Thursday, January 05, 2006

Freemasonry to feature prominently in The Da Vinci Code sequel The Solomon Key

Reprinted from Thothweb

Secret brotherhood may be key to Da Vinci Code sequel

Posted on Monday, January 02, 2006 (CST) by Thoth

Cryptographers claim to have broken clues to the forthcoming sequel of The Da Vinci Code that were planted on the cover of the bestseller by Dan Brown, its US author. Codebreakers on both sides of the Atlantic are in a race to solve the mystery of the follow-up before Brown has finished the manuscript of his new novel.

The film version of The Da Vinci Code opens in May, with Tom Hanks in the role of Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, and Audrey Tautou, who charmed cinema-goers in the title role of Amelie, as Sophie Neveu, a French cryptographer.

The book has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. Langdon is the hero again in Brown's next book, The Solomon Key, which will be published late this year or early next year.

Many claim the new book will link the secret Freemasons brotherhood to the founding of the US and the Mormon church, as well as a search for treasure.

Brown, who says he is fascinated by secret societies, left clues on the cover of the US version of The Da Vinci Code.

A grid reference written faintly and in reverse gives a location in latitude and longitude in the US.

If the co-ordinates are moved one degree north, it leads people to a sculpture called Kryptos in the courtyard of the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The sculpture, intended as a challenge to members of the CIA, contains a dense matrix of 1800 or so letters, some in similar style to the German wartime Enigma code deciphered at the Bletchley Park spy centre in Buckinghamshire, southern England.

One section of the letters contains a cryptic message suggesting sunlight playing on the statue may have some role in the solution of the other messages.

Another passage is taken from the account of Howard Carter, the British archeologist, of the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb. The final section is still a mystery.

A magnifying glass is needed to read another clue on the jacket of The Da Vinci Code. Some of the lettering on the cover flap describing the plot is in bolder type than the rest.

When read separately from the other words, it says: "Is there no help for the widow's son?"

The codebreakers have linked these words to a 1974 speech of the same name about Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons.

Smith was shot and wounded by a mob who stormed his prison cell in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844.

He started to say the words -- a Masonic call for help -- before falling to his death from a first-floor window.

The Mormons believe Smith had a vision in which gold plates containing the mysteries of God were buried in a hillside.

Some believe these plates were similar to the treasures found by the Masons building King Solomon's temple at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.

Others trying to unravel the plot of Brown's next novel believe the answer is linked to the pyramid and the all-seeing eye on every US $1 bill.

Officially, the unfinished pyramid is meant to show the US is still growing, and the eye is to reflect the importance of God to all US citizens.

But conspiracy theorists say it shows a secret order of Masons helped to create the US and is now running the world.

David Shugarts is the author of a new book, Secrets of the Widow's Son, which claims to be a prequel to the sequel of The Da Vinci Code. He said the point was not to spoil the plot of The Solomon Key, but to engage the reader ahead of time.

He believes that having explored Paris, London and Rome in previous Langdon novels, Brown has chosen Washington as the base for his new book. The Washington Monument, a 170m obelisk, is likely to feature.

"Dan Brown has triggered a lot of wonder in people's heads," Shugarts said. A spokeswoman for the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City said: "We are aware the church may be included in the new book but we know nothing of buried treasure."

Brown recently admitted he had placed the clues on the dust jacket of The Da Vinci Code.

The author, who says he grew up surrounded "by the Masonic lodges of our founding fathers", has confirmed his next novel is "set deep within the oldest fraternity in history, the enigmatic brotherhood of the Masons".

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