The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
The Lost Symbol is a 2009 novel written by American writer Dan Brown.It is a thriller set in Washington, D.C., after the events of The Da Vinci Code, and relies on Freemasonry for both its recurring theme and its major characters.
Released on September 15, 2009, it is the third Brown novel to involve the character of Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon, following 2000's Angels & Demons and 2003's The Da Vinci Code.It had a first printing of 6.5 million (5 million in North America, 1.5 million in the UK), the largest in Doubleday history. On its first day the book sold one million in hardcover and e-book versions in the U.S., the UK and Canada, making it the fastest selling adult novel in history. It was number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction for the first six weeks of its release, and remained on the list for 29 weeks. As of January 2013, there are 30 million copies in print worldwide.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to give a lecture at the United States Capitol, with the invitation apparently from his mentor, a 33rd degree Mason named Peter Solomon, who is the head of the Smithsonian Institution. Solomon has also asked him to bring a small, sealed package which he had entrusted to Langdon years earlier. When Langdon arrives at the Capitol, however, he learns that the invitation he received was not from Solomon, but from Solomon's kidnapper, Mal'akh, who has left Solomon's severed right hand in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda in a recreation of the Hand of Mysteries. Mal'akh then contacts Langdon, charging him with finding both the Mason's Pyramid, which Masons believe is hidden somewhere underground in Washington D.C., and the Lost Word, lest Solomon be executed.
Peter tells Langdon that the Masons believe that the Bible is an esoteric allegory written by humanity, and that, like most religious texts around the globe, it contains veiled instructions for harnessing humanity's natural God-like qualities—similar to Katherine's Noetic research—and is not meant to be interpreted as the commands of an all-powerful deity. This interpretation has been lost amid centuries of scientific skepticism and fundamentalist zealotry. The Masons have (metaphorically) buried it, believing that, when the time is right, its rediscovery will usher in a new era of human enlightenment.
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