Dan Brown returns to Europe for 'Inferno'
In this Monday, May 13, 2013 photo, author Dan Brown poses for a portrait in New York. His new book, "Inferno," published by Doubleday releases on May 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
NEW YORK (AP) — Dan Brown sees the world a little differently than the average person.
"I wish I could travel for pleasure," says the author of such scenic blockbusters as "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," in which secrets and suspense are combined with a guided tour of Italy and other stops in Western Europe. "Everything I see is a potential idea and I wish I could turn that off. Maybe I shouldn't. But, yes, every little work of art that I see or place that I travel to is a potential idea."
Brown, 48, spoke recently at the midtown Manhattan offices of Random House Inc., where he jokingly imagines setting a novel called "Random Cipher," with hidden passageways running throughout the building. Brown is a New Hampshire resident spending the week in New York to promote "Inferno," a return to his beloved continent and a chance, he hopes, to interest readers in the classic 14th century journey in verse by Dante that provides the title for his new novel.
"My hope for this book is that people are inspired either to discover or rediscover Dante. And, if all goes well, they will simultaneously appreciate some of the incredible art that Dante has inspired for the last 700 years," says Brown, who with "The Da Vinci Code" helped inspire customized tours of the Louvre, Westminster Abbey and other settings in the novel.
This book cover image released by Doubleday shows "Inferno," by Dan Brown. The latest book by Brown, the author of "The Davinci Code," will be released on May 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Doubleday)
Brown's new book, published Tuesday, is already high on the best seller lists of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com, a position to be expected for an author whose novels have sold 200 million copies worldwide. "The Da Vinci Code" alone has sold more than 80 million copies and ranked Brown with J.K. Rowling among novelists for whose publishers the deadliest sin is spoiling the plot.
Brown's fictional alter ego, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, is once again on the run. Caught up in a struggle to prevent a deadly virus from spreading around the globe, he wakes up in a daze in an Italian hospital at the start of the novel and spends the rest of the book trying to regain his bearings. There's a love interest — sort of — visits to historical landmarks in Florence, Venice and elsewhere and mysterious codes that allude to passages from Dante.
Everything about "Inferno" is a tease, including the way the author has written and promoted it. Brown makes a point of visiting the locations he describes, and since "The Da Vinci Code" published in 2003, his fans have obsessively tried to discern where his next books might take place and what they're about. Details of his 2009 novel "The Lost Symbol" emerged thanks to reports that Brown, whose dimpled chin and sandy-colored hair are known to many, had been spending time in Washington, D.C. Counter-espionage became necessary during his European travels for "Inferno."