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The cover for the bestselling novel THE LOST SYMBOL

THE LOST SYMBOL, published in 2009, is a mystery, thriller & suspense novel by Dan Brown.

THE LOST SYMBOL spent 10 weeks at #1 on the NYT Bestseller List. Between 2009 and 2018, Dan Brown spent a total of 22 weeks at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list.

Langdon rolled his eyes, wishing somebody would ban that word. “Okay, and how many of you have ever been to Washington?”


As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object–artfully encoded with five symbols–is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation… one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon–a prominent Mason and philanthropist–is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations–all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.


The Lost Symbol is used as an example in the following posts. Check them out!

Comparison of Point of ViewA comparison of point of view in literature (first, third limited, and omniscient) including modern fiction examples. Which is right for your novel?
Third Person Limited Point of ViewShe, himself and them are examples of third person limited. Learn 4 times you should use 3rd limited for your book.
Essential CharactersThese are the 6 must-have characters for any novel: protagonist, antagonist, sidekick, skeptic, mentor, and love interest. Learn why with modern examples.
Dialogue TagsLearn why “___ said” is the best dialogue tag you can use (plus breakdowns of modern fiction).


This book is really going to be LOVE or not. I don’t fit into the love category. I haven’t read anything else by Dan Brown and this book certainly didn’t make me want to.

The Lost Symbol is very a conspiracy-theory paranoid “thriller” that’s written in a historical-fact type of way. I found it cringey. But that’s just my opinion, what do others think?

It’s a pretty terrible book judged on its own.

– Rick Dakan

In fact, after I’d gotten a third of the way through, I wondered if Brown were actually on vacation, and let the Masons write the book.

– Wil C Fry

The Lost Symbol is certainly an excellent addition to Brown’s catalogue

 – It takes a woman
a typewriter

Writing Practice

Check out these writing exercises and prompts inspired by THE LOST SYMBOL.

Prompt: The Opening Paragraph(s)

This is the opening paragraph of the novel. Ignore everything you know about the story and use it as a writing prompt.

Your Task: Using as much detail as possible, write another 300+ words.


The secret is how to die.

Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.

The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.

Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear.

As was tradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a “cable-tow” as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, he was dressed as a master.

Exercise: Rewrite

Your Task: Choose a Robert Langdon scene and rewrite it in the first person.

Your Options: Change as much or as little as you’d like (tense? Add details? Remove details?) but make sure it’s in the first person!

american currency and some magnified aspects of it


GenreMystery, Thriller & Suspense
First Published
September 15, 2009
Print Length
(according to amazon)
530 pages
File Size
(according to amazon)
7,024 KB
Goodreads Rating
(As of Feb 2019)
Goodreads rating for the novel The Lost Symbol
Amazon Rating
(As of Feb 2019)
Amazon customer rating for the novel The Lost Symbol
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Pin This: Book Review & Analysis of THE LOST SYMBOL

Have you read THE LOST SYMBOL?

If so, what did you think? If not, will you?

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