SYDNEY Author Dan Brown is moving to Washington D.C. for the follow-up to his successful conspiracy theory novel "The Da Vinci Code," publisher Random House said on Wednesday.
Brown's latest novel, "The Lost Symbol," will be released on September 15 and again features the fictional, mystery-solving Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, with the story taking place over a 12-hour period.
The location and plot of the book have been kept under wraps until the publisher released two jackets for the book on Wednesday at the start of a promotion campaign that includes online puzzles and codes.
The U.S. cover features a picture of the Capitol with a red wax seal against a background of symbols, while the cover for Britain and Australia has the Capitol and a key with a square and a compass.
Brown's U.S. editor Jason Kaufman from Knopf Doubleday, an imprint of Random House, said in a widely reported statement that the book is "largely" set in Washington but "it's a Washington few will recognize."
"As we would expect, he pulls back the veil -- revealing an
unseen world of mysticism, secret societies, and hidden locations, with a stunning twist that long predates America," said Kaufman.
The release of the covers will give Brown's fans plenty of fodder for speculation in the lead-up to the book's release, with Brown decoders already noting the similarities to emblems of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry which has a headquarters in Washington.
"The Lost Symbol" will have a global English language first print run of 6.5 million copies -- the largest first print run ever by Random House, a unit of German media group Bertelsmann AG.
"The Da Vinci Code" has more than 81 million copies in print since its 2003 release and topped best-seller lists worldwide, outraging the Vatican and some Catholics because of the fictional story lines about conspiracy and the Catholic Church.
Since publication of "The Da Vinci Code," Brown's earlier novels "Angels and Demons," "Deception Point," and "Digital Fortress" have also become international bestsellers.
Tom Hanks played Langdon in the 2006 film adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code," and also in this year's movie release of "Angels and Demons" which did not create the same furor in the Vatican or the same demand at the box office.
(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy)