The Da Vinci Code: Biography: Dan Brown

Born in Exter, New Hampshire circa 1964, author Dan Brown has become one of the most popular of current American novelists, virtually entirely on the basis of his 2003 bestseller, The Da Vinci Code. Brown had actually introduced that novel’s protagonist, Havard symbology professor Robert Langdon, in an earlier book, Angels and Demons (2000). But it was not until The Da Vinci Code that Langdon—and his creator—truly entered the public spotlight.
Although he began his artistic career as a songwriter and performer, Brown entered the world of literature when he decided he could write better than Sidney Sheldon! The Da Vinci Code is his fourth thriller, preceded not only by Angels and Demons but also Digital Fortress (1998) and Deception Point (2001). These two novels are more focused on science and technology, specifically computer science, than the Langdon novels. A third Langdon novel, The Lost Symbol, is set for publication in the fall of 2009. Many fans of Brown’s writing are unaware that his first book was actually a book of humor, co-written with his wife Blythe Newlon, entitled 187 Men to Avoid: A Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman. Credited to one “Danielle Brown,” copies of this scarce first edition currently fetch high prices from rare book dealers.
Controversy from religious organizations greeted The Da Vinci Code not only during its runaway bestselling stretch on book sales charts—it spent more than two years on top of the New York Times bestseller list—but also upon the release of the film adaptation in 2005, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks. The book also met with ire from other authors. After The Da Vinci Code was published, authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh brought suit against Brown, claiming he had “appropriated” the “architecture” and central argument of their book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982). A contemporary account of the trial reported: “Mr. Brown does not deny that he consulted The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail before publishing The Da Vinci Code. In fact, one of his characters—Sir Leigh Teabing, a partial anagram of the authors surnames—actually has the book on his bookshelf. In one passage in The Da Vinci Code Mr. Brown summarizes the [earlier book’s] theory, saying that The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail is the most important book in the area. But Random House’s lawyers argue that The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail is just one of many sources Mr. Brown consulted, and that it was relatively unimportant to his research. Furthermore, they say, many of the basic ideas put forward in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail were not original, anyway, but had been around for years in other sources” (Sarah Lyall, “‘Da Vinci Code’ Trial Opens With Claims of Theft,” New York Times, February 28, 2006; In March 2007, the London Court of Appeal ruled that under British copyright law, “a novelist has the right to use the ‘information’ included in an (alleged) work of history when this information is ‘differently expressed, collected, selected, arranged and narrated’ as is typical of a novel”(
Given that Brown has stated he has a dozen more idea for Robert Langdon adventures, the reading public is surely in for more exciting thrillers and intriguing excursions into symbology for years to come.