Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown tackles Dante's Inferno for new book

 

His most famous book found Jesus’s bloodline, now Dan Brown is taking his readers into hell following the surprise announcement of a new book, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

As befitting the author of The Da Vinci Code – and its publicity machine – Brown yesterday planted a series of clues about his next book on social media before revealing with a flourish that it was to be called Inferno.

The 48-year old from New Hampshire has sold over 200 million books, with Angels & Demons and 2009’s The Lost Symbol joining The Da Vinci Code on the bestseller lists. His surprise return follows that of JK Rowling, another expert at shifting millions of books, just months ago. 

Brown revealed he had studied the Inferno, the first of three parts of the Divine Comedy, at university but “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”.

The bestselling author gave little away about the story other than to say: “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.”

Editor Jason Kaufman revealed that Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, as played by Tom Hanks on the big screen adaptations of his earlier work, would once again be the protagonist. He will head back to Europe, presumably Florence, “where he becomes entwined in a mystery that has global ramifications tied to the ominous and truly mesmerizing details of Dante’s masterful work”.

Stephen Milner, Serena professor of Italian at the University of Manchester, said: “If Dan Brown does for Dante what he did for Leonardo, the general public will probably be delighted, while the scholarly community will probably tear out their hair.”

While academics will be nervous, the same could not be said about the retailers. Rik Shane, head of Books at Waterstones, said it was “great news for booksellers. The Lost Symbol broke all sorts of sales records on its release in 2009 and this new title is likely to be the bestselling book of 2013”.

He added: “Like David Bowie, Dan Brown has mastered the art of surprising the world with an unexpected return.”

The Lost Symbol became the fastest-selling hard back since records began, according to Tom Tivnan, features editor of The Bookseller, who added it was positive news. “Big books are what drives the industry.” The Da Vinci Code became the best-selling adult hardback in the world.

With Dante, Brown is coming up against a man with a multi-million dollar industry of his own. Dr Milner said: “Dante already has the most enormous cultural history of adaptation, appropriation and repackaging.”

New translations are regularly released, including one updated version last year that referenced Bob Dylan and Star Trek, as well as new commentaries, cartoons and even video games. This year, Clive James is to release his own translation of the Divine Comedy.

The obsession stretches back to the 14th century, with the first person to do a commentary on the work being Dante’s own son. “Dante has been commented on and rewritten from the generation after his death. Dan Brown will merely be another addition to the Dante industry,” Dr Milner said.

“There’s always been a great Anglo-Saxon fascination with the cult of Dante, and we are talking about a cult,” Dr Milner said. “There’s something disquietingly appropriate about an author like Dan Brown involving himself with a figure that has a cult following dating back to the early 14th century.”

He added: “Dante speaks to the virtues and vices of everyday life and about the fears of what lies beyond. The fascination with Dante is that he’s incredibly modern in his civic focus. He’s also a master of the arts.”

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas