Origin by Dan Brown – a Nostradamus for our muddled times

Machines with synthetic brains pose a danger to mankind in Brown’s latest dotty apocalyptic thriller

I used to think Dan Brown was merely a crackpot. Now I wonder if he might not be a prophet. What once seemed to be his deranged fantasy increasingly looks like our daily reality. In our myth-maddened world, we are befuddled by bloggers peddling conspiracy theories and menaced by transactions on the dark web; we can’t cross a road without dreading some runaway act of messianic terror, and we experience an implosion of identity if we lose our smartphones or forget our passwords. In listing those perils I have summed up the plot of Brown’s new novel Origin: whether or not we read his apocalyptic thrillers, we are living inside them.

Origin stirs up again the witches’ brew that Brown first concocted in The Da Vinci Code. Scientific enlightenment engages in another battle with religious ...