{Free ePUB} Origin: A NovelAuthor Dan Brown – Schematicwiringdiagram.co

PROLOGUEAs the ancient cogwheel train clawed its way up the dizzying incline, Edmond Kirsch surveyed the jagged mountaintop above him In the distance, built into the face of a sheer cliff, the massive stone monastery seemed to hang in space, as if magically fused to the vertical precipiceThis timeless sanctuary in Catalonia, Spain, had endured the relentless pull of gravity forthan four centuries, never slipping from its original purpose to insulate its occupants from the modern world Ironically, they will now be the first to learn the truth, Kirsch thought, wondering how they would react Historically, the most dangerous men on earth were men of Godespecially when their gods became threatened And I am about to hurl a flaming spear into a hornets nestWhen the train reached the mountaintop, Kirsch saw a solitary figure waiting for him on the platform The wizened skeleton of a man was draped in the traditional Catholic purple cassock and white rochet, with a zucchetto on his head Kirsch recognized his hosts rawboned features from photos and felt an unexpected surge of adrenaline Valdespino is greeting me personallyBishop Antonio Valdespino was a formidable figure in Spainnot only a trusted friend and counselor to the king himself, but one of the countrys most vocal and influential advocates for the preservation of conservative Catholic values and traditional political standardsEdmond Kirsch, I assume the bishop intoned as Kirsch exited the trainGuilty as charged, Kirsch said, smiling as he reached out to shake his hosts bony hand Bishop Valdespino, I want to thank you for arranging this meetingI appreciate your requesting it The bishops voice was stronger than Kirsch expectedclear and penetrating, like a bell It is not often we are consulted by men of science, especially one of your prominence This way, pleaseAs Valdespino guided Kirsch across the platform, the cold mountain air whipped at the bishops cassockI must confess, Valdespino said, you look different than I imagined I was expecting a scientist, but youre quiteHe eyed his guests sleek Kiton K suit and Barker ostrich shoes with a hint of disdain Hip, I believe, is the word Kirsch smiled politely The word hip went out of style decades agoIn reading your list of accomplishments, the bishop said, I am still not entirely sure what it is you doI specialize in game theory and computer modelingSo you make the computer games that the children play Kirsch sensed the bishop was feigning ignorance in an attempt to be quaint More accurately, Kirsch knew, Valdespino was a frighteningly well informed student of technology and often warned others of its dangers No, sir, actually game theory is a field of mathematics that studies patterns in order to make predictions about the futureAh yes I believe I read that you predicted a European monetary crisis some years ago When nobody listened, you saved the day by inventing a computer program that pulled the EU back from the dead What was your famous quote At thirty three years old, I am the same age as Christ when He performed His resurrection Kirsch cringed A poor analogy, Your Grace I was youngYoung The bishop chuckled And how old are you nowperhaps forty JustThe old man smiled as the strong wind continued to billow his robe Well, the meek were supposed to inherit the earth, but instead it has gone to the youngthe technically inclined, those who stare into video screens rather than into their own souls I must admit, I never imagined I would have reason to meet the young man leading the charge They call you a prophet, you knowNot a very good one in your case, Your Grace, Kirsch replied When I asked if I might meet you and your colleagues privately, I calculated only a twenty percent chance you would acceptAnd as I told my colleagues, the devout can always benefit from listening to nonbelievers It is in hearing the voice of the devil that we can better appreciate the voice of God The old man smiled I am joking, of course Please forgive my aging sense of humor My filters fail me from time to timeWith that, Bishop Valdespino motioned ahead The others are waiting This way, pleaseKirsch eyed their destination, a colossal citadel of gray stone perched on the edge of a sheer cliff that plunged thousands of feet down into a lush tapestry of wooded foothills Unnerved by the height, Kirsch averted his eyes from the chasm and followed the bishop along the uneven cliffside path, turning his thoughts to the meeting aheadKirsch had requested an audience with three prominent religious leaders who had just finished attending a conference here The Parliament of the Worlds ReligionsSince , hundreds of spiritual leaders from nearly thirty world religions had gathered in a different location every few years to spend a week engaged in interfaith dialogue Participants included a wide array of influential Christian priests, Jewish rabbis, and Islamic mullahs from around the world, along with Hindu pujaris, Buddhist bhikkhus, Jains, Sikhs, and othersThe parliaments self proclaimed objective was to cultivate harmony among the worlds religions, build bridges between diverse spiritualities, and celebrate the intersections of all faith A noble quest, Kirsch thought, despite seeing it as an empty exercise a meaningless search for random points of correspondence among a hodgepodge of ancient fictions, fables, and mythsAs Bishop Valdespino guided him along the pathway, Kirsch peered down the mountainside with a sardonic thought Moses climbed a mountain to accept the Word of Godand I have climbed a mountain to do quite the oppositeKirschs motivation for climbing this mountain, he had told himself, was one of ethical obligation, but he knew there was a good dose of hubris fueling this visit he was eager to feel the gratification of sitting face to face with these clerics and foretelling their imminent demise Youve had your run at defining our truthI looked at your curriculum vitae, the bishop said abruptly, glancing at Kirsch I see youre a product of Harvard University Undergraduate YesI see Recently, I read that for the first time in Harvards history, the incoming student body consists ofatheists and agnostics than those who identify as followers of any religion That is quite a telling statistic, Mr Kirsch What can I tell you, Kirsch wanted to reply, our students keep getting smarterThe wind whipped harder as they arrived at the ancient stone edifice Inside the dim light of the buildings entryway, the air was heavy with the thick fragrance of burning frankincense The two men snaked through a maze of dark corridors, and Kirschs eyes fought to adjust as he followed his cloaked host Finally, they arrived at an unusually small wooden door The bishop knocked, ducked down, and entered, motioning for his guest to followUncertain, Kirsch stepped over the thresholdHe found himself in a rectangular chamber whose high walls burgeoned with ancient leather bound tomes Additional freestanding bookshelves jutted out of the walls like ribs, interspersed with cast iron radiators that clanged and hissed, giving the room the eerie sense that it was alive Kirsch raised his eyes to the ornately balustraded walkway that encircled the second story and knew without a doubt where he was The famed library of Montserrat, he realized, startled to have been admitted This sacred room was rud to contain uniquely rare texts accessible only to those monks who had devoted their lives to God and who were sequestered here on this mountainYou asked for discretion, the bishop said This is our most private space Few outsiders have ever enteredA generous privilege Thank youKirsch followed the bishop to a large wooden table where two elderly men sat waiting The man on the left looked timeworn, with tired eyes and a matted white beard He wore a crumpled black suit, white shirt, and fedoraThis is Rabbi Yehuda Kves, the bishop said He is a prominent Jewish philosopher who has written extensively on Kabbalistic cosmologyKirsch reached across the table and politely shook hands with Rabbi Kves A pleasure to meet you, sir, Kirsch said Ive read your books on Kabbala I cant say I understood them, but Ive read themKves gave an amiable nod, dabbing at his watery eyes with his handkerchiefAnd here, the bishop continued, motioning to the other man, you have the respected allamah, Syed al FadlThe revered Islamic scholar stood up and smiled broadly He was short and squat with a jovial face that seemed a mismatch with his dark penetrating eyes He was dressed in an unassuming white thawb And, Mr Kirsch, I have read your predictions on the future of mankind I cant say I agree with them, but I have read themKirsch gave a gracious smile and shook the mans handAnd our guest, Edmond Kirsch, the bishop concluded, addressing his two colleagues, as you know, is a highly regarded computer scientist, game theorist, inventor, and something of a prophet in the technological world Considering his background, I was puzzled by his request to address the three of us Therefore, I shall now leave it to Mr Kirsch to explain why he has comeWith that, Bishop Valdespino took a seat between his two colleagues, folded his hands, and gazed up expectantly at Kirsch All three men faced him like a tribunal, creating an ambiencelike that of an inquisition than a friendly meeting of scholars The bishop, Kirsch now realized, had not even set out a chair for himKirsch feltbemused than intimidated as he studied the three aging men before him So this is the Holy Trinity I requested The Three Wise MenPausing a moment to assert his power, Kirsch walked over to the window and gazed out at the breathtaking panorama below A sunlit patchwork of ancient pastoral lands stretched across a deep valley, giving way to the rugged peaks of the Collserola mountain range Miles beyond, somewhere out over the Balearic Sea, a menacing bank of storm clouds was now gathering on the horizon Fitting, Kirsch thought, sensing the turbulence he would soon cause in this room, and in the world beyondGentlemen, he commenced, turning abruptly back toward them I believe Bishop Valdespino has already conveyed to you my request for secrecy Before we continue, I just want to clarify that what I am about to share with you must be kept in the strictest confidence Simply stated, I am asking for a vow of silence from all of you Are we in agreement All three men gave nods of tacit acquiescence, which Kirsch knew were probably redundant anyway They will want to bury this informationnot broadcast itI am here today, Kirsch began, because I have made a scientific discovery I believe you will find startling It is something I have pursued for many years, hoping to provide answers to two of the most fundamental questions of our human experience Now that I have succeeded, I have come to you specifically because I believe this information will affect the worlds faithful in a profound way, quite possibly causing a shift that can only be described as, shall we saydisruptive At the moment, I am the only person on earth who has the information I am about to reveal to youKirsch reached into his suit coat and pulled out an oversized smartphoneone that he had designed and built to serve his own unique needs The phone had a vibrantly colored mosaic case, and he propped it up before the three men like a television In a moment, he would use the device to dial into an ultrasecure server, enter his forty seven character password, and live stream a presentation for themWhat you are about to see, Kirsch said, is a rough cut of an announcement I hope to share with the worldperhaps in a month or so But before I do, I wanted to consult with a few of the worlds most influential religious thinkers, to gain insight into how this news will be received by those it affects mostThe bishop sighed loudly, soundingbored than concerned An intriguing preamble, Mr Kirsch You speak as if whatever you are about to show us will shake the foundations of the worlds religionsKirsch glanced around the ancient repository of sacred texts It will not shake your foundations It will shatter themKirsch appraised the men before him What they did not know was that in only three days time, Kirsch planned to go public with this presentation in a stunning, meticulously choreographed event When he did, people across the world would realize that the teachings of all religions did indeed have one thing in commonThey were all dead wrongAPTER Professor Robert Langdon gazed up at the forty foot tall dog sitting in the plaza The animals fur was a living carpet of grass and fragrant flowers Im trying to love you, he thought I truly amLangdon pondered the creature a bit longer and then continued along a suspended walkway, descending a sprawling terrace of stairs whose uneven treads were intended to jar the arriving visitor from his usual rhythm and gait Mission accomplished, Langdon decided, nearly stumbling twice on the irregular stepsAt the bottom of the stairs, Langdon jolted to a stop, staring at a massive object that loomed ahead Now Ive seen it allA towering black widow spider rose before him, its slender iron legs supporting a bulbous body at least thirty feet in the air On the spiders underbelly hung a wire mesh egg sac filled with glass orbsHer name is Maman, a voice saidLangdon lowered his gaze and saw a slender man standing beneath the spider He wore a black brocade sherwani and had an almost comical curling Salvador Dal mustacheMy name is Fernando, he continued, and Im here to welcome you to the museum The man perused a collection of name tags on a table before him May I have your name, please Certainly Robert LangdonThe mans eyes shot back up Ah, I am so sorry I did not recognize you, sir I barely recognize myself, Langdon thought, advancing stiffly in his white bow tie, black tails, and white waistcoat I look like a Whiffenpoof Langdons classic tails were almost thirty years old, preserved from his days as a member of the Ivy Club at Princeton, but thanks to his faithful daily regimen of swimming laps, the outfit still fit him fairly well In Langdons haste to pack, he had grabbed the wrong hanging bag from his closet, leaving his usual tuxedo behindThe invitation said black and white, Langdon said I trust tails are appropriate Tails are a classic You look dashing The man scurried over and carefully pressed a name tag to the lapel of Langdons jacketIts an honor to meet you, sir, the mustached man said No doubt youve visited us before Langdon gazed through the spiders legs at the glistening building before them Actually, Im embarrassed to say, Ive never beenNo The man feigned falling over Youre not a fan of modern art Langdon had always enjoyed the challenge of modern artprimarily the exploration of why particular works were hailed as masterpieces Jackson Pollocks drip paintings Andy Warhols Campbells Soup cans Mark Rothkos simple rectangles of color Even so, Langdon was farcomfortable discussing the religious symbolism of Hieronymus Bosch or the brushwork of Francisco de GoyaImof a classicist, Langdon replied I do better with da Vinci than with de KooningBut da Vinci and de Kooning are sosimilar Langdon smiled patiently Then I clearly have a bit to learn about de KooningWell, youve come to the right place The man swung his arm toward the massive building In this museum, you will find one of the finest collections of modern art on earth I do hope you enjoyI intend to, Langdon replied I only wish I knew why Im hereYou and everyone else The man laughed merrily, shaking his head Your host has been very secretive about the purpose of tonights event Not even the museum staff knows whats happening The mystery is half the fun of itrumors are running wild There are several hundred guests insidemany famous facesand nobody has any idea whats on the agenda tonight Now Langdon grinned Very few hosts on earth would have the bravado to send out last minute invitations that essentially read Saturday night Be there Trust me And even fewer would be able to persuade hundreds of VIPs to drop everything and fly to northern Spain to attend the eventLangdon walked out from beneath the spider and continued along the pathway, glancing up at an enormous red banner that billowed overhead EVENING WITHEDMOND KIRSCH Edmond has certainly never lacked confidence, Langdon thought, amusedSome twenty years ago, young Eddie Kirsch had been one of Langdons first students at Harvard University a mop haired computer geek whose interest in codes had led him to Langdons freshman seminar Codes, Ciphers, and the Language of Symbols The sophistication of Kirschs intellect had impressed Langdon deeply, and although Kirsch eventually abandoned the dusty world of semiotics for the shining promise of computers, he and Langdon had developed a studentteacher bond that had kept them in contact over the past two decades since Kirschs graduation Now the student has surpassed his teacher, Langdon thought By several light yearsToday, Edmond Kirsch was a world renowned maverick a billionaire computer scientist, futurist, inventor, and entrepreneur The forty year old had fathered an astounding array of advanced technologies that represented major leaps forward in fields as diverse as robotics, brain science, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology And his accurate predictions about future scientific breakthroughs had created a mystical aura around the manLangdon suspected that Edmonds eerie knack for prognostication stemmed from his astoundingly broad knowledge of the world around him For as long as Langdon could remember, Edmond had been an insatiable bibliophilereading everything in sight The mans passion for books, and his capacity for absorbing their contents, surpassed anything Langdon had ever witnessedFor the past few years, Kirsch had lived primarily in Spain, attributing his choice to an ongoing love affair with the countrys old world charm, avant garde architecture, eccentric gin bars, and perfect weatherOnce a year, when Kirsch returned to Cambridge to speak at the MIT Media Lab, Langdon would join him for a meal at one of the trendy new Boston hot spots that Langdon had never heard of Their conversations were never about technology all Kirsch ever wanted to discuss with Langdon was the artsYoure my culture connection, Robert, Kirsch often joked My own private bachelor of arts The playful jab at Langdons marital status was particularly ironic coming from a fellow bachelor who denounced monogamy as an affront to evolution and had been photographed with a wide range of supermodels over the yearsConsidering Kirschs reputation as an innovator in computer science, one could easily have imagined him being a buttoned up techno nerd But he had instead fashioned himself into a modern pop icon who moved in celebrity circles, dressed in the latest styles, listened to arcane underground music, and collected a wide array of priceless Impressionist and modern art Kirsch often e mailed Langdon to get his advice on new pieces of art he was considering for his collection And then he would do the exact opposite, Langdon musedAbout a year ago, Kirsch had surprised Langdon by asking him not about art, but about God an odd topic for a self proclaimed atheist Over a plate of short rib crudo at Bostons Tiger Mama, Kirsch had picked Langdons brain on the core beliefs of various world religions, in particular their different stories of the CreationLangdon gave him a solid overview of current beliefs, from the Genesis story shared by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all the way through the Hindu story of Brahma, the Babylonian tale of Marduk, and othersIm curious, Langdon asked as they left the restaurant Why is a futurist so interested in the past Does this mean our famous atheist has finally found God Edmond let out a hearty laugh Wishful thinking Im just sizing up my competition, RobertLangdon smiledTypical Well, science and religion are not competitors, theyre two different languages trying to tell the same story Theres room in this world for bothAfter that meeting, Edmond had dropped out of contact for almost a year And then, out of the blue, three days ago, Langdon had received a FedEx envelope with a plane ticket, a hotel reservation, and a handwritten note from Edmond urging him to attend tonights event It read Robert, it would mean the world to me if you of all people could attend Your insights during our last conversation helped make this night possibleLangdon was baffled Nothing about that conversation seemed remotely relevant to an event that would be hosted by a futuristThe FedEx envelope also included a black and white image of two people standing face to face Kirsch had written a short poem to LangdonRobert,When you see me face to face,Ill reveal the empty spaceEdmondLangdon smiled when he saw the image a clever allusion to an episode in which Langdon had been involved several years earlier The silhouette of a chalice, or Grail cup, revealed itself in the empty space between the two facesNow Langdon stood outside this museum, eager to learn what his former student was about to announce A light breeze ruffled his jacket tails as he moved along the cement walkway on the bank of the meandering Nervin River, which had once been the lifeblood of a thriving industrial city The air smelled vaguely of copperAs Langdon rounded a bend in the pathway, he finally permitted himself to look at the massive, glimmering museum The structure was impossible to take in at a glance Instead, his gaze traced back and forth along the entire length of the bizarre, elongated forms This building doesnt just break the rules, Langdon thought It ignores them completely A perfect spot for EdmondThe Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, looked like something out of an alien hallucination a swirling collage of warped metallic forms that appeared to have been propped up against one another in an almost random way Stretching into the distance, the chaotic mass of shapes was draped inthan thirty thousand titanium tiles that glinted like fish scales and gave the structure a simultaneously organic and extraterrestrial feel, as if some futuristic leviathan had crawled out of the water to sun herself on the riverbankWhen the building was first unveiled in , The New Yorker hailed its architect, Frank Gehry, as having designed a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium, while other critics around the world gushed, The greatest building of our time Mercurial brilliance An astonishing architectural feat Since the museums debut, dozens of other deconstructivist buildings had been erectedthe Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, BMWWorld in Munich, and even the new library at Langdons own alma mater Each featured radically unconventional design and construction,and yet Langdon doubted any of them could compete with the Bilbao Guggenheim for its sheer shock valueAs Langdon approached, the tiled facade seemed to morph with each step, offering a fresh personality from every angle The museums most dramatic illusion now became visible Incredibly, from this perspective, the colossal structure appeared to be quite literally floating on water, adrift on a vast infinity lagoon that lapped against the museums outer wallsLangdon paused a moment to marvel at the effect and then set out to cross the lagoon via the minimalist footbridge that arched over the glassy expanse of water He was only halfway across when a loud hissing noise startled him It was emanating from beneath his feet He stopped short just as a swirling cloud of mist began billowing out from beneath the walkway The thick veil of fog rose around him and then tumbled outward across the lagoon, rolling toward the museum and engulfing the base of the entire structure The Fog Sculpture, Langdon thoughtHe had read about this work by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya Thesculpture was revolutionary in that it was constructed out of the medium of visible air, a wall of fog that materialized and dissipated overtime and because the breezes and atmospheric conditions were never identical one day to the next, the sculpture was different every time it appearedThe bridge stopped hissing, and Langdon watched the wall of fog settle silently across the lagoon, swirling and creeping as if it had a mind of its own The effect was both ethereal and disorienting The entire museum now appeared to be hovering over the water, resting weightlessly on a cloud a ghost ship lost at seaJust as Langdon was about to set out again, the tranquil surface of the water was shattered by a series of small eruptions Suddenly five flaming pillars of fire shot skyward out of the lagoon, thundering steadily like rocket engines that pierced the mist laden air and threw brilliant bursts of light across the museums titanium tilesLangdons own architectural taste tendedto the classical stylingsof museums like the Louvre or the Prado, and yet as he watched the fog and flame hover above the lagoon, he could think of no placesuitable than this ultramodern museum to host an event thrown by a man who loved art and innovation, and who glimpsed the future so clearlyNow, walking through the mist, Langdon pressed on to the museums entrance an ominous black hole in the reptilian structure As he neared the threshold, Langdon had the uneasy sense that he was entering the mouth of a dragonFans of The Da Vinci Code rejoice Professor Robert Langdon is again solving the mysteries of the universe People Magazine A brisk new book that pits creationism against science, and is liable to stir up as much controversy as The Da Vinci Codedid In Origin, the brash futurist Edmond Kirsch comes up with a theory so bold, so daring that, as he modestly thinks to himself in Browns beloved italics, It will not shake your foundations It will shatter them Kirsch is of course addressing The World, because thats the scale on which Brown writes Brown and serious ideas they do fit together, neverthan they have in Origin Janet Maslin, The New York TimesOriginasks the questions Where do we come from Where are we going They are questions about humanity but they could just as easily be questions about Robert Langdon The Mickey Mouse watch wearing, claustrophobic, always near trouble symbology professor is back in Dan Browns latest book And just like he was in his original exploits Angels Demonsand The Da Vinci Code , Dr Langdon is once again wrapped up in a global scale event that could have massive ramifications on the worlds religionsAs he does in all his novels, Brown s extensive research on art, architecture, and history informs every page Entertainment Weekly EntertainingLoyal fans of his globetrotting symbologist Robert Langdon will no doubt be thrilled with the fifth book in the series USA Today Dan Brown is once again taking on the big questions God and science and the future of the world Origin is a familiar blend of travelogue, history, conspiracies and whodunit, with asides on everything from the poetry of William Blake to the rise and fall of fascism in Spain Associated Press The bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code is back with a new book that looks to the future Originfeatures many of Browns signature themes An evil, Catholic adjacent cult, in this case the Palmarian Church, is behind some murders Gems from art history are the key to solving the mystery And if the reader is in it for the thrill and the twist, the faithful will be glad to hear that theres a Da Vinci Code esque background to Robert Langdons missionThe New Republic