Dan Brown's 'Lost Symbol' reveals his greatest secret


Writing for the mainstream American public is not an easy task. A well-educated readership, America's book buyers simultaneously yearn for the highbrow and the heady, the playful and the thoughtful. They want books that respect their intelligence, even as they tap into their most escapist fantasies. In short, they want a big piece of sugary cake, paired with a nutritional profile that would get the Michael Pollan seal of approval.

If the past few years are any indication, Dan Brown has mastered the art of giving the American public what they want. The DaVinci Code, his breakout novel, has sold 40 million copies worldwide, and Angels and Demons, which featured the debut of Brown's signature character Robert Langdon, was also a bestseller. The movie versions of both novels also did exceedingly well, with The DaVinci Code grossing over $217 million and Angels and Demons grossing approximately $480 million.

Originally published