I've just flown in to Los Angeles from my home in England on a business trip. It's interesting to see how the release of The Lost Symbol is being dealt with on both sides of the Atlantic, with the imminent date of publication getting ever closer now. There are banners and posters at most book stores, special advance purchase deals, competitions and all sorts of other schemes designed to highlight the release and offer you the book.
For those that can turn their minds back to the release of The Da Vinci Code, its all a bit different from then. Even though The Da Vinci Code went on to sell in biblical proportions, its release was like that of any other mystery thriller of the time. Pretty low key and unremarkable. It wasn't until a critical mass of sales was reached that things started to get a bit insane and a huge phenomena was born. And so we find ourselves here, today, looking at what is sure to be one of the publishing world's biggest releases in many a year. So, will the long wait between The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol be worth it?
As I mentioned in my first blog, Brown's publishers are using Twitter and Facebook to disseminate clues and hints for the plot line of The Lost Symbol, its all causing a bit of a stir and people are rabidly following the clues and hints with a fervor that is close to obsession for some. Comments are flying back and forth, clues are being disputed and entire websites have been set up to try and crack this new Dan Brown code.
I'm finding it all a bit amusing. We even have the release of books about The Lost Symbol, before the publication of The Lost Symbol! This must be nearly unprecedented in the publishing world. For myself, I am content to see the clues and hints for what they are, a marketing ploy designed to stoke up the sales in advance and get people excited. Its all great fun and I heartily recommend that everyone has a go at deciphering the clues so far released - but don't be surprised if not all of them are major parts of the book.
I do find it interesting that for a book that purports to have its plot line take place within a 24 hour period in the city of Washington DC, many of the clues actually point to places all over the world. For instance, one clue gives you the coordinates of a strange underwater structure just off the coast of Bimini in the Bahamas. This structure, known as The Bimini Road by many researchers, lays at the heart of a strange and mysterious set of events that took part at the end of the 1960s. American seer, Edgar Cayce, had predicted that evidence of the existence of the fabled land of Atlantis would be found in this exact spot by 1969. And so it was, when pilots flying over the area noticed a strange underwater structure (one of the pilots, Trigg Adams went on to become a major researcher of the phenomena - incidentally, Trigg is also the grandson of Colonel Sanders, the KFC originator - I came to know Trigg well). Divers then investigated the structure and found an amazing sight. Large pillow shaped stones on the shallow sea bed, where seemingly propped up by small pebbles. The half mile long structure was shaped like an inverted J and really did look man made. Debate still rages over the Bimini Road today, with many people claiming it to be Cayce's Atlantis site and many others saying it is simply a natural stone outcropping on the sea bed.
I visited Bimini and the road site on several occasions on research trips (I went on to write a book, The A to Z of Atlantis with Mark Foster that includes some of the research from these trips), and am intrigued to see how the road and Bimini will be used in The Lost Symbol. Maybe the prophecies of Edgar Cayce will play a role. Maybe it's a big red herring.
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