Dan Brown’s newest book, Inferno, is now out in stores. The novel is set largely in Florence, Italy, and derives its name from Dante Alighieri’s canonical epic poem Divine Comedy, which features prominently in its plot. The protagonist,once again, is Robert Langdon, the fictional Harvard professor of religious iconology and symbology who is the hero of all three of Brown’s previous bestsellers—Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol—forever associated with Tom Hanks, thanks to Hollywood adaptations of two of the books.
Inferno begins with Langdon waking up in a hospital. Disoriented by a head wound, he has no memory of the last 36 hours. And there is also the small matter of a gruesome object hidden among his belongings.
Brown says he had studied Dante’s Inferno in high school, but “it wasn’t until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of his work on the modern world.”
Double Day, the publisher of this 480-page novel, is printing four million copies of the book to start. Considering that The Da Vinci Code sold 81 million copies, it seems likely that Inferno will have to be reprinted several times. Brown’s books are characteristically preoccupied, much like their protagonist, with codes and symbology. The author’s fascination with puzzles is owed in part to his father, a mathematics professor who organised intricate treasure hunts for his three children on birthdays and holidays.
Though Brown is now a successful author, in his twenties, he wanted to be a pop singer.
In 1993, he released a CD called Dan Brown, featuring songs with titles such as 976-Love and If You Believe in Love. His next album was called Angels & Demons.