Hello! I’m Dan Burstein, co-author and editor of Secrets of the Lost Symbol, to be published this fall by William Morrow.
On behalf of my co-author, Arne de Keijzer, and all the members of the Secrets team, I want to welcome you to a series of blog posts offering you glimpses into the world of Dan Brown’s forthcoming novel, The Lost Symbol. With an announced first printing of five million copies, and an unprecedented marketing campaign, this sequel to The Da Vinci Code is sure to be a blockbuster.
Our book, Secrets of the Lost Symbol, draws on the expertise of leading thinkers in history, art, architecture, political science, conspiracy theory, religion, philosophy, science and much more—just as we did with our own New York Times bestselling book, Secrets of the Code, in the wake of The Da Vinci Code several years ago. Our aim in these books is to provide our readers with the tools to separate the real and the imagined, and fact from fiction.
Although the text of The Lost Symbol itself is under extremely high security until its publication, on September 15, we can tell a fair amount about it by analyzing the cover art for the book, which has already been made public by its publisher. As our Secrets team investigative reporter David Shugarts predicted five years ago—and as The Lost Symbol cover art underscores—Dan Brown’s next book will again feature symbologist Robert Langdon, this time in a thriller set in Washington, D.C. and drawing from the history of American Freemasonry for its context.
On the cover and spine of The Lost Symbol, you can see the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, a variety of Freemason symbols (such as the compass and the square), and the Latin motto Ordo Ab Chao—“Order out of Chaos.” The 33 degree reference is to the highest level of Freemasonry that can be obtained, and the wax seal represents the Scottish Rite branch of Freemasons, which was led in the 19th century by a fascinating character named Albert Pike, who we believe may play a role in the plot of The Lost Symbol.
You can also see a variety of codes and symbols, many suggesting alchemy, astrology, and a number of different computer codes and ciphers. Our team is working on cracking many of these codes at this very moment and will share many of the solutions with you.
But the overall impression suggested by these symbols is that one of Dan Brown’s key ideas in The Lost Symbol is a reminder that America was fashioned by a brilliant generation of founding fathers, many of whom (including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, and many others) were Freemasons. And that as a result they were informed by their passionate interest not just in Enlightenment philosophical, political, and religions ideas, but in the traditions of ancient civilizations–from Egypt to the Jewish experience of the Old Testament, to Gnosticism, and to Medieval and Renaissance alchemy as well.
The Lost Symbol cover also uses a circle with a dot inside it for the letter “o.” This is suggestive of the alchemical symbol for gold, and the possibility that golden treasure—of King Solomon, of the Knights Templar, or perhaps of the 19th century American Knights of the Golden Circle—will play a role in the story. This symbol also has connotations of Egypt and Ra, the sun god, as well as geometric significance to Pythagoreans, Euclidians, and Freemasons.
The geometric shapes on the cover also suggest the themes Dan Brown has referenced in almost all of his previous novels—male and female iconography and, in particular, the role of the “sacred feminine” in the consciousness of early civilizations. In this context, we can see the Monument and the Capitol as masculine and feminine—the Capitol building cupola as a symbol of the female “chalice” and the Washington Monument as a symbol of the male “blade.”
Dave Shugarts sees in the flaming key and the impression of a fiery backdrop on the cover allusions to the legend of the burning Temple of Solomon, as well as the famous fire early in the history of the Smithsonian that burned up the archives of its endower, James Smithson. Smithson is another fascinating character from history who we think may make an appearance in The Lost Symbol.
There is so much more on the cover of The Lost Symbol, not to mention what will be found in the mysteries and history treated in more than 500 pages of the novel itself…
Look for our Secrets of the Lost Symbol to go deep inside everything Dan Brown alludes to in his novel. With the help of some of the world’s leading experts, we will separate fact from fiction, and bring you, the reader, into a thought-provoking new way of seeing key threads and patterns in our own American history.
Secrets of the Lost Symbol will be in bookstores everywhere this fall!
— Dan Burstein, Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol