Category Archives: Dan Brown

Secrets of The Lost Symbol on TV

We were glad to see that even prior to publishing our Secrets of the Lost Symbol book (which will be in stores in December and available on the Kindle in November) NBC has decided to broadcast a television version: Secrets of The Lost Symbol, which airs on NBC on Friday night.

One of the world’s most popular authors, Dan Brown, sits down for a rare and exclusive interview with NBC News’ Matt Lauer to talk about his new book, “The Lost Symbol,” the beliefs of the Freemasons, the power of the human mind, whether people can become gods and a little known science that may tie them all together.

As far as we know, the show is not actually based on our book—they’ve just decided to make good use of our title. And they will be exploring some of the many themes we have been investigating in depth: Freemasonry, Noetics, the Founding Fathers and the philosophy that lies behind the book. Interestingly, the Inside Deadline website teases:

The broadcast also goes in search of what Brown calls the true meaning of his book and why, he says, its so unlike his others. Additionally, he speaks with Lauer at length about the beliefs of the nation’s founding fathers, saying “America wasn’t founded a Christian country. It became a Christian country.”

We wish NBC well and hope their show will shine interesting new light on The Lost Symbol.

A Comic Take On Dan Brown

Dan Brown’s work may have been parodied in every way, shape and form, but this is the first instance we have found of him inspiring a comic strip.

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A frustrated reader? Or an affectionate tease? It’s even harder to discern the emotions behind the second, even funnier, strip.

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Real Life via Christian Brady.

The Poetry of Dan Brown

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the release of The Lost Symbol but it has already inspired countless parodies. Most highlight Brown’s formulaic plot, his overuse of Italics, even his Brownian style. Some have made us laugh. Some have elicited no more than a shrug. But Maureen Johnson’s ongoing, chapter-by-chapter Reader’s Guide to The Lost Symbol continues to impress with its lighthearted and imaginative reading of the novel.

Here, Johnson, an author of young adult novels, highlights the parallels in Chapter 35 of The Lost Symbol with the poets William Carlos Williams and T. S. Elliot:

Chapter 35

Much is made of DB’s writing style. In particular, people cite his use of italicized “thought bubbles,” his page and a half long chapters, and his single sentence paragraphs.

The ones that divide up the action.

Like this.

To give you a feeling that something is happening.

Some people suggest that he does this because he is not a good writer, or because he assumes that his readers haven’t really gotten past the single-line, compacted story form usually used in elementary reading books. These people are wrong. What DB is actually doing . . . is writing poetry.

It took me a while to figure this out, but I see it clearly now. I feel that he is following in the tradition of William Carlos Williams, a critical American poet. Consider “The Red Wheelbarrow,” Williams’s most famous work.

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

The language and the style are so simple. The lines are short, and so is the work as a whole. And yet, in those eight lines, sixteen words, you can find an entire world. Compare this to the end of Chapter 35—which you at first think is this noodley, pointless chapter about the arrangement of the Capitol Building’s basement—but then you are hit with the last four sentences:

“My God,” Anderson shouted.
Everyone saw it and jumped back.
Langdon stared in disbelief at the deepest recess of the chamber.
To his horror, something was staring back.

Do you think that this has been chopped up by accident? Do you think this same effect could have been achieved in a single, flowing paragraph? Do you think it needs more detail?

Of course not.

These particular lines also strongly echo T. S. Elliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker.
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

It’s uncanny how these two men could communicate such similar ideas in a similar form—and yet, DB manages to cleverly plant these moments in a considerably larger work. T. S. Elliot never wrote anything nearly as long as The Lost Symbol.

Think about that, English majors, before you judge. Just think about it.

Another recent favorite is Johnson’s take on Chapter 37. (Spoiler Alert!: Stop here, if you have not reached this chapter yet):

Chapter 37

I guess the one complaint I have about The Lost Symbol, if I have any at all, is that it seems like Mal’akh is seriously overworked. If there was a Union of Bad Guys, there is no way they would let him work this long and not have a break. He does everything bad in the book. Everything. No one helps him.

So far, he’s had to: call Kathleen Solomon and pretend to be Dr. Christopher Abaddon, hack off Peter Solomon’s hand, stash Peter Solomon, and lead HSRL on this treasure hunt . . . all at once. And he does this, mind you, while wearing full makeup and having to constantly change costumes and juggle cell phones and manage at least three different identities. Would have it been so much to ask to give him one henchman? Just one?

This is why I am annoyed by the fact that in Chapter 37, he has to corner Trish Dunne, get her access code out of her, and drown her in the tank of ethanol with the giant squid all by himself. That right there could have been the work of one henchperson. It’s not like extra characters cost money. I’m just saying.

The Lost Symbol Reader’s Guide (Maureen Johnson)

Book Signing, The Dan Brown Way

A member of our New York team was in Borders, Columbus Circle, last week because he saw on Twitter that the store had signed copies of The Lost Symbol. By the time he got there the copies were sold out, but the question was, how did they get their hands on them?

According to an employee, Dan Brown walked into the store recently, completely unannounced–not even the Borders people knew he was coming–, and said “Hi I’m Dan Brown…I have five minutes to sign some stock books for you.” He signed a bunch of books for five minutes, then left.

That was The Lost Symbol book signing. Blink, and you missed it.

A Childhood Introduction to Puzzles and Codes

Dan BrownOf all the interviews we’ve seen, read and heard in the past week or so, Dan Brown’s appearance on NPR’s All Things Considered remains one of the most enlightening.

Who couldn’t fail to be intrigued by the mental image of Dan Brown, as a child on Christmas morning, scrambling around the house on a treasure hunt following a trail of puzzles set by his father, a math textbook author? Apparently the clues even included magic squares.

It doesn’t take much of a mental leap to see the inspiration for Dan Brown’s novels today or the energy and enthusiasm that pervades his works.

Brown also pinpoints the moment when he first became interested in Noetics–ten years ago, while he was researching particle physics for his first Robert Langdon novel, Angels and Demons.

According to Brown, he was particularly fascinated by Noetics because it ties together “the old and the new”. The field has grown so quickly in the past ten years, he says, that it was the perfect big idea for The Lost Symbol.

There’s much more, about fame, writing, religion and freemasonry, here.

Matt Lauer’s Exclusive Interview with Dan Brown

Dan Brown gives Matt Lauer a tour of his home.

Dan Brown gives Matt Lauer a tour of his home.

The Today show ran its exclusive interview with Dan Brown this morning.

Matt Lauer was given a tour of Brown’s home, in Rye Harbor, N.H, including a look inside the Fortress of Gratitude, a room filled with foreign language editions of Brown’s books as well as movie props such as the cryptex from The Da Vinci Code and antimatter from Angels and Demons. Here’s what we learned:

  • Brown’s best time of the day to write is 4 am.
  • The Lost Symbol took six years to complete because of the pressure of repeating the Da Vinci Code success and because the subject matter, Freemasonry, was so complex that Brown “needed time to understand it.”
  • Brown’s fame gives him access to places other people struggle to see.
  • Nevertheless, he sometimes goes undercover to research his novels by using an alias and joining a tour group, wearing a baseball cap pulled low.
  • The UK plagiarism trial, which Brown won, was an ordeal. “As J.K. Rowling says, it’s like somebody showing up at your door and pointing at your child and saying, ‘That’s mine.’ It’s not a pleasant thing to go through.”
  • Brown has become more spiritual in recent years.
  • He admires the Freemasons because they allow people of all faiths to come together.
  • The legend that Brown owns gravity boots and will hang upside down for inspiration is true: “You think differently upside down.”
  • He chose Washington DC as the setting for The Lost Symbol because he believes its architecture is as interesting as London, Paris and Rome.

Today Show interview with Dan Brown.

Where Will Dan Brown Be Tonight?

gothamhallTonight is a huge night for Dan Brown’s fans.

The lucky few with Kindle and Sony e-readers will be able to download The Lost Symbol from midnight. The majority will wait in line as book stores around the country stay open late. We haven’t heard of any libraries extending their opening hours–yet.

But where will Dan Brown be?

Well, that’s anyone’s guess. Between 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm, Knopf editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta is hosting a book launch party at Gotham Hall, on 36th Street and Broadway. It would be a bit unusual for an author to be missing from his own launch party. But the notoriously reclusive Brown is no ordinary author. And New York is a long way from his waterfront home in Rye Harbor, N.H.

And what of Gotham Hall itself? The seven-story building, a former bank, has no masonic connections that we know of. But it does have a 10,000 sq ft ballroom surrounded by Corinthian columns reaching up towards a stained-glass dome. A fittingly grand location to launch Robert Langdon’s Masonic quest.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, The Lost Symbol.