On July 7, Dan Brown fans made like Robert Langdon and began decoding the cover art for Brown's The Lost Symbol (Sept. 15). We gathered their theories and asked Chris Hodapp, author of Solomon's Builders, for his.
Red Seal: Fans point out its similarity to the seal of the Scottish Rite, a branch of Freemasonry based in part in Washington, D.C. The number 33 — contained inside the triangle — alludes to a high ranking in that branch, says Hodapp.
Background Glyphs: Some speculate that these symbols simply serve as wallpaper, but Hodapp thinks they may have been drawn from alchemy or the zodiac.
The Capitol: Brown's third Langdon novel follows the professor on a 12-hour adventure in D.C. ''I suspect there are places in the city's architecture that have signs of the zodiac built in,'' Hodapp says. ''That would be a good starting place for the plot points.'' And for rabid fans who can't wait for Sept. 15.
Someday, I'll get accurately quoted. (They called me on my cell phone while I was paying for a piece of furniture.) What I said was that I hadn't seen the cover art close up at that point, but I predicted Brown will situate a series of murders (probably politicians) at the architectural zodiacs that appear around Washington DC that David Ovason talked about for hundreds of pages in his book, The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capitol, claiming Freemasons had designed them into the city plan, until he said at the end the Masons really had nothing to do with them. And that Brown would probably attempt to make 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masons into the bald-headed, cat-stroking evil geniuses behind some nefarious plot.
And I have never said 33rd degree Scottish Rite Masons were "high ranking" except in jest. I told the young lady that many people have this common misconception. She went right on to misconceive it.
As for Brown, we'll all know on September 15th.