New Dan Brown book, "The Lost Symbol", releases Tuesday

The Lost Symbol (amazon link) releases this Tuesday.

What do people here think about that?

I’m kind of on the fence about Brown. I first read Angels and Demons and DaVinci Code in high school, interestingly way before they were even mildly popular. I liked them a lot, being younger and more foolish at the time. In fact, I likes Angels & Demons much more than DaVinci. I loved the whole idea of secret societies and clues hidden in plain sight throughout history. That stuff was so cool that it blinded me to how brazenly bad his writing is.

Later, I tried to read some of his other books, like Deception Point and couldn’t get past the first quarter of it. Without the mystique of hidden secrets and supposedly-true history, the banal nature of it was too much to handle.

But despite it all, his books are tremendously popular. *The Lost Symbol *is getting a first run of five million copies. These books are making Brown tremendously wealthy, a fact many begrudge him for. It’s sort of interesting that, while I don’t like Harry Potter books at all, I don’t begrudge JK Rowling for her billions, because she seems to have earned them by creating a vibrant universe and getting millions of kids interested in reading. I don’t know exact figures, but if I ever found out that Dan Brown has made more money from writing than Michael Crichton, a significantly more talented writer, ever did, I will probably completely lose my shit.

One interesting thing I heard on a Salon podcast is that the people of Washington DC are absolutely terrified of this book. DaVinci and Angels & Demons take place in Europe, an often prohibitively expensive place to visit, yet people have flocked to the locations of the books to try and see the same hidden whatever. The fact that many of the locations are inaccurately described in the books has become quite a headache for the tour guides trying to deal with American tourists trying to find Jesus’ kids by looking at statues and paintings.

The Lost Symbol takes place in Washington DC, though, and deals with the hidden symbology and crap in DC architecture supposedly placed by the Freemasons. If the previous two books can cause a notable disruption in European tourism, imagine what will happen to DC. Natives are concerned that they’ll be flooded with dummies who read the book and will be stumbling around trying to find the cherry tree Washington chopped down, or a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence or something. Plus, I think there are already enough people who think the Freemasons secretly control the universe, thankyouverymuch. The book will probably contribute to those ranks considerably, and our national IQ will drop another point.

I’ll probably read the book, anyway. I’ll get it for my kindle, so as not to be burdeoned with half a tree’s worth of stilted dialog. If you can treat a book like a summer movie, not taking it very seriously, they can at least be somewhat entertaining. Plus, I’m interested to see what kind of craziness will be said of DC.

Where does everyone else stand on the book, or Brown himself?

Thanks for the heads up. We have lots of patrons who’ll refer to this as the new book by “the guy who wrote that great book a few years ago,” and it would take me a long, long time to get from that to Dan Brown.

So–he’s ripping off *The Illuminati Trilogy *this time? Since he’s already done Holy Blood, Holy Grail

A couple years back when the Da Vinci Code was finally slowing down and anything new by Dan Brown would have instantly sold 80 million copies, I heard that he was really struggling with the new book. Supposedly he was sending his work to his editor at the end of every single day, when previously he had submitted whole books at once. I don’t know how accurate those reports were, but it sounds plausible.

Have any reviews of this come out yet? I can’t imagine it will be any different from the Da Vinci Code: wild popularity despite devastating reviews.

I read The Da Vinci Code long before it became wildly popular (and even met the now-reclusive Dan Brown at a book signing - he said he would never, ever sell the movie rights to the novel! He also said the studio wanted to hire Hugh Grant to play Langdon!); the only reason I picked it up six years ago is because Janet Maslin gave it a rave review in the New York Times.

In this gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he has been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection.

I guess you can’t really argue with the “blockbuster” prediction.

The A&D movie just came out, and I think will be coming out on DVD/BR shortly. That should keep the interest simmering.

And I heard the same thing about him having trouble writing it. The only reason that would make sense would be if the editors were telling him it was bad writing, in which case they should have said the same about every other book he’s written. It’s not really in the publisher’s interest that the book be good, just that it be for sale.

Unless he was having trouble actually writing it. Like, coming up for a way for a symbologist to be actively involved in yet another conspiracy-centered plot to kill a bunch of people.

ETA: Oh, I’ve been hearing rumors that the plot involves clones of Jesus. Because… y’know… yeah. Jesus clones.

Well, not really. I went back and, in addition to the Times review above, found these:

Salon said: “Dan Brown’s novel is an ingenious mixture of paranoid thriller, art history lesson, chase story, religious symbology lecture and anti-clerical screed, and it’s the most fun you can have between the sort of covers that aren’t 300-count Egyptian cotton.”

The Washington Post said: “It is Dan Brown’s considerable achievement to have written a theological thriller that is both fascinating and fun.”

The San Francisco Chronicle: “This story has so many twists – all satisfying, most unexpected – that it would be a sin to reveal too much of the plot in advance. Let’s just say that if this novel doesn’t get your pulse racing, you need to check your meds.”

BookPage: “These are the premises that set Dan Brown’s absorbing new novel, The Da Vinci Code, in motion and then send it pinballing through a labyrinth of intricate schemes, sidetracks and deceptions.”

I’m sure the book must have received some pans. But I’m surprised to find it was so well-reviewed at the time.

Also, Erdosain: that’s not the only rumor out there about Brown’s questionable talent. His wife (cough, cough) is also a writer…I’ll say no more. :wink:

Well, there is already a Christ Clone Trilogy, so you can’t say it hasn’t been done before.

The only thing I’ve heard about the plot is that it’s heavily into Masons and Masonic conspiracy bullshit. I don’t know why everyone finds them so fascinating.

ETA: I stand corrected on the devastating part. I’m surprised that Maslin gave it such a positive review. I’m guessing the reviewers were a lot easier on the book back when it wasn’t the juggernaut that it is today.

Not surprising. I think if any fiction writer saw Jurassic Park and didn’t, for a moment, think “what if somebody got a hold of Jesus’ blood…” they are miserable failures at their jobs.

Naturally it would have to be blood either from the shroud of turpentine or The Cross itself. Cant wait for them to find the remains of Noah’s ark so they can clone all the extinct animals back to life…

The wife and I have read all of Brown’s books and enjoyed them. (Well, she has not read Deception Point yet, but that’s next up for her as soon as she finishes The Time Traveler’s Wife.) They’re fun reads. People tend to take him much too seriously in trashing him.

One thing, tough, is he does rely too heavily on the “Anonymous Controller Who Is a Big Surprise When His Identity Is Revealed.”

We’re looking forward to the new one.

Will they battle Hitler clones to the death ? Cause I’d watch that show.

Heh. You know who else had clones?

You’d have to clone Godwin to bring balance to the force.

FWIW (and this may already be common knowledge): there is a secret code (go figure!) in the inner dust-jacket of the hardcover version of The Da Vinci Code, one that allegedly gives a bit of a clue to what this next novel is about. If you look at the description of the plot you’ll see that certain letters are about one font-size bigger than the rest (or slightly bolder; I don’t quite remember). Anyway, they spell out: “Who will save this widow’s son,” and that is supposedly a Masonic distress signal or something.

I learned this at the book-signing mentioned above when some kid asked Brown what it meant. The author just smiled and told him he was only the third person to have noticed the secret code. I later asked Brown what it meant but he wouldn’t tell me. He said, “Look it up and you’ll figure it out.”

I thought the dust jacket seecrit was about the Cryptex, the secret-code filled art installation at CIA hq in Langley. Maybe that was revealed somewhere else. Anyway, somehow I always knew the story would involve DC landmarks even before it was announced. Maybe I’m One Of Them!

Before the backlash, The Da Vinci Code was just another fluffy Summer beach novel and was well regarded as such. It’s only after people started taking it seriously that the idea started that the book was somehow awful and poorly reviewed.

As a fluff novel, I thought it was immensely entertaining.

I thought The DaVinci Code was badly written, stupid, and unoriginal, but even I’ll grant that it was a page-turner.

I have no desire to ever read anything else by Dan Brown, though.

Who always is the protagonist’s mentor? You could say that.

Maybe he’s gotten a new plot. Since he’s recycled the same plot trough four books so far, I doubt it.

Releases what?

Tuesday, can’t you read?


Well, he did alter it a bit in Angels and Demons. Still, I’m hoping for something even more different this time out.