Last week, I happened to visit a relative's shop, and saw in the Manager's Office, a copy of Dan Brown's latest novel, The Lost Symbol (Bantam/Random House, 2009), 509 pp.
A quick check with Wikipedia soon told me that the book ran up to the top of Amazon's charts when it come out in September (it's first-day sales made it "the fastest selling adult novel in history"), and it is apparently the first big bestseller where e-book sales have exceeded print sales. A movie deal is, as expected, in the works.
A portent of things to come.
A glance at the opening pages suggests Mr Brown, sadly, has not really learned his lesson from the scathing corrective reviews of the notorious "FACT" page in his earlier The Da Vinci code. He has yet another "Fact" page at the front of the new novel, in which he claims that among other things "All rituals, science, artwork and monuments in this novel are real."
Ben Witherington, who wrote an early critical review, aptly noted on Brown's fact-challenged novels, that:
. . . We live in a Jesus haunted culture that is both Biblically iliiterate and at the same time is an entertainment culture. In this sort of environment which is increasingly less Christian, anything can pass for truth or knowledge about Jesus or the Bible.
When I did my book tour for the Gospel Code, one of the often recurring themes during the Q+A sessions was the question---- Do you mean to tell me Dan Brown is not giving us the facts about the Gospel, Gnostics, etc.? I thought of writing up a chronicle of some of the naive reactions and questions I got and calling it 'Gullible's Travels'. The reason and the need for a thorough critique of a novel like The Lost Symbol is because it is offering up a Koolaide that, while quite [palatable] today, is by no means genuine communion wine from the Gospels . . .