Lost Symbol information on Twitter: @lostsymbol
No one has ever accused Dan Brown of being a literary stylist; he's too easy to parody. His narrators natter on like chatty tour guides, bludgeoning us with trivia and heavy-handed exposition. His hero Robert Langdon seems to suffer from a testosterone deficiency; his celibate bad guys, with their bulging muscles and self-mortified flesh, are creepily fetishized. But ANGELS AND DEMONS, THE DA VINCI CODE, and now THE LOST SYMBOL do more than merely lead their legions of readers on merry chases; they exhort them to reconsider their world view. Though the answers he provides may be trivial and sometimes historically inaccurate, the questions Brown asks us to consider are worth pondering. Does the church misrepresent Christianity? Is history filled with mysteries and intrigues that mainstream chronicles elide? Are science and religion converging?
Brown earnestly wants us to expand our view of human potential, to open ourselves up to a whole new paradigm--one that is more capacious and filled with possibilities than either secular scientism or the traditional Judeo-Christian world view.
Some criticism in there mixed up with fascinating discussion about a number of the topics covered in The Lost Symbol. Intelligent stuff for the most part, and worth a read.
For those trying to visualize Dan Brown's route around Washington, D.C. in The Lost Symbol, here's a handy little map to show you where everything is at a glance. Click for a larger version (approx. 500kb):
Due to the scale of the map, a few of the less important landmarks aren't included. Perhaps might be worth assembling a set of Google Earth/Maps co-ordinates as well for those that want to fly about the city - feel free to post any location co-ordinates you may have yourself.
Again, apologies for not being able to post too much lately. Here's a selection of Dan Brown-related links that are worth checking out:
Almost cleared my schedule, so hopefully I'll be around more in coming weeks.
For those that participated in the Symbol Quest competition by phoning in to the coded phone number hidden on the cover of The Lost Symbol - prizes are apparently now being sent out. Here's a note from commenter 'Steve G':
I came home from work this evening and found a package from Doubleday waiting for me. In it was a signed copy of The Lost Symbol with a note saying, "Congratulations! You are 1 of 33 winners of Symbol Quest."
...For those who may be wondering, I sent the e-mail in to Random House on September 14 at +/- 8:20 pm EDT.
Congrats to Steve, great to see a reader got in early enough! Given that Steve phoned a few hours before The Lost Symbol was published, I hope the rest of you hopefuls got in super early. (If you're wondering how the phone number was solved before publication, view the comments to the Symbol Quest story - or wait a few days, when I'll finally have time to post a comprehensive look at the cover codes).
An 'old' piece of news that might be worth mentioning: a few years ago I profiled the Institute of Noetic Science, and interviewed Senior Researcher at IONS, Dr Dean Radin, in a free PDF magazine known as Sub Rosa (Issue 5). Readers wanting to learn more about IONS and their research might like to check it out - note that the same issue also features an article from Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett on the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery, so it's basically a Dan Brown-themed issue now, between the Priory of Sion material in The Da Vinci Code and the inclusion of IONS in The Lost Symbol...
The Washington, D.C. tourism agency has learnt from the impact that The Da Vinci Code had on tourism in Paris, London and Rosslyn Chapel - they've created a Lost Symbol section to their website, with links to some of the locations which featured in the new book from Dan Brown. I already know of most of those links, but I'm sure some readers here will find it a good resource for finding such websites as those of the Scottish Rite and the George Washington Masonic Memorial.
What would be cool is a tour done in Google Earth, which traces Langdon's route around the capital. Perhaps if I can find some time in the coming month I might give it a shot.
In The Lost Symbol, a phone number for Peter Solomon is mentioned (page 14 of my copy) which is not the usual fake '555' number, but in fact a real one (not to be confused with the SymbolQuest competition phone number that can be deciphered from the cover code). Plenty of people have tried calling it, generally just getting a voice mailbox for 'Peter Solomon' at which they could leave a message. However, soon after publication some strange things started happening, with people getting callbacks, messages to drive to certain locations, and different numbers to call (see the comments beneath this story).
One of those that received a callback was Cryptex member 'Thothamon', who was told to visit a location 5 hours drive away in order to receive a signed copy of The Lost Symbol. Rather than blindly following orders, Thothamon dug further into the issue, emailing Doubleday about the callback, and found that it is likely that the phone message system was hacked, and is now compromised. This is the response he got back from Doubleday:
Please do not go to this location. This is an absolute hoax and we are looking into this as is the Random House legal team. Somehow someone with very bad intentions hacked into the phone number message system of the number published in the book.
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I will be in touch as I learn more.
So - *do not* call the Peter Solomon number in the book! Thanks to Thothamon for the heads-up.
Last week I ran a quick, fun competition on predicting the plot of The Lost Symbol, before it was released. It was tough to pick a winner, but I've decided that the prediction of 'BMac' (email entry) was the best of the lot. One reason was his/her suggestion that 'ritual magic' would play a major part in the plot, but the jawdropper was BMac's feeling that "Dan Brown will discuss the pineal gland/third eye". Seriously Dan, you don't need to write in under pseudonyms if you want to take part in our competitions...
Congrats to BMac! That was fun - might do another one soon, so stay tuned. Any ideas for a good competition out there - perhaps some codes to solve?
Doubleday has announced that Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol sold over 1 million copies on its first day of release, prompting some extra printing already.
Doubleday announced on Wednesday that The Lost Symbol, Brown's first novel since The Da Vinci Code, has already sold more than 1 million copies after being on sale for one day in the United States, Canada and Britain. That total includes preorders for the book, which has been at or near the top of Amazon.com for months.
An additional 500,000 copies has been ordered, bringing the total print run to 5.6 million copies. The Lost Symbol came out Tuesday.
Between the fact that preorders are included, and that publicity departments regularly overstate sales, that million might not be quite as impressive as it sounds. Still, my bank account wouldn't mind being at the right end of that sort of sales punch.
Given the prominence of the number 33 in The Lost Symbol, I thought it was a nice touch for the book to end on Chapter 133 (excluding the Epilogue). I've also recently heard that the British and American versions have the same pagination - if that's the case, then I also appreciate the planning for the content that ended up on page 333...