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Symbol Quest Phone is Live

As noted in the comments to the Symbol Quest Cover Codes just a few minutes ago...

The phone number is now live if you are going to try for one of the 33 copies that are signed. Evidently the recording was turned on earlier in the day. I have not heard back yet, if i am one of the 33, I can only hope. Good luck everyone.

In case you are stuck, browsing through the comments should help you work out the phone number...

Cosmic Log on Lost Symbol

I spoke with MSNBC's Alan Boyle this morning about my predictions for The Lost Symbol - the interview is now posted on the MSNBC website, at Alan's Cosmic Log. Alan's a great guy - hardcore science fan, which he writes about for a living, but also open to investigating and discussing topics 'on the edge'. And there's plenty of that in The Lost Symbol. I highly recommend a daily visit to the Cosmic Log, serious brain food!

In My Hot Little Hand

I have the book! But I won't be posting much about the topics for a few days, as I don't want to ruin anyone's reading experience. Safe to say though that The Guide had plenty right...and a few of the topics I missed I'm very familiar with anyhow, as I cover them on my daily news site The Daily Grail.

Feel free to discuss the book in the comments to this post - so if you don't want to know any details, don't read the comments to this story!

LA Times on TLS

The L.A. Times has chimed in with their review of The Lost Symbol (warning: some plot elements discussed), and overall seem impressed - though...

...it's hard to imagine anyone, after reading "The Lost Symbol," debating about Freemasonry in Washington, D.C., the way people did Brown's radical vision of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in "Code." That book hit a deep cultural nerve for obvious reasons; "The Lost Symbol" is more like the experience on any roller coaster -- thrilling, entertaining and then it's over.

I'm sure the reviews will start coming thick and fast now, so maybe best to just pick the book up tomorrow and read it ourselves!

First Chapters Available

Parade are now offering free online excerpts of the Prologue and Chapter 1 of The Lost Symbol. The book begins in the Scottish Rite 'House of the Temple', introducing what would seem the villain of the book, before then turning to Robert Langdon and his 'mentor', billionaire Peter Solomon. Nice to see this little inclusion in the narrative of the first chapter:

“I hate to embarrass you, Professor,” the woman said, sounding sheepish, “but you are the Robert Langdon who writes books about symbols and religion, aren’t you?”

Langdon hesitated and then nodded.

“I thought so!” she said, beaming. “My book group read your book about the sacred feminine and the church! What a delicious scandal that one caused! You do enjoy putting the fox in the henhouse!”

Langdon smiled. “Scandal wasn’t really my intention.”

Wonder how the next 500 pages treat the Church, and Freemasonry...?

Anonymous Commenting

A quick apology to anonymous commenters: for some reason your comments were being put into an 'approval queue' that I was unaware of. I have fixed the problem and approved all of your comments. Posting from now on should be immediate.

Also: 'Ben' and 'Ted', can you please email me (userhelp at dailygrail.com) - I have unpublished your comments about the cover codes as I believe you are onto something, and deserve credit/prizes if they pan out. I wanted to check whether you are fine with your posts being public, and thus likely being used by others.

Symbol Sneak Peeks

At his 'Key to the Lost Symbol Clues' blog, Mark Koltko Rivera has posted what seems to be the first review of The Lost Symbol, albeit in Norwegian (Google translation here). Plenty of speculation that the review was a hoax, or just based on previous information, but latest evidence suggests that it is genuine. Amazingly, the 'Paul Maier' link turns up again, seemingly in a credible way!

Also, note that Parade and various UK newspapers (such as The Sunday Mail ) will be featuring the first two chapters from the book today, so we should all get a better idea of the vibe of the novel soon enough.

Dan on Parade

Dan the Man has emerged from his cone of silence, and granted an exclusive interview to Parade Magazine. It's a shame the interviewer covers a lot of old ground previously covered (dude, look forward, not back), but Dan does give an indication of why the new book took so long:

I was already writing The Lost Symbol when I started to realize The Da Vinci Code would be big. The thing that happened to me and must happen to any writer who's had success is that I temporarily became very self-aware. Instead of writing and saying, "This is what the character does," you say, "Wait, millions of people are going to read this." It's sort of like a tennis player who thinks too hard about a stroke--you're temporarily crippled.

It's a 2-page interview, so make sure you click through at the bottom of the first page.

The Lost Symbol - Prediction Competition

** Update: The competition has now closed. Thanks for all your entries via comments and email. I'll announce the winner during the week.

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Here's your chance to take a shot at predicting the plot of The Lost Symbol, a book that has been in the works for 6 years. Five years ago, I published my Guide to The Lost Symbol (originally as Da Vinci in America), predicting the major topics and locations that I thought would be in the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, based on clues and hints from Dan Brown. The plot, though, is a far more difficult proposition to predict - and four days out from the release of The Lost Symbol I dare you to offer your own in the comments (you can post anonymously, without needing to log in). After The Lost Symbol is released, I'll pick who I thought got closest to the mark, and post the winner's name next Friday (so leave some sort of name or alias!). First prize is a personally signed copy of my post-edition Guide to The Lost Symbol (to be published later this year) and a signed limited edition hardcover of the upcoming release of the Daily Grail's Fortean anthology Darklore (out next month).

You can either post in the comments (you don't need to be registered on The Cryptex), or send me an email via 'userhelp @ dailygrail.com' if you don't want to take a long shot in public. As a guide to winning the bounty, I'd suggest thinking long and hard about the locations, the hidden history that Dan Brown will discuss, and ultimately what the 'treasure' or plot driver of the novel will be. No doubting it's a tough ask, and everyone will be wrong to a large extent - but don't be shy!

Today Show: Search for The Lost Symbol

As mentioned previously, this week the Today Show is giving clues to the content of The Lost Symbol - head to their 'Search for The Lost Symbol' page to view video from the show each day. Here's the summaries (** Spoilers follow, don't read on if you want to solve the puzzles yourself **):

** Please beware when searching for answers to the clues: a nasty group of individuals are hijacking search results to direct people to websites with malware, trying to infect people's computers. Take security measures! **

  • On Tuesday Today introduced the book, talking to the book's publishers and editors (sounds like my Guide to the Lost Symbol and David Shugarts Secrets of the Widow's Son put Brown's editor Jason Kaufman out a bit...).
  • On Wednesday morning (Clue #1) Matt Lauer visited one of the locations used in the book - a research facility devoted to dead animals, and apparently known under the nickname 'The Death Star', "one of the world's most advanced scientific research facilities". In the 'Wetpod', an area for marine animals, Lauer says one of the animals housed there is "involved in a pivotal moment in the book", a scene which will "haunt you for a long time to come"...the facility is a "big part of the book". The answer to where Matt was is the Smithsonian Institute's Museum Support Center in Maryland - view here for a map. (Solution was first posted on Twitter by master puzzle-solver @bgates87, links are courtesy of his research) **Note: Be careful not to be caught by this Malware attack being linked to 'Death Star' internet searches**
  • Thursday morning's clue (#2) found Matt walking through a tropical forest. In addition, three anagrams were offered on the Today website: "CHOROID HUES, PERVADING REALM, ANTIPODAL PAN TAT". Using an anagram solver we would suggest solutions of "Orchid House, Primeval Garden, Plant Adaptation" (there are other options, e.g. 'Primeval Danger', but these seem likely candidates given they are related and high-ranking results...to test, put the answers in the Anagram solver and work in reverse to see how they are high-ranking). Doing a search of these topics, including "Washington" in the search, then suggests the U.S. Botanic Gardens, with its conservatory directly to the south-west of the Capitol building - and which has areas known as the 'Orchid House', the 'Garden Primeval', and also a 'Plant Adaptations' space. Looks like we have a winner. The plant Matt references is probably the "travelers palm". (Malware warning: Search results for "Traveler's Tree" are loaded with nasty websites trying to infect your computer with malware)
  • The next clue - which can be viewed early via Amazon (see the PDFs for download on their Lost Symbol page) - says "Houses the remains of this CONFEDERATE: CHOEPSLTGE". The capitalising of "CONFEDERATE" suggests this is a keyword, so using it in a keyed caesar the phrase CHOEPSLTGE deciphers to ALBERTPIKE. Albert Pike was a Confederate general who is very important to Scottish Rite Freemasonry - a topic sure to be covered in The Lost Symbol as its seal is on the front cover (see the articles "Codes on The Lost Symbol Cover" and "Dan Brown and the Ku Klux Klan for more information on these topics). Pike's remains are housed in the Scottish Rite 'House of the Temple' in Washington, D.C. - a perfect location for a Dan Brown story, and one which I predicted 5 years ago in my book!
  • Monday morning's clue is a no-brainer - the structure is obviously the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The object hidden behind the curtain (an anagram of 'Contact for Heaven') is the 'Arc [sic] of the Covenant'. Now if you check out the background image on my Lost Symbol Twitter page, or read the sample chapter from my Guide to TLS, you'll find that I've already considered them as likely plot devices in The Lost Symbol.

Further updates will be made as they become available.

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