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A 'Da Vinci Code' follow-up: Is the wait over?

February 12, 2009 |  1:03 pm

Danbrown That's what Entertainment Tonight is reporting after one of its reporters talked to Ron Howard on the film set of "Angels and Demons," the first of Dan Brown's novels to feature Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. Howard told ET reporter Mark Steines that Brown has finished his third book in which Langdon again takes the lead as a code-breaking, conspiracy-hunting hero.

"Dan is very excited about it," Howard told Steines.

There is no word yet from Brown's official website or from his publisher, Doubleday, though Brown has given some information about his "Da Vinci Code" follow-up on his website, assuring readers there that "the next Robert Langdon novel ... is set deep within the oldest fraternity in history ... the enigmatic brotherhood of the Masons." The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Trachtenberg reported in January of last year that the new novel even carried the tentative title, "The Solomon Key."

These shreds of information about the next book resulted in plenty of preemptive marketing: I can't even tell you how many books about Masons, secret societies and the hidden meanings of Washington, D.C., landmarks have arrived in our offices over the last few years. In the wake of "The Da Vinci Code," there was a billion imitators. Now they aren't even waiting for the new book.

In our offices, the reaction has been: Why has it taken so long?

That seems reasonable to ask, considering Brown produced his other novels (four in all, or five if Richie Cunningham is correct) fairly quickly and at regular intervals. But too often there's a tendency to think that popular genres like thrillers and mysteries are easier to produce than novels emanating from (clear throat here) the Hallowed Halls of Literature.

I suspect Brown has been spending extra time to make sure the twists are twisty enough -- and maybe he was (understandably) sidetracked by the unsuccessful 2006 plagiarism suit brought against him in England by two of the three authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail."  Stay tuned for more.

-- Nick Owchar

Photo: Dan Brown leaving London's Royal Courts of Justice in 2006.

Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images