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Tag: Dan Brown (11-18 of 18)

The return of Dan Brown: An interview with the author of 'The Lost Symbol'

Everybody has an opinion about Dan Brown. Some love the 45-year-old best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code and have already snapped up their copy of The Lost Symbol, which went on sale Sept. 15. Others suggest that he represents all that is bland and over-processed in publishing today. When I met with Brown, I found him pleasant and likable, even comfortably dorky. Here’s some of what he had to say (you can read the complete profile in this week’s EW).

You published two novels to little fanfare before The Da Vinci Code. At what point did you realize your days of obscurity were over?

I was out in Portland on book tour when I got news that it was debuting at #1. And I was all alone. I don’t even remember if I had a cellphone. I walked into the hotel where I was staying and the front desk said “Mr. Brown, we have a fax for you.” And it was just a huge number one. (wiping tears from his eyes) I still have that fax. It’s in a scrapbook.

With all the hoopla surrounding the publication of The Lost Symbol, do you miss that sensation of being newly discovered?

Now there’s enormous anticipation, enormous expectation. If the book weren’t good I’d be terrified. There’s so many critics who complain that I’m not William Shakespeare or William Faulkner or whoever it is. That’s exactly the point. They’re right. I write books in a very specific and intentional way, blending fact and fiction, writing in a very modern, efficient style that just serves the story. Some people understand what I’m doing and other people should just go read somebody else.


Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' breaks first-day records

Dan Brown’s latest historical/conspiratorial/symbological mystery had a stellar first day, selling more than one million copies in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Amazon and Barnes & Noble reported that The Lost Symbol broke their records for first-day sales of an adult fiction book. “Adult,” in this case, being shorthand for “not Harry Potter.”

The e-book edition also posted big sales, and is currently the top seller for the Amazon Kindle.

Suzanne Herz of Knopf Doubleday says that this kind of fervent response was absolutely what the publisher expected. “There is no comparison,” she said, between The Lost Symbol‘s success and the early sales of Brown’s other novels. Anticipating massive demand, the publisher had to go back to press immediately prior to release in order to print an additional 600,000 copies (bringing the total number to 5.6 million).

According to Carolyn Brown, spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, the book exploded past previous first-day records. “No other adult fiction title even comes close.”  And what’s more, it may be spurring readers to buy other titles, too. “It is early, but so far we have seen a lift in sales of books about Freemasonry and secret societies, followed closely by those about early Christianity (Gnostic Gospels).  We think interest in these genres will continue to be strong as the topics appeal to Brown’s core audience,” said Patricia Bostelman, vice president of marketing for Barnes & Noble, Inc.  “As people read more from The Lost Symbol, we expect that the more esoteric titles and books about hermetics, noetics, quantum physics should start to gather momentum.  And  anything about the hidden mysteries and history of Washington are sure to see a pop as well.”

Brown’s sequel to his massively successful 2003 hit, The Da Vinci Code, a cultural symbol in its own right, finds his popular protagonist Robert Langdon back in the United States, returned from his two-book European vacation, and faced with another series of cryptic clues and shadowy goings-on. Fans are clearly excited at the prospect of another go-round with their favorite (likely by default) Harvard symbologist. Like one of Brown’s beloved ambigrams, whether read backwards or forwards, this spells major success for the author.

EW review: Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'

6a00d8341bf6c153ef011570de1436970c-800wiDan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code has spawned a raft of imitators, most of which pale in comparison; the latest, The Lost Symbol, is by Brown himself. Once again, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the scene of a gruesome attack, joins forces with an attractive and erudite love interest, and speeds around a world capital chasing clues, solving puzzles, and risking his life while dropping cocktail parties’ worth of scholarly minutiae. Even the setting, though new, will be familiar to most readers: Washington, D.C.

This time, Langdon is lured to the Capitol to save his mentor, Peter Solomon, a prominent member of the Freemasons who’s been kidnapped by a cryptic, heavily tattooed, Homer-reading psycho calling himself Mal’akh — a vicious fellow even less plausible than the albino monk in The Da Vinci Code. Our hero is also in possession of an ancient Masonic artifact whose clues lead him on a treasure hunt to various D.C. tourist spots as he searches for a secret long hidden by the brotherhood.

That secret, of course, is one giant MacGuffin — though Brown is the rare thriller writer who seems to lavish as much attention on the object that sets his plot in motion as he does on the action itself. But for thriller fans, it’s the chase that really matters. Especially since the secrets of Freemasonry just aren’t as compelling as, say, a controversial theory about Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

Luckily, Langdon remains a terrific hero, a bookish intellectual who’s cool in a crisis and quick on his feet, like Ken Jennings with a shot of adrenaline. The codes are intriguing, the settings present often-seen locales in a fresh light, and Brown mostly manages to keep the pages turning — except when one of his know-it-all characters decides to brake the action for another superfluous, if occasionally interesting, historical digression. (Did you know there’s a carving of Darth Vader on the National Cathedral?) Even after the book’s climactic showdown, you must slog through another 50-plus pages of exposition that Brown couldn’t cram into the main narrative. Sometimes it seems that authors, like their villains, don’t know when to leave well enough alone. C+

Dan Brown speaks: The first interview about 'Da Vinci Code' sequel 'The Lost Symbol'

Fans have held their breath for six years for Dan Brown’s follow-up to his blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code, which sold an astounding 80 million copies worldwide. The wait finally ends at midnight tonight when readers can finally get their hands on The Lost Symbol, which follows Harvard’s Robert Langdon as he become enmeshed in a mystery involving the history of the Freemasons in Washington, D.C. Why such a long wait? In a rare interview appearing in this week’s issue, Brown tells Entertainment Weekly that during his long absence from the public eye, he made himself a promise. “I will not write a lame follow-up. It could take me 20 years. But I will never turn in a book that I’m not happy with. Four years ago, I wasn’t happy with the book. Five years ago, I wasn’t happy with the book.” Finally, amidst a flurry of articles trumpeting the 45-year-old author as the white knight come to resuscitate a wheezing publishing industry, he felt ready to return. “And if the book weren’t good,” he says confidently, “I’d be terrified.”

Brown makes it clear he didn’t spent that last six years procrastinating. “I write seven days a week, starting at 4 o’clock in the morning, including Christmas,” he says. “I worked on this book at 4 in the morning in my hotel room while I was living in London and going to court. I’ve probably written 10 novels worth of pages to write The Lost Symbol.” The first review, from the New York Times, has already hit the Internet — and it’s a rave.

Brown, however, knows not all critics are in love with his work, something he learned the hard way. “The Da Vinci Code had the audacity to park at No. 1 for a little bit too long,” he says. “And it became very en vogue just to trash my books.”

First review of Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'

6a00d8341bf6c153ef011570de1436970c-800wiThe New York Times’ Janet Maslin has posted a glowing review of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which goes on sale Tuesday. “Too many popular authors (Thomas Harris) have followed huge hits (The Silence of the Lambs) with terrible embarrassments (Hannibal),” writes Maslin. “Mr. Brown hasn’t done that. Instead, he’s bringing sexy back a genre that had been left for dead.” According to Maslin, the new book is replete with plot tricks and twists, codes, secrets, and explorations into ancient philosophies and the occult.

SPOILER ALERT! Maslin says that Brown’s hero, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, has been lured to Washington, D.C., to give a speech on behalf of his old mentor Peter Solomon at the Capitol—only to find Solomon’s severed hand atop the Capitol Crypt. The mystery/treasure hunt that ensues does, as has been rumored, prominently feature the Freemasons. Only they do not occupy the villain role that Opus Dei played in The Da Vinci Code. According to Maslin, the villain this time out is a sinister psycho named Mal’akh.

Observant types will remember that back in 2003 Maslin also had the first review of The Da Vinci Code — and it was a rave as well. “Not since the advent of Harry Potter has an author so flagrantly delighted in leading readers on a breathless chase and coaxing them through hoops,” she wrote. Brown later admitted that “people called and said, ‘Is Janet Maslin your mother, because she never says stuff like that?’”

'Today' invites viewers to channel their inner Robert Langdons

6a00d8341bf6c153ef011570de1436970c-800wiThink you’ve solved the mystery of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol? (C’mon, you know you spent hours trying to decode that cover in July!) Well, prepare to become more confused (or vindicated): NBC’s Today is offering Robert Langdon fans the opportunity to garner more clues with the show’s build-up to the book’s Sept. 15 release.

For an entire week — starting Sept. 8 — the morning show will reveal exclusive information, via Matt Lauer, about pivotal locations featured in the novel. If you crack the clue, you can log onto to enter your best guesses. (Answers will not be revealed until the day after Symbol‘s release, of course).

Since I’m not the most devout of Brown’s readers, I ask you, Shelf Lifers: Would determining the book’s key locations actually help you determine the plot of the book? Since Symbol apparently focuses on the Freemasons — and Doubleday already announced that much of the action takes place in Washington, D.C. — wouldn’t most of the locations be fairly obvious already? (I’m thinking Washington Monument, the Capitol building, etc.). True, landmarks always play a big role in Brown’s books, but since most of of Brown’s locations harbor secret, often fictionalized meanings previously unknown to us readers, wouldn’t it be meaningless to try to piece together the plot from the settings alone?

Am I totally Langdon ignorant or what? Fill me in, friends! And will you tune into Today, if only to see their interview with Brown Sept. 15?

Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol': Why is the book biz so scared?

6a00d8341bf6c153ef011570de1436970c-800wiThere’s been much fulminating in the books world lately that The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, is bad for publishing. This week, former Publisher’s Weekly editor Sara Nelson even dubbed Brown a “Book Killer.” The theory is that Brown’s readers will only troop into stores (or go online) starting Sept. 15 to buy Symbol, probably at a deep discount, and they won’t buy anything else. Worse, the critics argue, the hubbub surrounding Symbol will drown out media coverage of other books — and eat into sales of those books too. So publishers have supposedly been shuffling the release dates of various titles so they don’t have to go head-to-head with the Dan Brown juggernaut.

It doesn’t take a Harvard symbologist to see that this is mostly sour grapes and a whole lot of hooey. It reminds me of the stink that publishers raised over the Harry Potter series, successfully persuading The New York Times and other outlets to demote the titles from their adult best-seller lists so that J.K. Rowling titles wouldn’t hog up so many slots. Why do we have to compete with a book that appeals to a youth-skewing mass audience, beyond the usual Starbucks-sipping B&N crowd?, the publishers asked. That just isn’t fair! (Imagine if the movie studios tried something similar so they wouldn’t have to compete with the box office returns of G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.) READ FULL STORY

Looks like Dan Brown's new novel? Well, it's not

6a00d83451af9169e201157227979a970b-800wiYou think that American publishers are craven? Consider this thriller that recently hit the shelves of the U.K. bookstore chain WHSmith. Despite the prominent use of Dan Brown’s name on the cover, this is not an early copy of the follow-up to The Da Vinci Code. No, it’s a thriller called Deadline by a completely unrelated author named Simon Kernick, but pitched confusingly to readers who “like your thrillers as fast, furious and unputdownable as Dan Brown.” The promotional cover has got a lot of U.K. book-lovers steamed. Caveat lector. It’s worth noting that this edition of Deadline, which was first published last year in paperback, is apparently a free giveaway at WHSmith if you pre-order Brown’s actual new novel, The Lost Symbol, from the store. Savvy marketing or blatant ripoff? You decide.

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