book is good, lively enough to keep an aging reviewer in his seat with open eyes. At least for awhile. Then it was up at six AM the next morning and back to the book, which was finished by 3:00 PM, the reviews written and sent in by 4:30. A long day, but the book held up well.
Because TG was contracted to supply the reviews to several outlets, the review of the book won't appear on these pages for at least several days. They pay, and, alas, TG readers do not, so let's give them some time to get their money's worth. I will at least say, the book is damned good. It was sort of like examining the original of something that one usually sees as a copy on a street-vendor's cart. The two items look pretty much alike, but after awhile one realizes that the workmanship on the original is far better than the knock-off. TG has reviewed scores of Da Vinci Code-like thrillers, and many of them have been very good, but there's no question that Dan Brown owns the franchise and perhaps others who follow in his path should start looking around for their own ideas in the future, no matter how tempting and lucrative it might be to ride along on the bandwagon.
And so, after a good night's sleep, TG rises again to resume his old life, where there are no mega-blockbusters in sight, no embargoes and no cheating newspapers, just a long line of thrillers, waiting for someone to sing their praises or point out, gently, sadly, their flaws and infelicities.