Woman discovers she's a character in latest Dan Brown novel

Dan Brown
Dan Brown

What if you showed up as a major character in a best-selling novel? Imagine what went through Marilyn Schlitz's mind when she realized that she was a character in Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol, a followup to The Da Vinci Code. After catching the rumor via Twitter that a character closely resembled her, Schlitz bought the book and found herself reading fictionalized details of her own research. She told NPR she found the use of her work "very surprising and delightful at the same time."

According to the NPR report, a major character in the novel, Katherine Solomon, is, like Schlitz, an employee of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and carries out similar research, with one very important difference: Solomon's work goes further than Schlitz's, all the way into the realm of fantasy.

Brown reportedly did not contact Schlitz before publication, citing security concerns, but he did send a nice note of thanks afterward. Lucky for the author, she appears content with the actions that Brown puts her character through. Her institute "explores the frontiers of consciousness" and "builds bridges between science and spirit," obvious grist for Brown's brand of fiction.

But what if Schlitz had been offended? Could she successfully sue for libel?