Dan Brown's latest book and no doubt soon-to-be best-seller The Lost Symbol goes on sale tomorrow and according to the hype is expected to put Washington on the map (for those who don't know where Washington is already). So these are the first edition of the book - but are they likely to represent a good investment?
In the book Robert Langdon, Dan Brown's Harvard symbiologist, dashes around the Capitol in a 12-hour battle against a muscular tattooed eunuch. He is assisted in his epic battle by the wise Dr Katherine Solomon, a Noetic scientist (a noetic scientist is supposed to explore the nature and potentials of consciousness through the application of multiple ways of knowing — including (but not limited to) intuition, feeling, reason, and the senses) (isn't that what we all do?).
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
The Lost Symbol was reviewed today in The New York Times, under the dysnoetic title "Fasten Your Seat Belts, There's Code to Crack". The reviewer Janet Maslin suggests Dan Brown fans will not be disappointed. She says that Dan Brown has avoided the trap of following a huge hit by a flopping embarrassment, stating that he is "bringing sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead." - not sure what she means but it sounds good.
For the record it was Maslin's uncharacteristically rave review for The Da Vinci Code which helped propel it to the top of the bestseller charts.
The Da Vinci Code made Brown a household name and has sold over 80 million copies in 44 languages. No doubt The Lost Symbol will also be a great success and I suppose we can expect a film to follow.
In The Lost Symbol Langdon heads for the Capitol building, where he has been invited to speak by Peter Solomon, Katherine's brother. Maslin summarizes as follows [skip the next few sentences if you don't want to know ] : "And here comes Mr Brown’s first neat trick: The Solomon summons was fake. There’s no audience waiting"
"Just as Langdon realises he has been lured to Washington under a false pretext, a shriek arises from the Rotunda. Some fiend has deposited Peter Solomon’s severed, tattooed hand right above the Capitol Crypt — and right below the dome art that depicts George Washington, founding father and Freemason, as an ascending deity."
Is the Lost Symbol, published by Random House, likely to be a good investment as a first edition - well the initial print run is 5 million so really not much rarity value there. But you could always try and pick up a signed copy or two for the cover price - and lock them away for a few years.
The book is however expected to boost sales of the Amazon Kindle ebook reader as users download the electronic version instead of getting the real thing.
The Digital Fortress
As far as first editions go you will probably be better advised to try and find a signed copy of a first edition of Dan Brown's first novel Digital Fortress - the cheapest one I've seen on Abebooks is $950 for a copy with a signed bookplate and $1450 for a copy signed directly to the title page. But a search through auction sites may turn up cheaper copies.
The cheapest signed first editions of the Da Vinci Code appears to be around $200 but again a more extensive search might throw up more.