May 14, 2013 is the official publication date of Dan Brown’s sixth novel, Inferno, the fourth thriller featuring symbologist, Robert Langdon. Many writers have taken a circuitous path to end up in the world of publishing, but few succeed on the level of Dan Brown, whose successful Robert Langdon thrillers have launched (or re-ignited) the writing careers of several authors who write books about his controversial books that mix truth and fiction.
Brown was educated at the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, followed by Amherst College, where he graduated in 1986. Brown headed to Hollywood, attempting to make a living as a singer-songwriter. Fortunately for the publishing world, Brown failed as a musician and moved back to New Hampshire and took a teaching position in the English department at Phillips Exeter.
Brown’s epiphany came in 1993 while on vacation in Tahiti: “I found an old copy of Sidney Sheldon’s Doomsday Conspiracy on the beach. I read the first page, and then the next… Several hours later, I finished the book and thought ‘I can do that.'” And thanks to that discarded thriller, a remarkable publishing career was launched. The Da Vinci Code, technically Brown’s fourth novel, is his magnum opus and an instant best-seller. On the first day, 6,000 copies of the novel sold, and by the end of the first week that number shot to 24,000. As of 2012, the book has sold more than 200 million copies. Not bad for a failed musician who simply read a book and challenged himself to write something better — an inspiration for any writer.
Digital Fortress (1998)
Deception Point (2001)
Angels & Demons (2000)
The Da Vinci Code (2003)
The Lost Symbol (2009)
For further reading: The Man Behind the Da Vinci Code by Lisa Rogak, Andrews McMeel (2005)
The Dan Brown Companion by Simon Cox, Mainstream Publishing (2006)