A quick glance at the Dan Brown Twitter and Facebook pages this week reveals not so much a new clue as a competition. Accordingly we are all invited to submit our own Caesar Ciphers in order to get some kind of free copy of The Lost Symbol. No mention of whether it's a signed copy or a limited edition though.


At the bottom of this blog is my own Caesar Cipher. Can you decode it?


So what exactly is a Caesar Cipher? Well, it's a relatively simple substitution cipher that was supposedly used by Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar - hence the name. Caesar reputedly used the cipher to protect military messages going to and from his generals. You can find more about the cipher at its Wikipedia page here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_cipher)



Just like Angels and Demons, and The Da Vinci Code after it, the use of codes and ciphers will play a big role in The Lost Symbol it would seem - though I suspect that the cryptex will not be revived for this book! Already speculation is high as to the meaning of various codes and ciphers that have been hinted at so far. Indeed, there has even been an 'official' Lost Symbol puzzle game running over at www.gather.com with the theme being Women in History. Wonder where we have heard that one before? Players of the game have to sign up to Gather to play and the prize is a signed copy of The Da Vinci Code. The answers to each of the five days of puzzles have now become clues in their own right. George Eliot (really Mary Anne Evans under a pseudonym), Cleopatra (one assumes the famous Cleopatra the seventh of Egypt), Catherine The Great, Boudica, and Artemisa Gentileschi (an Italian early Baroque female painter), are all puzzle answers and now become new clues as to the content of the finished book.



Its interesting to note that the digital e-book edition of The Lost Symbol will be released on the same day as the print edition. I've felt for a little while now that the era of the e-book is about to take off, and maybe The Lost Symbol is the catalyst that the market needs to be a success. In the UK, one chain of booksellers are even giving a free digital copy of The Lost Symbol with all purchased units of a certain new e-reader. Of course digital e-books won't be the death knell for traditional print media, just like the iPod hasn't killed CD sales and CDs in turn didn't kill off vinyl (which, funnily enough is seeing a resurgence of sales). However, it may well see the marketing and production of books change and as an author, the possibilities have me excited and raring to produce some digital content.


Here at Decoding HQ in the UK, things are progressing well. I have stacks of books everywhere, with tunnels and sitting areas cut into them - my front room is that crowded with material! I'm starting to get through a lot of background research now and its all very interesting stuff indeed. If only a fraction of the rumors are true about what some of the 'killer' content may be in The Lost Symbol, it will be a fantastic ride - though once again, I think that Dan Brown will be keeping a low profile after publication - not everyone will be enamored with his brand of history re-shaping again. I've had confirmation that my Decoding The Lost Symbol will be released in the US on November 3rd by Touchstone Fireside/Simon & Schuster and available here at Barnes & Noble on that date (or even for pre-order if you are feeling warm and fluffy towards me - or related!).


This coming Monday (a holiday on both sides of the Atlantic) I will start my wring in earnest. I'll keep this blog abreast of the progress and try and let you all see what a mega quick book feels like to write - it's a rush - like a rollercoaster ride through a library. Have a great week and holiday weekend.


Oh yes, that Caesar Cipher. Here it is. Good luck.




by on ‎09-01-2009 02:16 PM

Decoding The Lost Symbol is out on November 3rd. Decoding the facts behind the fiction of the new Dan Brown novel.


Do I win a prize?  :smileyhappy:

by on ‎09-02-2009 10:53 AM

Hi Psychee,


Good for you. Not sure if you're right, but Simon should let us know soon!



by on ‎09-21-2009 12:15 AM

Psychee, you win the prize!  :smileyhappy:


Were am I standing?


17 12 13   12 3   17 5 2   20 24 16 5 6 11 4 17 12 11   10 12 11 18 10 2 11 17

by on ‎09-21-2009 10:34 PM

Top of the Washington Monument!  :smileyhappy:

by on ‎09-21-2009 11:38 PM

You win, again!  Yea!  I'm not that great at code breaking, but I love to play with them.  When I was about twelve or thirteen, a cousin  of mine was staying with his dad and step mom for the summer, and he found some old post cards that were hidden in an old trunk in the garage.  I can't remember why he was digging through it.....anyway, he brought them over to my house and showed them to me.  They were written in some kind of code, by both his dad, and his step mom, to each other.  We thought it would be fun to see if we could break it.  It was really a simple code, so it didn't take any time at all to read them...they were love letters to each other!  Some how my aunt found out  about it, and she was less than pleased!  Ha!  I love a good mystery!

by on ‎09-22-2009 09:38 AM

Dan Brown's dustjacket ought to thrill you then.  When you are done reading the book, try to break the code written in reddish symbols on the back -- there are two parallel lines of code.


There is also a box grid there that can be decoded easily, using clues in the story. 


Have fun!  

by on ‎09-22-2009 11:52 AM

Thanks!  I see them, now!  That jacket is so busy with symbols, I wasn't sure what I was looking at.  Even symbols that don't show up clearly, until you hold the cover up to reflected light.  But I know that's just part of the cover design...Back to reading!

by on ‎09-22-2009 02:38 PM

There are more ciphers on the dustjacket...  if you played and succeeded at the "symbolquest" game at http://www.thelostsymbol.com/symbolquest/index.php  you know to look for a code to a phone number you can call to get one of 33 signed books.  Look for 10 symbols on the dustjacket that take the form of a capital letter and a number, such as "A5".  They are rather difficult to find because they don't stand out, but once you have all ten, figure out how to arrange them to get the phone number.  Call the phone number and follow the directions given to you by the answering machine.


It is probably way too late to actually win one of those books, but the game itself is kinda fun.


There are more ciphers on the dustjacket as well.   One of them decodes to a red herring!

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