Dan Brown's new novel 'Inferno' links Langdon to Dante

Dan Brown's new book, 'Inferno,' will be released by Doubleday May 14.

Dan Brown's new book will center on Dante's 'Divine Comedy.'

Bestseller lists are about to get a little more crowded this spring.

Dan Brown, author of the mega-hit “Da Vinci Code” and “The Lost Symbol,” will release a new book May 14, his publisher Doubleday announced today. The adventures of “Da Vinci Code” protagonist and Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon continue in “Inferno,” which will center on the literary masterpiece “Dante’s Inferno.”

“Although I studied Dante’s Inferno as a student, it wasn’t until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante’s work on the modern world,” Brown said on his website. “With this new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm.... a landscape of codes, symbols, and more than a few secret passageways.”

The new novel will be set in Italy and has Langdon battling “a chilling adversary and [grappling] with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science” against the backdrop of Dante’s epic poem, according to a description of the book on Amazon.com.

In a brilliant marketing move appealing to “Da Vinci Code” fans’ love of puzzles, the book’s title was revealed by readers themselves who posted items on social media, which linked to a mosaic that slowly uncovered the book’s title.

“Dan Brown's enthusiasm for puzzles, codes and symbols is a passion shared by his readers,” Suzanne Herz, senior vice president at Doubleday, told Bloomberg, adding that the marketing stunt was intended “to harness that passion and use it as a catalyst to reveal the new title.”

Like the epic poem that inspired it, “Inferno” is likely to be among Brown’s darker works. In Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Dante is led by Virgil through hell, purgatory, and heaven. As such, “Inferno” will probably be in keeping with the religiously themed books that came before it. 

One thing’s for sure: It’s not just readers who are holding their breath for Brown’s latest release. The book will likely come as a huge boost to Doubleday and Transworld, Brown’s UK publisher, as well as bookstores across the country, which are probably already planning events for the forthcoming book. That’s because “Da Vinci Code” spent more than one year – 54 weeks – on New York Times’ bestseller list, was translated into 51 languages and, according to the LA Times’ Jacket Copy, is considered “the bestselling adult hardcover of all time with 81 million copies in print worldwide.” All told, Brown’s books have now sold over 200 million copies worldwide and two have been adapted into films starring Tom Hanks.

No doubt, expectations are high for “Inferno."

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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