The Dan Brown Effect

The Washington Post:

Washington is about to be Dan Browned.

The inciting incident is the release of “The Lost Symbol,” the third installment of Brown’s mondo-selling adventure zeitgeist, sequel to “Angels & Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code.”

In “The Lost Symbol,” Langdon is back again, this time racing through Washington. What exactly he’ll be doing here is unclear. In the five-plus years Brown has been researching and writing this novel, nary an important plot point has leaked.

“I’m expecting [tourism] to skyrocket,” says Heather Calloway, director of special programs for the Masonic House of the Temple on 16th Street NW, which receives about 10,000 visitors a year. She will double the staff of part-time tour guides, if necessary, to handle the crush.

“We might have to spend the next 25 years responding to Dan Brown’s fiction,” says Mark Tabbert, director of collections at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria. “That’s what I dread.”

Then there’s the “Lost Symbol” companion industry: the piles of documentaries, Web sites and books created to analyze the meaning of a novel that has not yet come out.

Already, Old Town Trolley Tours is considering a Secret Symbols tour of Washington. Already, the Masonic Service Association in Silver Spring is readying a special truth-squad Web site to fact-check “The Lost Symbol.”

Do you have an idea for a Lost Symbol product or service?  It could pay off.

Photo by Doubleday.

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