The Lost Symbol Announced

After almost five years of delays, the publication date and (new) title of Dan Brown’s sequel to his blockbuster The Da Vinci Code has been announced. No longer is it going to be The Solomon Key; instead, the title is The Lost Symbol, and it will hit bookstores on September 15 this year (already available for pre-order and in the Top 10 at Amazon US and UK, at absolutely mad prices for a hardcover):

The Lost Symbol will have a first printing of 5 million copies, and it will once again feature Dan Brown’s unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon. The announcement was made today by Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

“This is a great day for readers and booksellers,” said Mehta.”The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown’s prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book. This is one of the most anticipated publications in recent history, and it was well worth the wait.”

Brown’s longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, “Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book’s narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan’s readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises.”

“This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey,” said Brown. “Weaving five years of research into the story’s twelve-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon’s life clearly moves a lot faster than mine.”

Of course, having written a book called The Guide to Dan Brown’s The Solomon Key, I’m a bit disappointed with the title change. Not least, because it makes me feel that I’ve misled readers (though to be fair to myself, the title was my publisher’s decision, not mine). However, it is worth noting that The Solomon Key was not a guess. It was always planned as the title until recently – ‘The Solomon Key’ was announced as the title by Brown’s publisher back in 2005, he has website domains for that title listed under his name until 2016, and he has maintained a trademark claim on the title since 2004, updating it most recently in December 2008.

The question is: Brown has changed the title of the book. Will he change the content as well? That would be a bold move, considering that his publisher has run website competitions which overtly stated many of the topics to be discussed in the DVC sequel, and Brown’s website has also stated the setting (both of which I expanded upon in my book). On the other hand, both my book, and things like the National Treasure movies and Brad Meltzer’s The Book of Fate, may have stolen much of Brown’s thunder when it comes to revealing hidden aspects of American history – so he still could have been tempted to change the setting and themes on that basis. Though today’s press release keeps the book’s themes secret, perhaps the most revealing part is Dan Brown’s statement that he had weaved “five years of research” into the book. This would suggest that many of the original topics are in the book, rather than a late change of theme in the last couple of years.

One more mystery worth contemplating: last year, Brown’s then-publisher Stephen Rubin (who originally announced the title The Solomon Key a few years previous) talked to the press, saying “Dan Brown has a very specific release date for the publication of his new book, and when the book is published, his readers will see why.” Now, it’s only been a few hours since I’ve heard the publication date of September 15th, but at this stage I can’t see the significance of the release date (the only possibilities I’ve thought of thus far couldn’t be considered obvious: the Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows, the birth date of William Howard Taft, the founding date of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and some of the more significant Nuremberg Laws instituted by the Nazi regime in 1935 and the adoption of the swastika on the German flag). Was Brown originally aiming at a date linked to the Presidential election or inauguration (which would have tied into the originally-claimed topics in The Solomon Key), but simply missed the boat? Or have I missed something significant about September 15?

In any case, I do apologise to anybody who feels misled by my book. I’m pretty sure though that, regardless of the title and content of Brown’s upcoming novel, The Guide to Dan Brown’s The Solomon Key provides a fascinating look at the ‘hidden history’ of U.S. history which stands by itself as a fun read. I’d be inclined to say as well that it still provides some good background to the material likely to be in The Lost Symbol. Peruse the articles on my Dan Brown-related site The Cryptex for plenty of free content on these topics – for example:

Feel free to share your thoughts on the new title, and likely content, in the comments.

Update: It has been pointed out to me that the significance of the September 15 release date could well be that the Constitutional Convention voted to approve the U.S. Constitution on that day in 1787. Not only would this tie in with the original topics announced as being in Brown’s next book, it’s also a neat 222 years since that day – seems a likely candidate. Thanks Clay.

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Editor
  1. Back to the Holocaust
    Between the swastika and Nuremberg Laws anniversary, and the ‘Solomon Key’ being the Jewish ‘Star of David’, is this the most likely significance of the Sept. 15th release date?

    In which case, would ‘The Lost Symbol’ be the swastika or the hexagram? πŸ˜‰

    Going all stream of consciousness, this could certainly be tied into U.S. politics (one of the original themes of ‘The Solomon Key’) through the modern support of Israel by the United States.

    Kind regards,
    Greg
    ——————————————-
    You monkeys only think you’re running things

    1. Maybe…
      [quote]In which case, would ‘The Lost Symbol’ be the swastika or the hexagram? ;)[/quote]

      Maybe Brown will fool us all, and we’ll find out that the baddies in the new novel are… RAELIANS!! :-p

      —–
      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

      1. not lost
        No I don’t think so. The lost symbol can’t be something we already know – otherwise it would not be lost. Unless Brown only lost it himself.

        I read only one of Brown’s books, it was a prequel to his famous one. This is one bad writer. I left it at the airport, or in the plane, I don’t remember.

        —-
        It is not how fast you go
        it is when you get there.

        1. Writing, and writing
          [quote=earthling]I read only one of Brown’s books, it was a prequel to his famous one. This is one bad writer. I left it at the airport, or in the plane, I don’t remember.
          [/quote]

          That depends on what you mean by ‘writer’. Does he write wonderful prose? No, I don’t think so. Does he assemble interesting plots and draw the reader in – I would say yes, he’s extremely good at that.

          Kind regards,
          Greg
          ——————————————-
          You monkeys only think you’re running things

          1. details, details
            Well, the characters in this particular one were really cardboard. The storyline had twists in it that the reader could never suspect.

            The hero behaves more stupidly than Inspector Clouseau, only that it is not comedy.

            The simple physics are impossible, only Brown seems to want them taken seriously.

            Not to mention that Brown lies about historical details, after prefacing the book with an implication that everything about that part is true.

            You see, that is why I prefer writing that is advertised as “science fiction”. No pretenses about what is true and what isn’t.

            —-
            It is not how fast you go
            it is when you get there.

          2. Angels and Demons
            I agree with Earthling re: Angels & Demons. I read it before picking up the Da Vinci Code. In hindsight this was a mistake because TDVC is basically a carbon copy of A&D’s plot, structure and characters, almost to the full stops and commas. A&D bored me senseless, and the movie adaptation will have to make major changes to keep it from repeating TDVC. TDVC is a big improvement on A&D, Brown saw the potential he had and decided to stick with what worked, but the cloning spoiled TDVC for me, I felt like I was reading A&D again. I’m sure Dan Brown applied what he learned from both books when writing the Lost Symbol though.

            Re: The Lost Symbol. It’s a shame Brown’s publisher hasn’t conducted an ARG (alternate reality game) to promote the book. Spielberg’s The Beast ARG for A.I. was fantastic.

          3. Hey, we’re still in April!
            My take is that we’ll see again a very aggressive marketing plot involving new communication tools and social networks to promote the book. I can almost guarantee there will be a ‘Lost Symbol’ Twitter πŸ˜›

            My personal rating of DB’s work is:

            TDVC= 9/10 (I really liked the book, read it in a flash).

            A&D= 8/10 (fast-paced thriller that kept me wanting to tun the page, but I was disappointed by the ending).

            State of Deception= 6.5/10 (By then it felt just like Rick said: DB was a ‘one-trick horse’ writer, just like Night. M. Shyamalan).

            But I’m definitely ordering the book on September, so he’d better not disappoint me. If I end up realizing that the only reason for the delay of the book was to permit the audience from forgetting all about ‘National Treasure’, I’ll demand a refund! πŸ˜‰

            And also, it will be really interesting to see the Church’s reaction to the film. Will they learn from their past mistakes, or will they once again decide to become Brown’s biggest promoters?

            —-
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

        2. lost but not forgotten
          Unless it was lost in the sense that the swastika’s original symbolism has been somewhat lost since it’s adoption by the Nazis.

          ——

          I don’t believe in belief!

          Perceval

          1. Perhaps
            DB’ talent is to take something that is widely known, and spin
            it to make it look like it was hidden right before our eyesβ€”which in some cases, it’s actually true πŸ˜‰

            So with the swastika, everybody relates them to Hitler & WWII, but very few people know the connection with Buddhism, and even fewer people know of the possible connection with a very ancient celestial event.

            I suppose DB’s greatest talent is to actively involve the reader in the plot. He asks you to think about the clues and riddles, he challenges you and then shows you the answer. That’s why TDVC was so successful, and why the movie failed so miserably.
            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

  2. Greg, having written
    Greg, having written “Solomon’s Builders,” I feel your pain. The trouble was, Brown told everybody what he was going to write about, and leaked the title, then didn’t publish it for six years. I figured every time a new National Treasure movie came out, his wife spent three days talking him in off the ledge.

    However, look at the parchment on the new http://www.robertlangdon.com website. While it contains trappings to connect it to Leonardo Da Vinci, the cipher looks suspiciously like a variation of a Freemason “pigpen” code.

    Hmmm.

    1. Good old Robert Langdon
      [quote=chodapp]However, look at the parchment on the new http://www.robertlangdon.com website. While it contains trappings to connect it to Leonardo Da Vinci, the cipher looks suspiciously like a variation of a Freemason “pigpen” code.

      Hmmm.[/quote]

      Hi Chodapp,

      The Robert Langdon site has been around for some time, it was used in one of the DVC challenges. I don’t think there’s any new content on there?

      Kind regards,
      Greg
      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

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