By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton
Robert Langdon had built a reputation as an expert in codes and symbols, especially religious symbols. As such, he was frequently asked to identify and put meaning to various forms of symbolism. Langdon was invited by an eccentric friend and former student to be a special guest at the Guggenheim Museum. Edmond Kirsch, a billionaire researcher, had displayed an uncanny ability to accurately predict the future. He was also a noted atheist who openly displayed his antagonism for religion. Though that ran contrary to Langdon’s views, the two men liked and respected one another.
Because of Kirsch’s reputation, and the considerable hype, the presentation was attended by many and broadcast to millions. The Guggenheim interior was astounding.
The presentation was given in what appeared to be an openmeadow complete with a night sky. In what was to prove useful later, that scene was in a tent-like structure inside the actual building. The presentation by Kirsch was preceded by considerable buildup. The actual presentation by Kirsch offered a detailed examination of the fallacy of the world’s religions and the claim that he had recently made a scientific discovery that explained the origin of human life and its destiny. He predicted a future free from religion. Before he could offer the actual discovery, he was shot. The shot came through a slit in the canvas structure.
Langdon had been given a tour of the amazing Kirsch-developed Guggenheim environment. His tour was given, compliments of specially developed earphones, by Winston. Much to Langston’s surprise, Winston turned out to be a computer endowed with artificial intelligence. The death of Kirsch, at such an inopportune time, caused a sensation. A serious case had been made against all the world’s religions; what to make of the incomplete presentation? And who would do such a horrible thing?
The reader is given several possible options. Three noted religious leaders are introduced, and Kirsch has spent considerable public time with the female director of the Guggenheim, fiancée of a local prince. In addition, the reader follows a retired special operations officer who seems to be acting under the impression that he is doing God’s work. “Origin” offers reasons not to believe and at least one reason why there must be a God. The reader may choose.