Posted by: Kevin | January 9, 2007

Some Thoughts on Dan Brown’s Deception Point

I’ve read worse 

My wife got this book for Christmas and we both recently finished reading it.  Like virtually everyone else in America, we both read and enjoyed “The Da Vinci Code”.  As a result, we looked into Dan Brown’s other works.  First, we read “Angels and Demons” which we both liked.

Unlike those two, “Deception Point” has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and instead focuses on NASA.  Like all of Brown’s books, this is a page turner.  This author is definitely good at suckering you into the “just one more page…” mentality.  Also true to form, the book hinges upon a complex plot that the characters unravel throughout the course of the story, only to fully understand the mystery at the very end.  Here’s the problem though.  The characters might have been in the dark, but as the reader, I sure as hell wasn’t. 

Read further for spoilers and general bitching and moaning.

First, lets discuss the overly complex plot.  As soon as they started talking about the seawater in the hole I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the rock was inserted from underneath the glacier.  It is inconceivable to me that a group of highly trained scientist could struggle to come to that conclusion.

Second, the glaciologist, Norah Mangor doesn’t use the ground penetrating radar to determine the content of the ice until after people start questioning her findings?  Seriously?  Scientists are skeptics.  More importantly, scientists are jealously protective of their reputation.  That this scientist would vehemently attest to the uniformity of the glacier based only on core samplings and satellite data (with known limitations), when she has another, more accurate, diagnostic tool at her disposal is simply bad writing. 

That sequence, which is all of 10 – 20 pages, takes the deception out of “Deception Point”.  I should also point out, that I figured William Pickering to be the ultimate bad guy, pretty much from the start.  That may be more due to my familiarity with the author than poor writing though.  The climactic scene with the whirlpool in the ocean was also fairly predictable though it made for a cool mental image.

I’ve got some other minor nitpicks, while I’m on this subject.  The submarine rescue was exceptionally convenient, a little too convenient.  Yes, I understand that the author placed the sub there in a plausible fashion.  Still, the odds of the submarine being close enough to here the SOS and act on it in time seemed unrealistic. 

Also, the main character, Rachel Sexton, was in a pressurized submersible, then expelled into the ocean and she surfaced.  If she did this quickly, without exhaling a lot, which seems to be indicated in the book, she would have suffered a severe lung expansion injury and died.  I have to throw this in, just in case one of my dive instructors finds this blog.  See, I did pay attention in class.

Despite all of this, I did enjoy the book but I wouldn’t recommend buying it.  Instead you should find a friend who bought it, and steal their copy.  I doubt they’ll miss it.



  1. hello. I have also read the book, and i realized soon at the begining that the rock was inserted from underneath but i think the author must built up his novels in a way that the reader could predict some of the essential moments of the book.
    Rlated to the submarine i think nowadays it is possible to resque people in this way, because there are some techniques about we dont know anything, and we dont have acces to it. (besides this i also want to believe the story with the submarine because that was one of my favourite parts)

    this book became my favourite after i read it, and i think this is the most realized one from dan browns books. it involves a plot which is common in the usa . (i think)

    finaly i want to appologize for my english because i am beginer in speaking and writing

  2. Edina, no worries on the English skills. As long as I can understand what you’re trying to say, it’s good enough. The submarine rescue was a minor point compaired to my other complaints. As I said, it was plausible, just unlikely. It only came to mind because it was one more unlikely event in a string of really unlikely events.

  3. ” Still, the odds of the submarine being close enough to here the SOS and act on it in time seemed unrealistic”.

    Um, that’s “hear”, not “here”.
    Before you criticize someone else’s writing skills, I suggest you brush up on your own.

    I found the novel to be an amazing, myself.

    • Heh…talk about eating Crow, I meant “amazing”, not “an amazing”.
      Guess it happens after all. 😀

  4. Jeff, Thank you for providing a perfect illustration of why I do not criticize minor typos on the internet.

  5. Heh…no problem Kevin. 😀
    Don’t mind me, I was in a rare mood when I posted my earlier comments.
    Not to mention, it appears I was a year or two late in the thread…(guess I’m a very slow reader). 😉

    Fact is, I had just finished reading the book and was looking around for opinions.
    I rather liked this book myself.

    And yes, some of the outcome was obvious from the beginning (and some of the events a little far fetched for sure), but Dan Brown’s method of writing is pretty amazing to me.

    One thing I love, is the very short chapters, and the fact that he “bounces around” (sometimes making you wish he didn’t, so you could immediately see what happens next).
    Still, I enjoyed it.

    Anyway, you probably won’t hear from me again, but thanks for the response just the same!
    At least we all continue to read books…a very good thing, as far as I’m concerned. 😉

  6. By the way…my life would be complete if only I could have somehow ended up in the Lincoln room of the White House with Rachel, when all was said and done.

    A very happy ending for sure. 😀

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