Friday, February 16, 2007

The Dan Brown Key

Wanna write like Dan Brown? Here's the key:
Take a sacred treasure. Add a secret conspiracy. Attach a name well known to scholars — Dante, Poe, Wordsworth, Archimedes, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, the Romanovs, Vlad the Impaler, “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,” whatever — and work it into a story that can accommodate both the Glock and the Holy Grail. If there’s any room left for the Knights Templar or DNA samples from Biblical figures, by all means plug them in. ... The much-borrowed Brown formula involves some very specific things. The name of a great artist, artifact or historical figure must be in the book’s story, not to mention on its cover. The narrative must start in the present day with a bizarre killing, then use that killing as a reason to investigate the past. And the past must yield a secret so big, so stunning, so saber-rattling that all of civilization may be changed by it. Probably not for the better.
If Dan Brown floats your boat, you might like to check New York Times' Janet Maslin's list of novels which combine in good measure some of the elements in the list above. Some of the titles she mentions:

Julia Navarro Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud
Steve Berry The Alexandria Link
D.L Wilson Unholy Grail
William Dietrich Napoleon's Pyramid
David Stone The Echelon Vendetta
Palmer Michael The Fifth Vial
Giulio Leoni The Mosaic Crimes

... and of course, the much awaited (though not by me!) new one from Mr. Brown The Solomon Key. Date of publication not yet announced, although other writers are capitalising on Brown's success by writing the book about the book even before the book itself has hit the market!!


Greenbottle said...

umberto eco did more or less the same trick with his famous 'name of the rose' but he's in a different league compared to dan fucking brown...

bibliobibuli said...

forgot about eco ... and yes,you're right

Miao said...

Yes there may be a formula to it, but it takes talent, intelligence and flair to pull it off with aplomb.

Miao said...

And yes, I do agree that Umberto Eco is marvellous. His non-fiction works like How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays and Kant and the Platypus are very delightful as well.

bibliobibuli said...

but did even brown "pull it off with aplomb"?