The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownThe Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol

byDan Brown

Paperback | October 19, 2010

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#1 Worldwide Bestseller

Famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon answers an unexpected summons to appear at the U.S. Capitol Building. His plans are interrupted when a disturbing object—artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the building. Langdon recognizes in the find an ancient invitation into a lost world of esoteric, potentially dangerous wisdom.

When his mentor Peter Solomon—a long-standing Mason and beloved philanthropist—is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that the only way to save Solomon is to accept the mystical invitation and plunge headlong into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and one inconceivable truth . . . all under the watchful eye of Dan Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn—one of Brown's most riveting novels.

Dan Brown is the author of The Da Vinci Code, one of the most widely read novels of all time, as well as the international bestsellers Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress.  He lives in New England with his wife.
Title:The Lost SymbolFormat:PaperbackDimensions:656 pages, 7.51 × 4.18 × 1.57 inPublished:October 19, 2010Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1400079144

ISBN - 13:9781400079148

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Typical Dan Brown Whereas Dan Brown books, despite being (How do I say this nicely?) ...popcorn novels, contain chapters that never overstay their welcome. I know that there is a lot to be said about having long, fully realized chapters, but I find that I get lost having to return to them midway through. Especially if I go multiple days between reading sessions. I’ll usually need to back up a page to reorient myself. But with Brown’s books, the end of a chapter is usually not more than like 3 pages away, so I just finish it and get that closure, even if it’s one of his trademark cliff hanger tease endings.
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from There are better books by Dan Brown than this one. This book is both poorly written and impossible to put down. I think that about sums it up.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved This Book So this is not the type of book I normally read but it was suggested to me and I gave it a shot. AND I AM SO HAPPY I DID! It felt like Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure. I loved every second of it. So hard to put down. I would suggest keeping a device on hand to look up all the little items they mention.
Date published: 2018-05-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not my favourite I love Dan Brown but I had a hard time getting through this book. It just didn't capture my attention from the beginning and dragged on. Wanted to love it but just couldn't do it!
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I fully enjoyed this book and Brown's writing is descriptive. Definitely a page-turner!
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I liked it Not his best but better than inferno in my opinion. I liked that it took place in Washington, having been there you know the settings. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Illustrated Versions are A Good Investment Like others I too feel that this was not Mr. Brown's best work. Whenever I read his novels I endevour to read the illustrated versions to better associate with the locations, pieces, and symbology. Compared to the thrills of Angels & Demons or Digital Fortress, perhaps Brown was being forced to write faster than his usual pace, and the book suffers for that. Since the America's history isn't as far reaching into the past as Europe I was confused by his choice to place his characters there. Why not Spain? Why not Istanbul? But a lovely read none the less, a grab-and-go, if you will. I'm sure others will like this one if they have read other Dan Brown novels but it won't be anyones favourite.
Date published: 2018-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! I love reading his novels and this book definitely was right up there with the others! I couldn't put this boom down. It kept me enthralled and wanting to read more.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite Dan Brown book A lot of people like the Da Vinci Code the best, but I think this is my fave. He's an amazing author - he weaves fiction and non-fiction together to come up with the most unique stories.
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great read a little confusing but good read
Date published: 2018-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! What a page-turner!! Couldn't put it down
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Dan Brown is an exceptional story teller and the famous Robert Langdon delivers once again. If you enjoyed DaVinci Code, you'll love this one.
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Convoluted This book lacked everything Dan Brown is known for and loved for. The plot was messy, the mystery was confusing at best and the writing just wasn't as engaging as his previous work. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great.
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A lot of work When one picks up a Dan Brown book there are certain expectations. First one can look forward to a fast-based adventure pitting the intellect of Robert Langdon against dark forces intent on creating mayhem of one sort or another. One expects that religion or religious institutions will play a central role in the story. One can expect that there will be puzzles to be solved and mysteries within mysteries. One can expect murderous sociopaths and police of questionable loyalty. One can expect that there will be a considerable quantity of payload in the form of interesting, arcane information. One can expect that once begun it will be a difficult book to put down. And Brown delivers on all of the above. If you are looking for great literature, look elsewhere. That is not Brown’s beat. Be prepared for some eye-rolling, as hyper-intelligent people make glaringly stupid decisions, all in the service of moving the plot along. And there are some notions at the end of the book that may be a bit much to swallow. But it is all in fun. It is what it is. Enjoy.
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great crime/mystery book a page turner, keeps you guessing, fast and easy read
Date published: 2017-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love this book! love the story and the suspense. one of the author I like.
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Book Good read and very interesting.
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Makes you think The book really makes you think, with lots of flair skirting what could be truthful!
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lost Symbol Another great beach book by Dan Brown. This is in the same genre as DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. Offering a travel log that is intriguing and page turning. But without any serious meaningful ideas.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Can't wait for the next one.
Date published: 2017-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read. Not as good as DaVinci Code and Brown's other books but it is still fun to read. Always great fun trying to solve the mysteries as you read along. :)
Date published: 2017-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love Dan Brown I'm a big fan of Dan Brown books! This has been my least favourite of all of his books (though, still very enjoyable). If you're new to Dan Brown start somewhere else and make your way to this one later :)
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but not the best Not my favourite from Dan Brown but it was still a great read
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but not the best Not my favourite from Dan Brown but it was still a great read
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I enjoyed this book. Dan Brown is excellent at introducing history and weaving it into his stories without feeling forced.
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3/5 Didn't live up to the hype. Could have been better
Date published: 2017-11-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Great Read by Dan Brown I really enjoyed this book - again, exactly what you would expect from a Dan Brown book featuring Robert Langdon - suspense and a thought-provoking premise. Definitely worth a read.
Date published: 2017-11-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read I greatly appreciate how creatively Brown intertwines and manipulates pieces of history to create an exciting story.
Date published: 2017-11-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Getting old If you've read the Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and other Dan Brown books, well you've basically read the Lost Symbol. Although Dan Brown still knows how to captivate our interest in every book, it's the same formula for every book. I haven't read one of his books for over 8 years so I gave this one a try and it all just came rushing back.
Date published: 2017-10-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mediocre at best Didn't live up to the hype
Date published: 2017-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! I bought this novel last year, and have read it TWICE since. The second time was just as captivating as the first!
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favourite This is my favourite book out of the series by far, robert langdon does it again with a thrilling adventure with twists and an amazing plot line !
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! This book is just as amazing as Dan Brown's previous 2 books in the Robert Langdon series. A little sad that there was no movie for this book
Date published: 2017-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect. I think that might have been my favorite book of Dan Brown (so far). A complete page-turner that keeps you captivated chapter after chapter.
Date published: 2017-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Great read. Like any Dan Brown book, you just can't put it down. Twists at every corner
Date published: 2017-07-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book This was a good book, but I think my problem is that I comapre all of Dan Brown's books to the DaVinci Code and they always seem to fall short.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book. It was an amazing read I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting still well written but a different type of story than the other Robert Langdon books
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Change of Pace Book 3, in the Robert Langton series Set in Washington D.C. this thriller follows “Angels & Demons “and features the rugged, good-looking Harvard “symboligist” Robert Langdon and is based primary on Freemasonry for its theme and major characters. This story is more of the same formulaic blend of hi-speed chase and mystical rituals that has Robert on a frantic quest for a priestly lore hidden beneath the monuments of Washington DC. Robert is summoned to Washington by his mentor, Peter Solomon, to speak at a prestigious Smithsonian fundraiser but once there his friend is nowhere to be found. He soon finds out he was tricked and lured there for other reasons, moments later, in an adjacent room, screams are heard when the tattooed severed hand of Peter is found. Robert realizes the tattoos are an invitation to unlock mysteries of the ancients….and here we go with the style of writing admirers have come to expect, a very predictable ride followers have been on before. Every few pages the plot arrives at a precipice and then just leaves you hanging. When the action resumes and the tension is on upswing once again we are faced with a barrage of punctuation and italics. I really didn’t expect deep thoughts, reach writing, a well-constructed pool of characters or a realistic storyline, nevertheless I was entertained by this rather silly far-fetched mystery. I don’t know what Robert has up his sleeve for the next adventure but I will probably have it on my to be read list, a change of pace and a good laugh is always reinvigorating.
Date published: 2013-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible, once again You will end up loving Zachery Solomon. Find it in your heart to see the distress laid upon this poor child, and watch as his troubled mind unleashes a series of events to all those who have been involved [directly or indirectly] in his life. Brown displays his most profound love for science and philosophy in an elegant manner. Although the book feels as if it is in a slighter pace than the previous books, it is a quick energetic book to read. One of the main reasons as to why Brown is my favorite author revolves around his ability to express his knowledge on subjects that are not usually touched upon in a literary-thriller novel. His profound and unique passion for science is a sure way to catch people of all different interests to his novels and books. Allow this author to take you into his fascinating world that is his mind, and do not shy away from his ability to steer you towards topics that are deemed controversial. Always keep a clear a mind when reading this, and watch as the book creates thoughts in which you, the reader, possibility never cared [or shied] on wrapping your mind around.
Date published: 2011-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but..... At times simply ludicrous. I know if I had my hand chopped off, I wouldn't go wandering around, having lengthy conversations prior to going to the hospital. But, maybe that's just silly, ol' me! Sorry - don't want to spoil anything for anyone. By and large, it was a pretty good book.
Date published: 2011-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was good but not as good as his last two I did enjoy reading this book, but somehow it didn't have the pace or the complexity of the last two books. I found I got a little irritated near the end when Langdon was being walked through some of the puzzle and he came across a little too confused/lost for someone with his supposed reputation. And I found the end anti-climactic. Still, good read until then and it carried me through.
Date published: 2011-04-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Thriller with a puzzle........... Another excellent thriller from Dan Brown, although not quite as classy as The Da Vinci Code. The same character, Robert Langdon, leads us through yet another symbolic thriller with a religious undertone. Although I liked the story for the most part, I got a little tired of the religious tones especially towards the end. And no, I did not like the ending. I felt it could have ended maybe 50 to a 100 pages sooner. However, I still gave it a 4 star and would recommend it to Brown fans. Hollywood will probably hit on this one before too long.
Date published: 2011-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown The most surprising thing about The Lost Symbol for me was unrelated to the content of the book...its actually amazingly long at over 600 pages...but look more critically and you will see that the chapters are short, very short. I really dislike this format...making the chapters short to somehow make the book feel more fast-paced. Yes, the whole premise about the Masons and the inclusion of The Smithsonian was quite interesting but the ending dragged on a bit too much with this fluffy, rosy, bright hopefulness (I don't mind sappy but it seemed over the top for me). With all those pages you would think Robert Langdon would develop relationships with other characters but he doesn't...though I guess this is hard to do when a whole storyline falls within only a few hours. Still, its what I love about reading, the development of character's relationships...which was singularly lacking in The Lost Symbol. There were interesting ideas and themes in The Lost Symbol, so if you like action adventure novels I would recommend reading it.
Date published: 2011-02-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from If you liked The Davinci code... I enjoyed The Lost Symbol, although I must admit, I am getting tired of the formulaic nature of the hero Robert Langdons adventures...So the story is basically a code that Robert is asked to decipher, while trying to do so, he gets in danger, blah, blah, blah. What I did enjoy was the puzzles and learning about different things (Noetic science, Albrecht Durer, the Freemasons and more), So all in all, enjoyable.
Date published: 2011-02-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worth reading, but not that good. Not as good as Angels&Demons or Davinci. The first 4/5ths of the book starts interestingly-enough with the usual Dan Brown mystic tones, which is good. Problem soon appears in the form of the characters reacting as follows: character one asks something, character two reveals or explains something to character one, character one is dumbfounded/'sits bolt-upright'...unfortunately, this happens over and over and over, and after a while, you get the sense that the author didn't invest much into the characters in this book. Some of their reactions are also perplexing. The last 1/5th of the book is an utter disaster. if you do read this book, trust me-stop after the climax (when someone gets killed in The Temple-won't ruin it for you by telling you who dies). After that, it becomes mostly a lecture, bordering on brainwashing, with just a sprinkling of story-telling. Felt like reading a text book. Overall, I would still read this, but just skip the last part.
Date published: 2011-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another page-truner Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver a lecture in the US Capitol but instead of orating he discovers Soloman's severed hand with five symbols on it. Soloman who is a Mason has been kidnapped and Landgon is expected to solve these ancient symbols and lead the kidnapper to the holy grail of the Masons. The Lost Symbol is a page-turning thriller much like Brown's other reads. Masonic history is covered including how famous statesmen were heavily involved in Masonic rites to the point of embarrassment and potential security risks (?) The D.C. architecture described is indeed fascinating especially how convoluted the basements of the Capitol and other building are. They harbor a myriad of rooms and tunnels. Langdon and Soloman's sister Katherine must solve the riddles and symbols to save Peter Soloman's life while running away from the CIA. I enjoyed this thriller but found the ending a real let-down. It just didn't live up to the angst and anguish of solving all the mysteries. The twist was great but I also felt that Katherine's work could have been more fully explained instead of continually hinted at. So the end synopsis is this is a great thriller BUT
Date published: 2011-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Story, but an rather indulgent final 40 pages The book began a bit slow for me, got quite interesting in the middle, and ended slow again. I literally took about 2 sittings to read the final 40 pages. I really wished that Brown had left off the ending, as I found it really self-indulgent (in the words of Simon Cowell), and for my taste, very uninteresting. Self-indulgent because this is obviously Brown's passion and as his audience, we must hear his thoughts about spirituality. Basically this book is about the Freemasons with an interesting and quite suspenseful "race to the finish" kind of storyline. It is quite the typical Dan Brown story, where there is a lot of information available to the reader about symbols and philosophies of thought and spirituality. Of course Langdon is caught up in a situation where he must solve many puzzles so as to be able to save his friend from certain death. All very exciting and interesting. This of course, is the great story. Brown does not disappoint with this. But I am still scratching my head about the final 40 pages. I guess the reason for them, is to sort of bring everything to a final conclusion. However, I was bored to tears. I kept reading however, because I thought for sure there had to be some sort of interesting twist that would be the reward for reading on - sort of like driving in the see the road, you see the wide open field and it is just keeps on being the same thing.... I think that if you like Dan Brown, you will like this as well. After having read all three of his books now, I think my favourite is still Angels and Demons. That one is the most interesting of his books, in my opinion.
Date published: 2010-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun Read! Great follow-up to the Da Vinci Code as hero Robert Langdon pursues Masonic secrets in Washington DC. Book was fun, quick-paced and well researched. Dan Brown may attract criticism given his book sales but he can definitely spin a tale.
Date published: 2010-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Does not dissapoint! Great book! Dan Brown does not dissapoint! In his third book, Langdon spends a night in Washington, and learns some great secrets about the Masons. Dan Brown's style of writing moves you quickly through the story, while still giving you amazing amounts of information about everything connected to the nights events - Noetic science, Washington's fore-fathers, the Bible, etc. It is a #1 Bestseller for a REASON! :)
Date published: 2010-11-13

Read from the Book

PrologueHouse of the Temple8:33 P.M. The secret is how to die.Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear. As was tradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a "cable-tow" as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, he was dressed as a master.The assembly of brothers encircling him all were adorned in their full regalia of lambskin aprons, sashes, and white gloves. Around their necks hung ceremonial jewels that glistened like ghostly eyes in the muted light. Many of these men held powerful stations in life, and yet the initiate knew their worldly ranks meant nothing within these walls. Here all men were equals, sworn brothers sharing a mystical bond.As he surveyed the daunting assembly, the initiate wondered who on the outside would ever believe that this collection of men would assemble in one place . . . much less this place. The room looked like a holy sanctuary from the ancient world.The truth, however, was stranger still.I am just blocks away from the White House.This colossal edifice, located at 1733 Sixteenth Street NW in Washington, D.C., was a replica of a pre-Christian temple—the temple of King Mausolus, the original mausoleum . . . a place to be taken after death. Outside the main entrance, two seventeen-ton sphinxes guarded the bronze doors. The interior was an ornate labyrinth of ritualistic chambers, halls, sealed vaults, libraries, and even a hollow wall that held the remains of two human bodies. The initiate had been told every room in this building held a secret, and yet he knew no room held deeper secrets than the gigantic chamber in which he was currently kneeling with a skull cradled in his palms.The Temple Room.This room was a perfect square. And cavernous. The ceiling soared an astonishing one hundred feet overhead, supported by monolithic columns of green granite. A tiered gallery of dark Russian walnut seats with hand-tooled pigskin encircled the room. A thirty-three-foot-tall throne dominated the western wall, with a concealed pipe organ opposite it. The walls were a kaleidoscope of ancient symbols . . . Egyptian, Hebraic, astronomical, alchemical, and others yet unknown.Tonight, the Temple Room was lit by a series of precisely arranged candles. Their dim glow was aided only by a pale shaft of moonlight that filtered down through the expansive oculus in the ceiling and illuminated the room's most startling feature—an enormous altar hewn from a solid block of polished Belgian black marble, situated dead center of the square chamber.The secret is how to die, the initiate reminded himself."It is time," a voice whispered.The initiate let his gaze climb the distinguished white-robed figure standing before him. The Supreme Worshipful Master. The man, in his late fifties, was an American icon, well loved, robust, and incalculably wealthy. His once-dark hair was turning silver, and his famous visage reflected a lifetime of power and a vigorous intellect."Take the oath," the Worshipful Master said, his voice soft like falling snow. "Complete your journey."The initiate's journey, like all such journeys, had begun at the first degree. On that night, in a ritual similar to this one, the Worshipful Master had blindfolded him with a velvet hoodwink and pressed a ceremonial dagger to his bare chest, demanding: "Do you seriously declare on your honor, uninfluenced by mercenary or any other unworthy motive, that you freely and voluntarily offer yourself as a candidate for the mysteries and privileges of this brotherhood?""I do," the initiate had lied."Then let this be a sting to your consciousness," the master had warned him, "as well as instant death should you ever betray the secrets to be imparted to you."At the time, the initiate had felt no fear. They will never know my true purpose here.Tonight, however, he sensed a foreboding solemnity in the Temple Room, and his mind began replaying all the dire warnings he had been given on his journey, threats of terrible consequences if he ever shared the ancient secrets he was about to learn: Throat cut from ear to ear . . . tongue torn out by its roots . . . bowels taken out and burned . . . scattered to the four winds of heaven . . . heart plucked out and given to the beasts of the field—"Brother," the gray-eyed master said, placing his left hand on the initiate's shoulder. "Take the final oath."Steeling himself for the last step of his journey, the initiate shifted his muscular frame and turned his attention back to the skull cradled in his palms. The crimson wine looked almost black in the dim candlelight. The chamber had fallen deathly silent, and he could feel all of the witnesses watching him, waiting for him to take his final oath and join their elite ranks.Tonight, he thought, something is taking place within these walls that has never before occurred in the history of this brotherhood. Not once, in centuries.He knew it would be the spark . . . and it would give him unfathomable power. Energized, he drew a breath and spoke aloud the same words that countless men had spoken before him in countries all over the world."May this wine I now drink become a deadly poison to me . . . should I ever knowingly or willfully violate my oath."His words echoed in the hollow space.Then all was quiet.Steadying his hands, the initiate raised the skull to his mouth and felt his lips touch the dry bone. He closed his eyes and tipped the skull toward his mouth, drinking the wine in long, deep swallows. When the last drop was gone, he lowered the skull.For an instant, he thought he felt his lungs growing tight, and his heart began to pound wildly. My God, they know! Then, as quickly as it came, the feeling passed.A pleasant warmth began to stream through his body. The initiate exhaled, smiling inwardly as he gazed up at the unsuspecting gray-eyed man who had foolishly admitted him into this brotherhood's most secretive ranks.Soon you will lose everything you hold most dear.Chapter 1The Otis elevator climbing the south pillar of the Eiffel Tower was overflowing with tourists. Inside the cramped lift, an austere businessman in a pressed suit gazed down at the boy beside him. "You look pale, son. You should have stayed on the ground.""I'm okay . . ." the boy answered, struggling to control his anxiety. "I'll get out on the next level." I can't breathe.The man leaned closer. "I thought by now you would have gotten over this." He brushed the child's cheek affectionately.The boy felt ashamed to disappoint his father, but he could barely hear through the ringing in his ears. I can't breathe. I've got to get out of this box!The elevator operator was saying something reassuring about the lift's articulated pistons and puddled-iron construction. Far beneath them, the streets of Paris stretched out in all directions.Almost there, the boy told himself, craning his neck and looking up at the unloading platform. Just hold on.As the lift angled steeply toward the upper viewing deck, the shaft began to narrow, its massive struts contracting into a tight, vertical tunnel."Dad, I don't think—"Suddenly a staccato crack echoed overhead. The carriage jerked, swaying awkwardly to one side. Frayed cables began whipping around the carriage, thrashing like snakes. The boy reached out for his father."Dad!"Their eyes locked for one terrifying second.Then the bottom dropped out.Robert Langdon jolted upright in his soft leather seat, startling out of the semiconscious daydream. He was sitting all alone in the enormous cabin of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet as it bounced its way through turbulence. In the background, the dual Pratt & Whitney engines hummed evenly."Mr. Langdon?" The intercom crackled overhead. "We're on final approach."Langdon sat up straight and slid his lecture notes back into his leather daybag. He'd been halfway through reviewing Masonic symbology when his mind had drifted. The daydream about his late father, Langdon suspected, had been stirred by this morning's unexpected invitation from Langdon's longtime mentor, Peter Solomon.The other man I never want to disappoint.The fifty-eight-year-old philanthropist, historian, and scientist had taken Langdon under his wing nearly thirty years ago, in many ways filling the void left by Langdon's father's death. Despite the man's influential family dynasty and massive wealth, Langdon had found humility and warmth in Solomon's soft gray eyes.Outside the window the sun had set, but Langdon could still make out the slender silhouette of the world's largest obelisk, rising on the horizon like the spire of an ancient gnomon. The 555-foot marble-faced obelisk marked this nation's heart. All around the spire, the meticulous geometry of streets and monuments radiated outward.Even from the air, Washington, D.C., exuded an almost mystical power.Langdon loved this city, and as the jet touched down, he felt a rising excitement about what lay ahead. The jet taxied to a private terminal somewhere in the vast expanse of Dulles International Airport and came to a stop.Langdon gathered his things, thanked the pilots, and stepped out of the jet's luxurious interior onto the foldout staircase. The cold January air felt liberating.Breathe, Robert, he thought, appreciating the wide-open spaces.A blanket of white fog crept across the runway, and Langdon had the sensation he was stepping into a marsh as he descended onto the misty tarmac."Hello! Hello!" a singsong British voice shouted from across the tarmac. "Professor Langdon?"Langdon looked up to see a middle-aged woman with a badge and clipboard hurrying toward him, waving happily as he approached. Curly blond hair protruded from under a stylish knit wool hat."Welcome to Washington, sir!"Langdon smiled. "Thank you.""My name is Pam, from passenger services." The woman spoke with an exuberance that was almost unsettling. "If you'll come with me, sir, your car is waiting."Langdon followed her across the runway toward the Signature terminal, which was surrounded by glistening private jets. A taxi stand for the rich and famous."I hate to embarrass you, Professor," the woman said, sounding sheepish, "but you are the Robert Langdon who writes books about symbols and religion, aren't you?"Langdon hesitated and then nodded."I thought so!" she said, beaming. "My book group read your book about the sacred feminine and the church! What a delicious scandal that one caused! You do enjoy putting the fox in the henhouse!"Langdon smiled. "Scandal wasn't really my intention."The woman seemed to sense Langdon was not in the mood to discuss his work. "I'm sorry. Listen to me rattling on. I know you probably get tired of being recognized . . . but it's your own fault." She playfully motioned to his clothing. "Your uniform gave you away."My uniform? Langdon glanced down at his attire. He was wearing his usual charcoal turtleneck, Harris Tweed jacket, khakis, and collegiate cordovan loafers . . . his standard attire for the classroom, lecture circuit, author photos, and social events.The woman laughed. "Those turtlenecks you wear are so dated. You'd look much sharper in a tie!"No chance, Langdon thought. Little nooses.Neckties had been required six days a week when Langdon attended Phillips Exeter Academy, and despite the headmaster's romantic claims that the origin of the cravat went back to the silk fascalia worn by Roman orators to warm their vocal cords, Langdon knew that, etymologically, cravat actually derived from a ruthless band of "Croat" mercenaries who donned knotted neckerchiefs before they stormed into battle. To this day, this ancient battle garb was donned by modern office warriors hoping to intimidate their enemies in daily boardroom battles."Thanks for the advice," Langdon said with a chuckle. "I'll consider a tie in the future."Mercifully, a professional-looking man in a dark suit got out of a sleek Lincoln Town Car parked near the terminal and held up his finger. "Mr. Langdon? I'm Charles with Beltway Limousine." He opened the passenger door. "Good evening, sir. Welcome to Washington."Langdon tipped Pam for her hospitality and then climbed into the plush interior of the Town Car. The driver showed him the temperature controls, the bottled water, and the basket of hot muffins. Seconds later, Langdon was speeding away on a private access road. So this is how the other half lives.As the driver gunned the car up Windsock Drive, he consulted his passenger manifest and placed a quick call. "This is Beltway Limousine," the driver said with professional efficiency. "I was asked to confirm once my passenger had landed." He paused. "Yes, sir. Your guest, Mr. Langdon, has arrived, and I will deliver him to the Capitol Building by seven P.M. You're welcome, sir." He hung up.Langdon had to smile. No stone left unturned. Peter Solomon's attention to detail was one of his most potent assets, allowing him to manage his substantial power with apparent ease. A few billion dollars in the bank doesn't hurt either.Langdon settled into the plush leather seat and closed his eyes as the noise of the airport faded behind him. The U.S. Capitol was a half hour away, and he appreciated the time alone to gather his thoughts. Everything had happened so quickly today that Langdon only now had begun to think in earnest about the incredible evening that lay ahead.Arriving under a veil of secrecy, Langdon thought, amused by the prospect.Ten miles from the Capitol Building, a lone figure was eagerly preparing for Robert Langdon's arrival.

Bookclub Guide

#1 Worldwide BestsellerFamed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon answers an unexpected summons to appear at the U.S. Capitol Building. His plans are interrupted when a disturbing object—artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the building. Langdon recognizes in the find an ancient invitation into a lost world of esoteric, potentially dangerous wisdom. When his mentor Peter Solomon—a long-standing Mason and beloved philanthropist—is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that the only way to save Solomon is to accept the mystical invitation and plunge headlong into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and one inconceivable truth . . . all under the watchful eye of Dan Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn—one of Brown's most riveting novels.1. How familiar were you with Freemasonry before reading the novel? How did your impressions of the organization shift throughout the book, from the chilling prologue to Peter Solomon's philosophical comments near the end?2. How do Peter Solomon's students (including Robert) reconcile their admiration for him with the knowledge that he is a Mason? Did it surprise you to learn about well-known American historical figures who were Masons and to read about scientists who were intrigued by mysticism and other occult belief systems?3. Discuss the novel's grand theme of architecture. How did The Lost Symbol change the way you think about the way buildings are designed and the intention of their architects—their creators? What most surprised you about the tributes to the past—and visions of the future—that are captured in the landmarks of Washington, D.C.?4. Mal'akh considers the polarity of angels and demons, noting that "the guardian angel who conquered your enemy in battle was perceived by your enemy as a demon destroyer." What does this indicate about Mal'akh's perception of himself in the world? How can his evil nature be explained? Why is he able to consider only his own suffering, while relishing the suffering of others?5. How did you react to Katherine Solomon's work in Noetic Science? What motivates her to investigate the tangible aspects of the human soul (attempting to weigh it, even)? How would it change the world if there were more tangible evidence of the spiritual world? How is Katherine Solomon's perception of science different from Robert Langdon's?6. At the heart of the novel is a quest to unlock wisdom despite the need to keep it "locked" since it can be used for destructive purposes. Do you believe that freedom of knowledge (Wikipedia, the World Wide Web) is a blessing or a curse?7. The novel's epigraph, from Manly Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages, encourages readers to become aware of the meaning of the world. What mysteries about the world, and life, do you think are the most important ones to explore?8. How does Mal'akh amass enough power to turn his personal plot into a national security threat? What does his rise to power indicate about the potential of mind over body and a human being's ability to play a variety of roles for unsuspecting audiences?9. The final chapter raises intriguing questions about the possibility of a multifaceted God and the potential to find God in all of humanity. Can there be a universal definition of enlightenment?10. While interpreting the Masonic Pyramid's final inscription, Robert Langdon tries to bring order out of chaos by interpreting each symbol as a metaphor. Peter Solomon instructs him to be literal and accept the inscription as a true map. What does this exchange say about the best way to interpret all sacred messages?11. In the epilogue what truths do Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon experience, at sunris atop America's ultimate symbol? From your perspective, what does the Capitol symbolize?12. What does The Lost Symbol indicate about the power of the word—whether ancient texts or bestselling twenty-first-century novels?13. What common thread runs through this and each of Dan Brown's previous works? What makes The Lost Symbol unique? How has Robert Langdon's perspective changed from Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code?(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit

Editorial Reviews

“Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead . . . His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica . . . amazing imagery . . . and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down.  Splendid. . . . Another mind-blowing Robert Langdon story.” —New York Times“Thrilling in the extreme, a definite page-flipper.” —Daily News (New York)“Call it Brownian motion: a comet-tail ride of beautifully spaced reveals and a socko unveiling of the killer’s true identity.” —Washington Post“The wait is over.  The Lost Symbol is here—and you don’t have to be a Freemason to enjoy it . . . .Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a roller coaster.” —Los Angeles Times“Robert Langdon remains a terrific hero, a bookish intellectual who’s cool in a crisis and quick on his feet . . . .The codes are intriguing, the settings present often-seen locales in a fresh light, and Brown keeps the pages turning.” —Entertainment Weekly “A fascinating pleasure. . . . Upends our usual assumptions about the world we think we know.” —Newsweek “A roaring ride. . . . A caper filled with puzzles, grids, symbols, pyramids and a secret that can bestow ‘unfathomable power.’” —San Francisco Chronicle “Dan Brown is a master of the breathless, puzzle-driven thriller.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch