Paul Stancato on Dan Brown
February 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Born in New Hampshire and raised on the Phillips Exeter Academy campus, Dan Brown immersed himself in the world of puzzles and ciphers from a young age. He eventually attended the academy and then gained admission to Amherst College, where he sang in the Amherst Glee Club. Hoping to forge a music career after graduation, Brown made a children’s album, and later, an album for adults, which he published through his own record company. When both albums met with moderate success, he moved to Hollywood and began writing more songs, producing several albums. To supplement his income, he taught at the Beverly Hills Preparatory School. Eventually, Brown returned to New Hampshire and served as an English instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy.
While vacationing in Tahiti one year, Brown happened to read The Doomsday Conspiracy, by Sidney Sheldon, which encouraged him to begin a new career as a writer. He immediately began work on his novel Digital Fortress and quit his job some years later to focus on writing. Digital Fortress hit shelves in 1998, followed soon thereafter by Deception Point and Angels & Demons, which introduced Brown’s famous character, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. Brown achieved commercial success with his fourth novel, The Da Vinci Code, in which Langdon attempts to solve the murder of the Louvre’s curator. By the man’s body, Langdon discovers a strange cipher and begins to solve the puzzle with clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. Ultimately, Langdon stumbles upon the Priory of Sion, a secret society he believes is connected to the murder.
Most recently, Brown published The Lost Symbol, which recounts Langdon’s struggle to rescue the head of the Smithsonian Institution from the hands of a kidnapper demanding the recovery of lost books. The Lost Symbol is the fastest-selling novel in history and remained a New York Times number-one bestseller for six weeks.