Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 14, 2009 10:44 AM
Befitting the mega-brand author of 2003's The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter-esque hoopla is greeting tomorrow's release of Dan Brown’s new novel, The Lost Symbol. The book was quarantined until Brown's Today Show appearance Tuesday. But vague clues have been flying around Twitter since late June, and the novel has been number one on Amazon’s pre-order list for weeks.
Clearly, Knopf Doubleday thinks it has found a winner: The publisher is shipping five million copies to booksellers.
Janet Maslin's September 14 New York Times review offers few hints of what’s between the covers.
When an author creates a franchise of Brown's (or Potter's) magnitude, there's always a risk that sequels won't match expectations. But The Times's Maslin tries to reassure us that this could be the real thing: “The new book clicks even if at first it looks dangerously like a clone.” Maslin adds that Brown's new opus "manages to take a twisting, turning route through... the occult even as it heads for a final secret that is surprising for a strange reason: It’s unsurprising. It also amounts to an affirmation of faith.”
Publishers, desperately clinging to their own faith in a flagging industry, are all too ready to believe.