Lost Symbol information on Twitter: @lostsymbol
I've been feeling plenty of tension in recent comments by Freemasons regarding the upcoming release of The Lost Symbol, and there's evidence of it again in this recent story on Beliefnet. The story does a good job of getting comment from Masonic officials and pundits including Richard Fletcher, Chris Hodapp, Mark Koltko-Rivera and Jay Kinney.
Personally, I think DB will be pretty kind to Freemasonry - I believe he's more likely to champion the Brotherhood overall (it has far more redeeming qualities than the Illuminati of Angels and Demons). If so, and Masonic societies play it right, there is a real opportunity for Freemasonry to win back some lost ground over the past couple of decades. And there are some Masons that definitely recognise this fact:
"This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime chance for this fraternity. Not to go trawling in shallow waters for new members, but to educate the public and make sure men know who we are, where we are, and what we offer them," Hodapp said in his blog. In Washington, officials at the landmark Temple of the Scottish Rite, which sits about a dozen blocks north of the White House, said are bracing themselves for expected bus loads of curious tourists in the weeks surrounding the book's release.
I'm hoping that The Lost Symbol will show Freemasonry as a guiding light to knowledge and good will to all humanity, with its influence on the Invisible College/Royal Society and the Founding of the United States just two pieces of the puzzle which Brown could elaborate on as evidence.
In an exclusive weeklong series, TODAY is launching a countdown to the release of bestselling author Dan Brown’s new novel, “The Lost Symbol.”...“TODAY's Search for the Lost Symbol” begins Tuesday, September 8 and culminates with a rare sit-down interview with Brown and Matt Lauer on TODAY Tuesday, September 15, the day the book hits stores. The interview will be Brown’s first television interview for the book release.
In recent weeks, Lauer has been busy travelling to top-secret locations that play key roles in “The Lost Symbol.” Beginning Tuesday, September 8, TODAY will reveal exclusive clues to these locations, one clue a day through September 15. The book’s most important scenes take place in these locations, and viewers are encouraged to log onto TODAYshow.com each day to try to solve the mystery. TODAY will reveal the answers to all of the clues Wednesday, September 16, after the book’s release.
For those Generation Z folk out there who now only read on the Kindle, you'll be very happy to learn that Dan Brown's publisher has announced that eBook version of The Lost Symbol will be released simultaneously with the hardcover on September 15 (pre-order from Amazon US).
And if you are a Kindle-ite, you might also want to check out The Guide to The Lost Symbol, which is available right now for just $5.99.
Hidden away on Dan Brown's newly designed website is an 'easter egg' - a link to the very first line of his new book The Lost Symbol.
**Spoiler alert: avert your eyes if you don't want the answer**
For those that do want to know the answer, it can be found by going to the section on The Da Vinci Code, selecting 'Resources', clicking on the link to the "Reader's Guide", and then scrolling to the bottom of that page. There you'll find a symbol, if you click on that it takes you to the 'reveal'. The first line of the book is "The secret is how to die." Not exactly a giveaway of the plot, but certainly a tantalising start!
Lots of talk today about an article in The Scotsman which supposedly has "leaked information" from the plot of The Lost Symbol. The article says that Masonic authority Robert Cooper has access to an inside source who had told him that Brown's upcoming book would show that "the country's 'founding father,' Washington was actually a traitor who had been secretly negotiating with the British during the American War of Independence."
The cloak and dagger tone of the article feeds well into the feel of a Brownian mystery, but the reality may leave a bit to be desired. When questioned about this inside knowledge about the book, Cooper had this to say in a comment on the "Key to the Lost Symbol Clues" blog:
In short the piece in the Scotsman was all mine save a casual exchange with a fellow Freemason at the begining of the year. I come to the conclusion I simply asked the question what would be the most outragous thing Brown could claim about Washington? A criminal? Not pwerful enough. A womaniser? Nothing really sensational about that. An alien? Too extreme. A traitor? Ah... If you told the average US citizen that Washington was a traitor, that the founding father of the USA was a liar, cheat and a traitor I think that you can imagine the reaction. It is that kind of reaction that Brown wants. Outrage = sales. But then, you have to remember that I am an arch cynic and so could be misleading myself!
It's unclear if Cooper is playing this down to protect his "source", or whether the story is simply a major beat-up. Certainly, it seems that these "leaks" should probably be taken with a few grains of salt, for now at least...
Update: For an updated version of this article, please see this PDF file, which is a free PDF download taken from The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (just $9.95 on Amazon.com). The Guide takes you deeper into the hidden history of the United States, Freemasonry, Noetic Science, and other topics that Dan Brown wrote about in his latest bestseller. Check out the Guide now, to get a better understanding of the fascinating revelations in The Lost Symbol. A HTML version of the article is also now available.
It's like deja vu all over again - Yogi Berra
Almost six years ago now, it was pointed out to me that the dust cover of The Da Vinci Code contained a number of 'anomalies': map co-ordinates in 'mirror writing', biliteral ciphers using bolded letters to hide messages, and more. The reason for these strange inclusions became clear when Dan Brown announced in an interview that clues about the sequel to The Da Vinci Code were hidden on the cover of the bestselling book. By solving these puzzles and ciphers - and being conversant with many of the topics and resources Brown was likely to use in writing the sequel, I was able to write a complete primer on the as-yet unpublished book in late 2004. Originally titled (and self-published) as Da Vinci In America, it was later renamed The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key in 2006, when Dan Brown's publisher announced the title of the book to the New York Times. In The Guide, I gave background information on many of the topics that I surmised would be in the new book: Francis Bacon and the transmission of Rosicrucian philosophies, the history of Freemasonry, how 'the Craft' influenced America's Founding Fathers, and the esoteric landscape of Washington, D.C. (including such exotic locales as the Scottish Rite's "House of the Temple").
There was therefore a lot of confusion when early in 2009, Brown's publisher suggested that the topics and title of the sequel to The Da Vinci Code were still unknown. This seemed to be further confirmed when a change of title was announced - the book was now named The Lost Symbol, with a scheduled publication date of 15 September, 2009. However, since the announcement of the new book, clues and hints to the topics covered have been given via Facebook and Twitter, and I can happily say that I was spot on with most of The Guide to The Solomon Key - excepting of course, the minor matter of the title! Although I do wonder whether my book had anything to do with the title change in the first place...?
Further confirmation of the key topics came when the cover artwork for The Lost Symbol was released in early July 2009. The cover features a 'torn parchment' theme similar to the cover of The Da Vinci Code, though with Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. featured rather than the Mona Lisa. Also prominent is a wax seal emblazoned with a double-headed eagle - a direct confirmation that Freemasonry, in particular Scottish Rite Masonry - would play a major role in the new book (see here for the same seal used by the Scottish Rite).
The double-headed eagle was probably first introduced as a symbol in Masonry in the year 1758 . In that year, the body calling itself the Council of Emperors of the East and West was established in Paris. The double-headed eagle was possibly assumed by this Council in reference to the double jurisdiction which it claimed and which is represented so distinctly in its title.
Every Supreme Council in the world, and the subordinate bodies thereto, extensively employ this emblem in their Degrees, jewels, lectures, paraphernalia and stationery, making it the distinctive emblem of the Rite.
The 33 in the centre of the triangle comes from the fact that there are 33 'degrees' (levels of initiation) in the Scottish Rite. Interesting numerological insight/coincidence - the individual numbers of the release date of the book, 15/9/9, add to the number 33!
Not so noticeable on the cover though are the various symbols covering the parchment, taken from astrology, alchemy and other esoteric fields. Perfect vibe for a Dan Brown book. But if we look closer, we find something else. Once again, the cover of a book by Dan Brown has some hidden codes!
Firstly, there are three letter-number combinations hidden on the cover. Above the R of "Brown" we find "B1". On the left, above "a novel", there is another: "C2". And also, on the far right of the cover, "J5". Here's the magnified views:
But that's not all. Just on the inside and outside of the left hand side of the faint circle surrounding the seal, there are two sets of numbers:
I haven't had much time to think about the above yet, but the one thing that does strike me is the non-random appearance of repeated numbers: 22, 44, 97 and 65. Perhaps worth noting is that there was a similar code on the back page of Dan Brown's Digital Fortress (128-10-93-85-10-128-98-112-6-6-25-126-39-1-68-78), where each of the numbers referred to a chapter, and taking the first letter of each of those chapters yielded (after using a Caesar Box cipher key) a secret message.
So it may be that, for now, these are largely unsolvable puzzles - we may need the book in hand to check for correspondences in the text, or we may need to wait for another post-publication online challenge giving more information, as was the case with The Da Vinci Code. Taking the example of that book, it's also likely that there will be more clues on the back cover of The Lost Symbol which we won't see until the book is released.
And so, more than 5 years after I first wrote a book about the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, based on the ciphers hidden on its cover, I find myself investigating new ciphers on the cover of that new book. If you've got any thoughts on the above, feel free to share it by commenting below.
(For those interested in exploring the topics in The Lost Symbol, you can read articles here on The Cryptex - check out the "Latest Articles" block on the right side of the page, and also the sample chapter on Washington D.C. from The Guide, which can be found in the "Guide to the Solomon Key" block on the top right of the page.)
Update 11th August, 2009:
Dan Brown's website has just had a makeover, and on the new design there is now a section just for The Lost Symbol. In there you'll find a "Coming Soon" section devoted to an upcoming "Symbol Quest", which I assume will be along the lines of the previous webquests, and based on the clues on the cover.
Also on the new website is a downloadable PDF of the book cover which, in addition to the front cover, also shows the spine of the book. On the spine there are three things worth noting. The first two are another couple of letter-number codes, as are found on the front cover. At the top left of the spine we find "E8", and just above the keyhole we can see "H5":
One last thing worth noting is that inside the 'keyhole' at the bottom of the spine we can see the Washington Monument:
Is this indicative that the Washington Monument is 'key' to the plot in some way, or is it just a nice design element further pointing to Washington, D.C.? And, perhaps, a sign that the theme of the novel has remained unchanged for some time (echoing the 'old' title of The Solomon Key). In any case, you can read more about the history of the Washington Monument, and the rest of Washington, D.C., in the sample chapter from my book, "Strange Constructions", available as a free PDF download. Or pick up the new, updated Kindle version of The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol from Amazon to get a full primer on the likely topics in the sequel to The Da Vinci Code.
Update 9th September 2009:
TheLostSymbol.com has just opened the doors to the Symbol Quest challenge. After answering 33 'symbol riddles' correctly, you get to hear a voice recording of Dan Brown announcing that the codes on the book cover will decipher to a phone number. The first 33 people to decipher the codes and call the phone number will each receive a signed copy of The Lost Symbol.
Update 16th September 2009:
To view a high resolution image of the back cover, click here (2MB) - thanks Tim. The final codes in the Symbol Quest challenge are there, as well as a number of ciphers to try your skills on. I'm quite busy for the next few days, but I'll do a summary when I get a free moment. In the meantime, check the comments below for hints, clues and solutions...
Update 2nd December 2009:
A revised and updated version of this article, with all the codes found so far - and their solutions - was included as an Appendix in my book The Guide to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (just $9.95 on Amazon.com). I have also made it freely available here on The Cryptex as a downloadable PDF file.
Update 19th December 2009:
I have also put a web version of the updated article here on The Cryptex.
Dan Brown's publisher has just released the cover art for The Lost Symbol. Check 'em out:
The covers confirm that The Lost Symbol retains the main subjects first mentioned under the book name The Solomon Key - namely, Washington D.C. and Freemasonry. Also, the clues given via Dan Brown's Twitter account have been confirming more of the finer points, including the influence of Freemasonry on the founding of America, transmission of Rosicrucian ideas through the likes of Francis Bacon and the 'Invisible College', and so on. (For those seeking answers to the clues given on Twitter, I'm posting solutions via my @lostsymbol account)
All of which were written about in detail some 4 years ago by some guy cheeky enough to write a guide to an unpublished book. Ahem!
You can read about a few of these topics right now by checking out the 'Latest Articles' block on the right hand side of the page.
A note: a few people have asked whether I'm bothered by the decision by Dan Brown and his publisher to change the title of his book to The Lost Symbol. In short, not at all. When I published my book, his publisher had announced the title of the book in the New York Times as The Solomon Key. My title was based on that announcement. If anything, the change of title indicates to me that my book, The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key, may well have been so close to the mark that they decided to change the title of Brown's book to The Lost Symbol.
Given the statements about Brown's research at the copyright trial in London, and recent Twitter updates referencing Freemasonry, Washington D.C. and Francis Bacon, every indication is that much of my research was spot on. For more information, browse the articles available here on the website, or pick yourself up a copy of The Guide from Amazon.
The website for Dan Brown's upcoming book The Lost Symbol has gone live, though at the moment it just features a countdown clock to the release of the next blockbuster. More interesting though, is that there are also pages on Twitter and Facebook devoted to the book - and the Twitter page is featuring clues to the content of The Lost Symbol.
Seems from the Twitter clues so far that the change of title *does not* mean that the content has changed - already there have been mentions of Freemasonry and Washington, D.C. Also, other things that I covered that weren't so well known - such as the influence of Francis Bacon - have turned up in the clues after just a few days, so I'm feeling good that I was on the right track with a lot of my research. I've noticed a few other things of interest as well, but I'll post about them separately at a later date.
I'll be posting solutions to some of the puzzles, and linking to other content of interest, via my own Twitter account: @LostSymbol. Warning: spoilers!
Dan Brown is keeping tight-lipped regarding the upcoming sequel to The Da Vinci Code - he hasn't even told director Ron Howard what the book is about:
“At the premiere in Rome, we were all surrounding Dan, refilling his wine glass, trying to get him to tell us what the book is all about,” Ron, who directed both the “Angels…” and “Da Vinci…” films, told us in a recent interview in New York. “But (a), Dan can hold his liquor and (b), he was not going to tell us a thing except that he believes it’s very cinematic and when the time comes, he is eager for us to look at it. He hopes it’s a movie. And yes, it’s another Langdon story. He has not told me anything more than he did when I began filming ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ He said then that it was set in Washington. I also know that he’s gone back and deepened the story. He reworked it several times.”
Tom Hanks tells a similar story about not being told any details (although one would think Howard - given his front and centre role in the film versions of Brown's books - would have been filled in somewhat as to the territory the next book will be heading for). To read Howard literally though, it sounds as if the Washington focus remains, just with more added to the mix.