Dan Brown Decoded

You cracked The Da Vinci Code, but can you solve The Lost Symbol? The Daily Beast unscrambles Robert Langdon’s latest adventure.

The Daily Beast presents the ultimate now and then comparison of The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code. It’s all Dan Brown fans need to know about the new book, unless they want to know how it ends…


Then: Robert Langdon, professor of religious iconology and symbology at Harvard University

Now: Robert Langdon, “several years” after his Da Vinci Code experiences in Europe


Then: Silas, the self-flagellating Albino monk/assassin

Now: Mal’akh, a kidnapper whose body is completely covered in self-applied tattoos


Then: Louvre, Paris, Vatican City

Now: The Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Grisly Scene

Then: Jacques Saunière Saint-Clair, a curator at the Louvre, grandfather of Sophie Neveu and the grand master of the Priory of Sion, is brutally murdered by Silas.

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Now: Mal’akh has kidnapped Peter Solomon, Langdon’s mentor and a prominent Mason and billionaire. Mal’akh has deposited a part of Solomon in the Capitol rotunda to attract Langdon’s attention and help the villain unlock “an ancient portal.”

Pages It Takes to Get Into

Then: 1

Now: 7

Female Sidekick

Then: Sophie Neveu, a French National Police cryptographer and Jacques Saunière Saint-Clair’s granddaughter

Now: Katherine Solomon, Peter’s younger sister and a scientist in the field of noetics, which examines human consciousness and the nature of the human intellect

Tricky Cipher

Now: “The Hand of the Mysteries,” a “secretive icon of the ancient world,” “served as a mystical summons...an invitation to receive secret knowledge—protected wisdom known only to an elite few.”

Then: Jacques Saunière’s body is found naked and posed like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Near his body is a cipher with the digits of the Fibonacci sequence and amalgams referring to Leonardo da Vinci and his Mona Lisa. By deciphering these clues, Langdon and Neveu begin to unravel the mystery.

Secret Cult

Now: Freemasons. The book opens with Mal’akh’s 33rd-degree Freemason initiation ceremony.

Then: Priory of Sion and Opus Dei

Comic Relief

Then: None

Now: Inoue Sato, director of the CIA’s Office of Security, the agency’s powerful internal affairs division. “[A] tiny Japanese woman…with a fierce expression, a mottled complexion, thinning hair, tobacco-stained teeth, and an unsettling white scar that sliced horizontally across her neck.”


Then: Langdon uncovers marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene that the Catholic Church has been hiding for centuries.

Now: You’ll just have to read it.

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles, authors and excerpts from the latest books.