Friday, September 11, 2009

Exclusive! Dan Brown's Novel, Reviewed in Norway!

You heard it here first.

Okay, so Amazon has its copies of The Lost Symbol behind double-locked fences in a warehouse. Okay, so, allegedly, Doubleday's teams of translators are placed in windowless rooms without Internet access. There's one thing they forgot about:

The book reviewers.

May Grethe Lerum has published a review of The Lost Symbol in VG, Norway's largest newspaper. You can read it in the original Norwegian here. The Google translation into English -- available here -- is not perfect, but it is at least largely intelligible, and good for endless fun; I love the way that it translates the review as saying that The Lost Symbol is "a luminous bastard of a suspense story." (I hope someone says that about one of my novels some day.)

Lerum's review is respectful, in that it does not give away major plot points. We do, however, learn the following:
  • The novel revolves around Robert Landon's attempt to save his beloved mentor, Peter Solomon. (So that's where "The Solomon Key" comes in.)

  • As in The Da Vinci Code, there is an important truth that mankind must learn, and a sicko pain-loving enemy, "with a hidden past and ... many faces" who must be dealt with.

  • Freemasonry is prominently featured in the novel, and it looks as if the Masons are the good guys.

  • In the Dan Brown universe, Freemasonry includes such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Albrecht Durer.

  • Famous physicists from history make appearances, including Isaac Newton, Erwin Schrodinger, and Neils Bohr.

  • The reviewer hints at a religious outlook in the novel to the effect that no religion has a monopoly on the truth.

So, there's enough here to really whet one's appetite for the book, and yet not so much that it will spoil the experience of reading it.

Many thanks to the informant who notified me about this review.


  1. I just read the review and did not find any mention of "such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Albrecht Durer", "Isaac Newton, Erwin Schrodinger, and Neil Bohr". I followed your link, so where did you get that extra info?

  2. Great to hear that *our* book is going to be close on target too, phew - but also quite different ;)

  3. Whoops, now I see it (the scientists), my browser must have pasted an ad over that sentence at first.

  4. I am May Grethe Lerum, and I follow your blog with great interest.
    Norway is a small country, but my review seems to spread all over the world tonight. The google-translation is not trusted by me, hihi...but OK. Postinmgs in this blog seems rather OK.
    Of course, beside being an author/reviewer myself, I´m also a news-hunting journalist.

    And tomorrov at - you will be able to read my very own meta-merta-conspiration-theory about Dan Brown and former critics like David A. Shugart, Hank Hanegraaff og Paul L. Maier.

    I just wonder why The Washington Post, USA Today and others have not called? *lol*

  5. Detective:
    My text, as printed today:

    Kjente frimurere som Albert Einstein og Albrecht Dürer skrives inn, sammen med Isaac Newton, Schrødinger, Bohr og andre som har operert i grenselandet filosofi/fysikk.

    Slik bygges gode konspirasjonsteorier av Dan Browns merke. I denne boken synes også den underliggende moralen, konklusjonen vår helt Langdon gjør seg til slutt, som en ren, skjær hyllest til frimureriets åndelige essens: Det finnes en mektig Konstruktør, en hellig arkitekt, som hverken Jesus, Buddha, profeten Muhammed eller noen annen religionsstifter har enerett på. Og til alle som fnøs av millionselgerboken «The Secret»: Dan Brown vil bevise at den har rett. Tanke styrer materie.

    Selv bør han kanskje tenke på mulige nye rettssaker: Forfattere som David A. Shugart, Hank Hanegraaff og Paul L. Maier har skrevet om dette før. Men en mulig meta-meta-konspirasjon ligger nå i dagen her: De har samarbeidet med Brown, under dekke av å være hans kritikere.

  6. Ups. Same error as in my original review: ShugartS!


  7. The review is so empty, so vague, that one suspects the reviewer has done nothing more than looked at the cover and followed a few Twitter clues. This is not a true review at all; indeed it is doubtful if the reviewer has seen a copy of the book. Be that as it may, this review cannot be trusted as an indicator of the contents of The Lost Symbol.

  8. Bad News, bad news: My paper even printed illustrations from the book today. I wrote my review very much in consideration, not to spoil the pleasure for a huge lot of fans.

    But if you need any proof, just test me: Name the number og a page and a line, and I will publish it here :)

  9. It would be more helpful if you actually said something about the plot of the book. And how does New York fit into it? And the train ride from Penn Station in Manhattan to Union Station in Washington DC? Tell us how that fits in, and where.

  10. As i said, I will not contribute to spoilers.

    (Robert do travel, but in a much more elevated way :)

    If you dont believe me, you can call Peter Salomon on 202-329-5746.

  11. If Robert Langdon travels in 'a more elevated way', then how does Penn Station in New York come into it? You would not be spoiling anything by saying so.

  12. Bad news: you are obviously misinformed.

  13. Are you saying that Penn Station does not figure in The Lost Symbol? A straight answer, please.

  14. But to make things clear, and also insisting on my decision NOT to spoil for eager fans:

    I have had the book for some time, some days&nights now. I have had the time (as you also can see from the fact/research parts of the VG-articles) to place this story in contexst.

    Hedre´s the last sentences from chapter 98, page 365:
    "Your science impressed me," the man whispered as they reached the bottom of the ramp. "I hope mine impresses you."

  15. You are not answering the question.

  16. Oh, I guess this book will piss off all newyorkers - used to be in the (international) center of attention...

    Lots of grim faces at Penn station this tuesday, I suppose :)

  17. As you said at the beginning, 'I follow your blog with great interest'. I put it to you that your research for your review amounts to reading posts on this blog and then cobbling them together in the vaguest possible way.

  18. Of course I have been following many blogs on this subject lately, because I have had the book for some time and preparing to write my review.

    Again, you can test me by asking for exact pagenumber/sentence. But I will not post anything that reveals or spoils - more than I had to do in my review.

  19. If you do not know about Penn Station, and Amtrak's Palmetto service to Washington DC, then it is difficult to believe that you have read the book.

  20. Bad News: aha - so you say you have read it???

  21. The truth will out tomorrow. I rest my case.

  22. OK, I´ll give you a train/realted info:
    "On board, Robert Langdon and () sat breathless, neigter one saying a word as the train whisked them toward their destination." Page 282

    (Not Penn station, hehe)

  23. First Matt Lauer. Then May Grethe Lerum. Now Bad News.

    Has everybody seen this book except me?

  24. Bad News: You mentioned that "the truth will out tomorrow," by which I would guess you mean Saturday, September 12 -- still three days before the official publication date of The Lost Symbol. To the best of my knowledge, you do not publish a blog I could follow, nor is your identity public. If I make a request, when whatever truth comes out tomorrow actually emerges -- would you be so kind as to let us know in a comment on this post? Thanks.

  25. Mark: Watch the Today Show tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The clue:

    Location 4:
    40.750305, -73.993156
    89 Palmetto
    Count the Hills of Rome

    It refers to Penn Station in New York, and to Amtrak's Palmetto service to Washington DC's Union Station. As the point of these clues is to identify locations that will figure in The Lost Symbol, I take it that major events will take place at Penn Station or at Union Station. May Grethe Lerum rules out Penn Station and she rules out New York. She refuses to name any other station, and at first she ruled out train travel, saying Robert Langdon traveled at a higher elevation, ie he flew. Later she contradicted this by quoting a single vague line about a train journey, but no mention of points of departure or arrival. Maybe Langdon himself does not travel between New York and Washington, but it does seem that those two cities are referenced in the clue, and it would have spoiled nothing if MGL had mentioned Penn or Union stations. But she has not. No, I have not seen the clip to be broadcast in the morning; I know only the written clue. The broadcast should make things clearer. So let's see what we make of clue 4 tomorrow, and how that squares with MGL's claim to have read the book.

  26. Respectfully of others here, I would say that the train station in question is Union Station, Washington.

    This is based on the great work of four stellar sleuths on Twitter: @bgates87, @UDbmas, @avalonssari and the redoubtable @deetective. They have been solving clues all summer long in an awesome show of intellect and perspicacity, along with a huge dose of cooperation and respect for each other.

    I have written MGL directly, seeking to understand what makes her mention me at all. I would like to think it's because I really nailed TLS in my book, "Secrets of the Widow's Son," but I don't want to jump to that conclusion based on a poor translation of a Norwegian article. And it's a mystery to me why I would be included in a list with Paul Maier and Hank Hanegraff. I had never heard of them until the "Lapu Marie" plot leak story emerged this past week.

    For the record (as though it's necessary), I have never met Dan Brown and certainly have never conspired with him. I made my speculations in "Secrets of the Widow's Son" after a lot of research about him and his books and themes. So if I guessed correctly, it would be because of a certain logic and intuition produced by research.

    And it is always a possibility that Dan Brown was informed by my book and actually used my research to help get over the obstacle of finishing his own book. If you will remember, it was supposedly going to be finished in mid-2005, then the date kept slipping and eventually even the title had changed.

    But it won't be long now, and then we can all see what's really in TLS. On the simple premise that a hunch is useless after the fact, I have been posting a few last-minute hunches at These could be totally wrong or uncannily right--that's the fun of it.

  27. Washington's Union Station seems likely to me. It is a magnificent structure. A giant statue of Christopher Columbus stands out front.

  28. So, now you belive me Bad News? :)
    NY is not central in this conspiracy. Exept....the first actual review of TLS was posted in Norway, 9/11 *lol*

    David AS: In my review I mention your book, along with other books that actually are essential in Dan Browns fiction. No-one is formally credited in TLS, so I suspect you 1) have a deal with Dan Brown 2) better call your lawyers :)

    In my opinion, your boook is to TLS what Holy Blood, Holy grail was to DVC. (Exept the George Washinton-spy-theories.)
    Surely, your book Secrets of the widows son will hit the market now - globally. Congratulations.

  29. So, maybe I shall wait for you to call me - or The Washington Post :)

    Admits - this is fun. Seems like I am the only person who have read the boook and is able to talk about it right now...even if i keep it a bit vague - not to spoil.

    Actually, I could scan it all and put it online right now. But why should I? Destroying other peoples joy of reading should be - incriminated :)

    Now, its important to me to prove I actually have had the book for some days. Thats why I posted sentences and pagenumbers. By wednesday the whole world will be able to confirm.

    On request, I will publish more sentences with pagenumbers, just to make you all assured that I actually have the book.

  30. Or why not the opening:

    "The secret is how to die"

    (That should feed all of you hunting for clues, speculating for so many years :)

  31. Hi May,
    1) "The secret is how to die" was revealed at some time ago, so that wont impress.
    2) Is your meta-meta-conspiracy theory about Viral PR and Publishing Corps?
    3) Why do you ask us to call the supposed (Peter Solomon) character's phone number in D.C.?


  32. 1) I didnt know that Brown had confirmed his opening sentence.
    2) No. My therori is about the brotherhood of Dan Brown and other authors, formally known as his critics. They might have cooperated for several years. Or not...
    3) In the book, this telephone number belongs to Peter Solomon, a very important character.

  33. For the record: if any of you are still inn doubht -

    I have read the novel. Several days ago.

    Maybe your right, the opening sentence is known? But the very last word is not known to the public yet.

    The word is


    For more evidence, you non-belivers are welcome to visit mny personal blog

    I just published a photo of myself holding the book - essentially because a lot of people doubt my rewiev posted in VG, (largest newspaper in Norway)

    So then - just the photo of the real cover will probably disturb some of the most eager "clue-prophets" :) But the same photo was printed in VG yesterday, along with scanned illustration from the book.

    Summary: I read the book.
    I published myself a numer of novels in the 90´s , using all the same concept as Dan Brown. My absolute sucess was the historical serie of novels called "Daughters of Life/ Filia(e) Vitae". These books are translated into numerous lamnguages, - but not english...

    I here describe the female parallell to masoniary.

  34. Thanks May for your straightforward answers.

    Have you called that D.C. phone number?

    Yesterday, you seemed to promise a follow-up article at for today about your meta-meta-conspiracy theory. I cant find any article so far. Have I missed something (I searched for "Lerum Brown" and just got all your past articles on Dan's books incl. yesterday's)?

  35. May, can you give a URL link to the scanned illustration that was published at yesterday?

    You seem to say The Lost Symbol will not feature Washington-as-traitor. Am I right?

    Have you followed the Bob Cooper affair
    or the Lapu Marie affair?
    Those recent affairs help explain the scepticism here in the U.S. about the review.

  36. MGL: I asked about trains and stations, not only Penn Station and New York. I mentioned Washington and Union Station, but you were silent on that -- until you were informed that it was part of a published clue. Likewise you have given us the first line of the novel, offering that as proof that you have read the book, but the first line was publicly available days ago. Now you present a photograph of yourself holding what you purport to be a copy of The Lost Symbol. Anyone can make a copy of the cover and wrap it around any book. And why has Solomon's phone number been removed from this blog? You keep repeating that your review is the first. It seems that is the one thing you want the world to know. That you have read the book and are the first to review it. But you have not reviewed the book. You have presented a vague waffle that anyone following this blog could have put together themselves. How about a scan of the entire second and third pages of the book?

  37. MGL:
    Ah, Saloman, not Solomon. I have now phoned the number. A youngish male voice answers saying "Peter Salomon". Nothing else. The number accepts voice messages only. Like being told that the last word in the book is "Hope", this tells us nothing.

    The trouble is that nothing of what you call proofs can be checked until Tuesday. Meanwhile you get your days of publicity, though I must say that it is very slight publicity. You keep wondering why The Washington Post has not phoned you, etc. Why should they phone you? You have nothing to say.

  38. It is interesting that May Grethe Lerum makes a connection between Dan Brown, Paul Maier, Robert Cooper, and David Shugarts. I am beginning to wonder if May Grethe Lerum is really Lapu Marie.

  39. The printed issue of VG showed yesterday illustrations from the book. Today, I have seen the same pic offered by many bloggers.

    The telephone number i published in this blog, is probably a fictionary one - from the novel. In the novel it belongs to (fictionary person) Peter Solomon, as described before.

    I can understand that some of you show scepticism to my postings. I would like to prove my sincerety, but I will not post anything that spoils the experience of a thill-seeking reader.

    (In Norwegian Solomon is Salomon, as from the old testaments great king - and his Temple (of Wisdom) . Sorry for misspelling that word)

  40. Today my newspaper VG publishes an interview with Dan Brown. Of course, the article I mentioned yesterday then is put on hold.

    VG, the paper, and VG online is of course working togehther. But VG online will not publish big news from the paper edition until maybe 24 hours after.

    It is possible for you to go to, and pay to see the original paper-printed edition on this case from yesterday. There you will find the symbol I myself scanned to days ago.

    Publishing the same here would probably not raise my credits right now, since many of you doubt I ever had the book.

  41. May, can you give a URL link to one of those bloggers you saw displaying the scanned page of illustrations?

    Why would the D.C. phone number you gave, answer with a recorded message saying "Salomon" instead of the correct English "Solomon" which yesterday's article also gave as Solomon?

    Can you see why we might need confirmation that you are indeed the author of that article?

  42. I phoned again. In fact it's PETER SOLOMON. The first time I 'heard' Salomon because I was primed to do so by MGL.

  43. Hey, how much paranoia is possibly shuffeled into one blog?

    I have read this book, days ago.
    I have published sentences, and scannings.

    Until tuesday, its impossible for me to argue anymore on any theme that would be at spoiler.

    I can provide sentences & scans. But the big riddle, the themes of the book (beside masonary) will not be exposed by me.

  44. How can you doubt that I am the person who wrote the review in VG, after all I have have published?

    If you search, you will see I have worked there for several years. You can even call to confirm, like many media did this afternoon/evening. +47 22000000

  45. Hi May, I was just worried that someone had stolen your identity, when your promised conspiracy article didnt appear, and then again when BadNews misheard Salomon on the phone instead of Solomon (which he has now admitted was really what was said).

    Now I have no reason to worry about that.

    My only concern now, is what you meant when you said "Except the George Washington-spy-theories" to Dave Shugarts, as part of your sentence "In my opinion, your boook is to TLS what Holy Blood, Holy grail was to DVC. (Except the George Washington-spy-theories.)"

    Am I right to assume you meant that The Lost Symbol does not have George Washington spy/traitor-theories?

    Bloggers here have become irritated at baseless rumours (pushed by Bob Cooper and Lapu Marie) that Dan Brown will portray George Washington as a traitor.

  46. Deetective: I read it as the opposite. That the spy-theories part comes from Maier (originally from Bache).

  47. Regarding the Washington-Arnold story, 15th September was a significant date.

  48. I have also read this book, not its paper edition, but through extra sensory channels, as I am a clairvoyant ... which May Grethe Lerum can confirm, as I know everything she is up to ... and I can only say that this book is a true piece of crap and Dan Brown has fooled the world again...


  49. ``How can you doubt that I am the person who wrote the review in VG, after all I have have published?

    If you search, you will see I have worked there for several years. You can even call to confirm, like many media did this afternoon/evening. +47 22000000``

    Hi May Grethe...I actually called VG, and they said they had not even heard of you!

    Which btw. is not so strange, because this newspaper is not very well informed of anything at all,are they ... thats why they are producing most of their ``news`` themselves, with the help of you, I assume...?

  50. ``Bloggers here have become irritated at baseless rumours (pushed by Bob Cooper and Lapu Marie) that Dan Brown will portray George Washington as a traitor.``

    well of course he was a humanity...he was also the leader of a genocide as he continued the effort to eradicate the native Americans...

    You are all living on stolen land in America, but I dont think this horrible injustice and crime will last for the future the land will be given back to the Indians and all you thieves will be chased back to Europe or the other continents where your ancestors came from...

  51. Now THIS is a book review.

  52. Does anyone know who the two skeletons belong to that are mentioned in the prologue?

  53. An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

    Karim - Mind Power

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