About Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, etc.
Hardcover Paperback Click on these images to read reviews and/or purchase a copy safely from
1964 (birth) to 1996 (early careers):
Dan Brown was born in 1964 at the time of the summer solstice.
He was raised in Exeter, NH, about an hour's drive north of Boston, MA. He
attended public schools in Exeter and later attended Phillips Exeter Academy where his father, Richard G. Brown, taught high-school mathematics. After graduating from Amherst College in 1986, he relocated to California where
he had some success as a singer, songwriter and musician. He privately produced
four collections, including a cassette of children's songs, and a CD of songs
for adults. Surprisingly, none of these are currently available. Brown also
taught at Beverly Hills Preparatory School. While in Los Angeles, he met
Blythe Newlon who was Director of Artist Development at the National Academy of Songwriters. They both relocated to Exeter in 1993, and
married in 1997.
Dan Brown taught English in Phillips Exeter Academy from 1992
until he quit in 1996 to give his full attention to writing. His wife has assisted with
the research and promotion of his books.
1998-2003: Four novels:
His first three novels were not spectacular successes:
The three novels together sold a total of about 20,000 copies. Of the three, Angels and Demons was the most successful.
There is a puzzle at the end of the Deception Point novel
which generates the message "The Da Vinci Code will surface." This is the
name of his fourth novel which was published on 2003-MAR-18 and has become an
all time best seller. This popularity created an interest in his earlier novels. All four
were on the New York Times list in the same week in 2004.
Doubleday expected that The Da Vinci Code would be a real
winner. Even though Brown was at the time a relatively unknown novelist, the
company sent out 10,000 advanced copies to critic and booksellers. They shipped
230,000 copies to booksellers in time for a 2003-MAR-18 release. Sales on the
first day totaled 6,000 copies. This rose to 23,578 by the end of the first
week. It was rated number 1 on the hard-cover fiction bestseller list at the New
York Times by the end of the first week. By late 2006-MAR, over 40 million hardcover copies had been sold. It was
then published in paperback format, which sold over a half million
copies in its first week of release. A movie patterned after the book opened
worldwide on 2006-MAY-19.
Dan Brown recently:
Acording to a 2004 article by David Mehegan of the Boston
"...the portrait that emerges from published accounts, his website, and
friends and editors, is one of a fairly shy writer, a married, 38-year-old
former high school teacher from southern New Hampshire who wrote three
modestly received novels, then stumbled into superstardom with the fourth.
'He's an extremely charming, very smart, preppy guy,' says [Stephen] Rubin
[president and publisher of Doubleday], 'like the college professor you
never had. He's impossible not to like'."
"Jason Kaufman, his longtime editor and close friend, says Brown has
managed to keep his sanity, and continue writing in the midst of his
fantastic success. 'He is the same person he was two years ago,' Kaufman
says. 'It's harder for him to walk down the street, but he is remarkably
levelheaded about his life'."
His publisher, Random House, survived a 2006 lawsuit for breach of copyright
in the UK brought by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. They claimed that Brown
plagiarized the architecture and central theme of their 1982 book "Holy
Blood, Holy Grail." Random House won the lawsuit. Julian Barnes, author of the Arthur and George series said that all writers research and
reinterpret ideas. He told The Christian Science Monitor: "This is how
a writer instinctively operates. It's just the same as if you've been told a
story by a friend or something happens in your family. It's all fair game."
A loss by Random House would have been devastating for the novel publishing
Brown's next project was his fifth novel whose working title was "The Solomon Key." It deals
with the Freemasons and is was scheduled to be released in 2007. According to
"...puzzles hidden in the bookjacket of The Da Vinci Code
(including two referring to the Kryptos sculpture at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia)" give hints about the novel.
It was published in as "The Lost Symbol" on 2009-SEP-15.
According to Wikipedia:
"It had a first printing of 6.5 million (5 million in North America, 1.5 million in the UK), the largest in Doubleday history. On its first day the book sold one million in hardcover and e-book versions in the U.S., the UK and Canada, making it the fastest selling adult novel in history. It was number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction for the first six weeks of its release, and remained there until January 24 of the following year .
He allegedly has outlines for at least 12 more books.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
David Mehegan, "Thriller instinct: Still perched atop bestseller lists,
Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' is riding a new wave of religious controversy to
surprising success," Boston Globe, 2004-MAY-08, at: http://www.boston.com/