Lost Symbol information on Twitter: @lostsymbol
Any United States readers out there able to take a good quality high-res image of the back cover for us foreigners? Our covers are different, so we don't get a chance to solve the extra puzzles unless we get access to a good quality image.
Update: Thanks to Tim for sending in a scan of the back cover! For anyone like me, that can't access the US edition, here it is (click on the thumbnail to view full size - around 2MB in size):
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...
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!
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!
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...?
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.
** Update: The competition has now closed. Thanks for all your entries via comments and email. I'll announce the winner during the week.
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!
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! **
Further updates will be made as they become available.
Last month I mentioned a story in The Scotsman which quoted Masonic authority Robert Cooper as saying that the plot of The Lost Symbol had been leaked, and that it would revolve around the theory that George Washington was actually a Tory (English) sympathiser, and was a traitor to the Revolutionary cause.
In the comments to a story I posted yesterday, a certain 'Lapu Marie' has now claimed to be Cooper's source for the plot leak, and offered evidence of links on various websites from earlier this year (April) at which they announced the plot details:
The rumors of a plot leak from Dan Brown’s newest book, The Lost Symbol, seem to be true. Doubleday Publishers confirm it. The new book will apparently center around George Washington and secret reason for the American reverses early in the Revolutionary War. Washington, a true and clandestine Tory, was secretly communicating Colonial war plans to the British via Benedict Arnold, Washington’s secret illegitimate son.
Does Robert Cooper know this person, as they claim - which would add some legitimacy to their plot leak - or did he just crib the theory from the website comments made in April?
There are several things that would make me very suspicious of this supposed Lost Symbol exposé. Firstly, when this 'plot leak' was posted at Publisher's Weekly, a Doubleday representative explicitly denied it was the plot, saying it was "someone's imagination run wild. It is NOT the plot summary of THE LOST SYMBOL." Having said that, Doubleday might be expected to react that way if the plot was blown so early on. Secondly, this so-called 'rogue editor' (website now deleted) responsible for the 'leak' is very careful to keep their identity secret, but is willing to say that they work for a publisher in New York, they specialise in editing books on occult themes, and they were given Brown's manuscript for The Lost Symbol to cast their eye over earlier this year. If Doubleday can't figure out the 'secret identity' from those facts, I don't know what it would take. (I'd also ask why they posted on Publisher's Weekly with a valid email address belonging to an organization in Alberta Canada...that's a big no-no if the email address is not theirs).
But perhaps most basic of all is that the 'plot leak' suggests that Benedict Arnold was Washington's illegitimate son. Given that Washington was only 8 years old when Benedict Arnold was born, this sounds like a historical error that Dan Brown (and certainly a genuine book editor) would not make. Unless 'Lapu Marie' has an explanation for that 'twist'?
Update: In the comment to this story, Perceval suggested Lapu Marie could be an anagram of Paul Maier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and author of The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?. Apparently, this "George Washington as Traitor" story is straight out of that book. Check out this PDF file discussing the book (or use Amazon's Search Inside feature on the book itself, using 'Benedict' as your keyword):
Dr. Paul Maier, noted historian and professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University says...“Imagine that someone were to write a novel about George Washington, the nation’s founder, rather than Jesus Christ, the church’s founder. At the start, the author assures the reader that all his material is based on fact, then goes on to present the following scenario:
While doing research at Mount Vernon into the life of the father of our country, a veteran scholar is murdered. While dying, he leaves a long trail of intricate clues for his granddaughter and a friend so that they might avenge his death. After solving the clues despite their Byzantine complexity, the two finally learn an awful truth: George Washington was really a member of a secret society that worshiped King George III of England and his queen, Charlotte Sophia. In fact, the reason for the American reverses early in the Revolutionary War was that Washington, a true but clandestine Tory, was secretly communicating Colonial war plans to the British via Benedict Arnold, Washington’s secret illegitimate son. At Yorktown, while awaiting a British support fleet, Washington was preparing to surrender to Cornwallis, but when De Grasse arrived with his fleet of French ships to aid the American side, Washington had to accept Cornwallis’s surrender instead.
At the end of his life, Washington’s conscience got the better of him, and he wrote a confession that was buried with him in his tomb at Mount Vernon. The scholar who discovered it was then murdered by the CIA, who feared that his find would destroy the patriotic mystique of America’s founding father and demoralize the country. When the FBI and CIA learn that the granddaughter and her friend know the awful truth, an all-points bulletin is issued for the pair.
After a harrowing series of misadventures, the two escape capture. But no, they will not reveal the ‘truth’ about Washington either.”
Maier concludes, “Readers with only a smattering of knowledge about American history but a great appetite for conspiracy might well buy into such worthless madness, since it contains just enough tangential truth – real people, real places, real situations – to be credible...Dan Brown has accomplished a very similar hoax, successful largely because so many today have ‘only a smattering knowledge’ about Jesus and Christianity.
The only questions now are: did Paul Maier post this, or was it someone else (an Alberta resident, going by the email address supplied to Publisher's Weekly) who simply admired Maier's theory, even to the point of using his name as an anagram? And: why did Robert Cooper suggest this as a storyline - has he read this book and was just having some fun, or did he jump on the comments made in April and claim them as his own?
Update 2: Paul Maier has told me via email "I know nothing about this", and described the idea as "off-the-wall".
TheLostSymbol.com now has a challenge live and ready to play, in which you must identify 33 symbols correctly (symbolic itself of the 33 degrees in Scottish Rite Freemasonry) in order to hear a short message from Dan Brown himself. You must get to all 33 with *no* errors, even though it seems to give you three strikes.
If you're stuck, or just a bit lazy, click on 'Read More' for my solutions, and to find out what Dan Brown says at the end: