Dan Brown’s latest book, Inferno will be on “bookstands” in less than 24 hours and the eagerly awaited new Robert Langdon adventure is being touted as the biggest literary release of 2013.
Brown’s last book, The Lost Symbol sold more than half a million copies in hardback in its first week on sale when it was published in 2009. Inferno, is out on Tuesday and will be taking readers “on a journey deep into the [sic] mysterious realm” of Dante’s Inferno in Florence. Inferno according to the novelist, is already at the top of Amazon’s bestseller charts, and British High Street bookstore Waterstones also believes it is set to be number one book of the year. The book chain said the novel has already received its largest level of customer pre-orders since JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.
According to Chris White who is Waterstones fiction buyer, “This should be the fastest and biggest selling novel of the year – it’s hard to see how anything could beat it. This will be a huge hit now and throughout the summer, then see another peak at Christmas. It could well be No 1 on 25th December.”
Bookshops are already fighting for market share on Inferno, with Amazon and Tesco both selling the hardback online for less than half price.
But the plot is, thus far, a closely guarded secret. Brown, who has 190 million copies of his books in circulation worldwide, has promised “the darkest novel yet” in an interview with the Sunday Times this weekend, the only interview he is giving before the book’s release.
Talking to British journalist Alison Flood, the novelist said that the subject matter he is dealing with “is so vibrant and so horrifying that it does a lot of the work for me. I’m not writing about the masons and ancient histories, which is kind of ethereal. I’m writing about Dante’s vision of hell … It wasn’t until the 1300s and this version of Inferno that it became terrifying. Dante has had enormous influence on the Christian view of hell.”
Dan Brown took a moment to show interviewer Alison Flood his gravity table, where he hangs upside down from metal stirrups when writer’s block strikes; Brown – who gets up at 4am every day to write – said the life of an author was “awful” and a “brutal existence”. “I enjoy having written, past tense. I must enjoy it on some level but I find it very difficult. I feel like it’s working out for an hour. You feel good at the end, but while you’re doing it, you wish you were doing something else,” he said.
He also revealed that he tries not to read his reviews, feeling partly that “critics have such knowledge” of their field “that I’m not sure that they always share the taste of the masses”, and also that he is “writing for myself”.
Brown first introduced the world to code breaker Robert Langdon in the 2000 book Angels and Demons, his next novel The Da Vinci Code became a “mega hit” and a film of the same title starring Tom Hanks was released in 2008. Since then Angels and Demons has been made into a film; with Hanks again as Langdon, and film makers have expressed an interest in an adaptation of The Lost Symbol.
Inferno goes on sale worldwide on Tuesday 14 May 2013.
By Michael Smith