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Pining for the Fnords

I’ve got a story in the latest Publisher’s Weekly about the mini-industry of Dan Brown explicators (subscription required; head for the bottom), which ends with an observation that “publishers are–or should be–preparing themselves for a similar rise in popularity for books on Freemasonry, whenever Brown delivers the [Da Vinci] Code sequel.”

Well, David A. Shugarts isn’t wasting any time–next week, Sterling will be shipping copies of Secrets of the Widow’s Son: The Mysteries Surrounding the Sequel to the Da Vinci Code. And he’s not even the first: W. Frederick Zimmerman’s slim “unauthorized update,” “The Solomon Key” and Beyond, and Greg Taylor ‘s Da Vinci in America: Unlocking the Secrets of Dan Brown’s “The Solomon Key” have both been out since the beginning of the year. Then there’s David Ovason’s The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital; Brown’s own copy of that guide to the Masonic symbols scattered through D.C. is undoubtedly well-thumbed by now.

Pity Shugarts didn’t work The Solomon Key into his title; I can’t help but think (half-hope, really) that people might believe he’s actually created a guide to Robert Anton Wilson’s The Widow’s Son. It would only be fitting, considering that Dan Brown’s success stems from picking the fruit off trees Wilson planted nearly three decades ago (which is one of the reasons why Wilson’s publisher just came out with it’s own “insider’s guide“).

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