My goodness, it was difficult to find any book releases this week. Maybe because there’s only one new Crime Thriller that anybody’s going to be buying.
Here’s the blurb:
‘Seek and ye shall find.’
With these words echoing in his head, eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.
A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon’s knowledge of hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.
With only a few lines from Dante’s dark and epic masterpiece, The Inferno, to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artefacts of the Renaissance – sculptures, paintings, buildings – to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, help them save the world from a terrifying threat.
Set against an extraordinary landscape inspired by one of history’s most ominous literary classics, Inferno is Dan Brown‘s most compelling and thought-provoking novel yet, a breathless race-against-time thriller that will grab you from page one and not let you go until you close the book.
You don’t need to be a noted symbologist – in your turtleneck, Harris Tweed jacket and collegiate cordovan loafers — to decipher the writing on the wall: Inferno will sell shitloads. And it’ll also get slated by the critics — I’ve read some right stinkers already. One chap in the Telegraph wrote yesterday: ‘As a stylist Brown gets better and better: where once he was abysmal he is now just very poor.’
Me, I like it when authors are successful. Brown has tapped into a fundamental belief in people, that unshakeable suspicion that more is happening on the other side of the curtain than we are privy to, and that the answers, if we care to look, are hidden in plain sight, and run with it.
His books aren’t my cup of tea, I confess — I’m more Disco Inferno than Dante’s Inferno — but that’s a matter of taste. However, for some people Brown’s combination of high-falutin’ cultural and religious imagery and low culture is just too toxic a mix. But you only have to look at the millions of similar quasi-religious conspiracy titles out there to see how influential his work has been on the international thriller genre.
Brown famously described Robert Langdon as Harrison Ford in a Tweed jacket, but the character has been played twice by Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code and Angels And Demons movies. Preproduction on the movie of The Lost Symbol started this year, apparently.
If you’re a writer struggling to get your work out there, Brown’s is a salutary story. A former singer-songwriter, his first three novels all sold under 10,000 copies, but he stuck with it – and his fourth, a little book called The Da Vinci Code, hit the jackpot, and how. It’s sold over 80 million copies. The critics ain’t gonna like it, but Brown says he’s got ideas for another dozen Langdon adventures.
So keep writing. Believe in yourself. Keep your bum plastered to the seat and keep tapping away. Because it can happen.
There’s a special talk with Dan Brown being held at the Freemasons’ Hall (you see what they’ve done there?) in London next Tuesday evening. If you’re around, you can book tickets here.
And by the way, there’s a terrific little article here about how Brown and other writers defeat the dreaded writer’s block. He does it by practicing something called ‘inversion therapy’ — that’s hanging upside down to you and me.
What about you, have you got your copy yet? Share your thoughts on the phenomenon that is Dan Brown.