After reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (he also wrote The Da Vinci Code and Angels And Demons, as you probably know), I can honestly say I know more about the Freemasons than I ever expected I would learn without going directly to the Freemasons for a copy of their press kit. (Which would be encoded.) (Irony!)
While the story is well constructed and kind of exciting, what has stuck with me is Brown's unusual writing style, in which — among other things — everything is explained in such exacting detail with such an abundance of trivia that you could personally breed, educate, deploy, command, and ultimately destroy your very own Freemason using only the information found in this book. If there's a secret society somewhere in the world, he will tell you about it. If there's a great thinker who once mentioned the Freemasons in some piece of writing, he'll quote it. Everything sounds better in Latin.
You get the idea.
What this got me thinking (naturally) is that Brown's style is wasted on these mystical thrillers. He needs to branch out. As always, I am here to help.
An excerpt from The Hidden Yolk, a cookbook by Dan Brown
"Maybe I'm a skeptic, but I just don't believe you can cook eggs that way," she said, looking at the pan skeptically with a skeptical eye.
"Ah, but you can," he said with a small smile, stepping back from the stove and watching as approximately two inches of water came to a gentle simmer. "Scientists now believe that Polynesian chickens were brought to the Americas before Columbus." He cracked the egg into a shallow dish, then slid it gently into the water, being careful not to break the yolk. "There is no nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs, you know."
"I don't understand," she replied. "I have always heard that brown eggs were better for you. Are you saying that isn't true?"
He spooned a little of the water over the egg. "It isn't true at all. Different colors of eggs simply come from different breeds of chickens." After the egg had simmered for three to four minutes, he lifted it out of the pan with a slotted spoon and placed it on a plate, where a piece of toast was already waiting.
She is going to really love this poached egg.
He handed her the plate and went to the refrigerator to fetch the orange juice. When he opened the door, he froze in place. It was unbelievable. It was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. He could not imagine how it was possible. It was huge. Nothing would ever be the same.
Four more, after the jump.
An excerpt from The Sixth Embrace, a romance novel by Dan Brown
She could feel his hot breath on her neck.
"Did you know L.L. Bean was founded in 1912?" he whispered.
"No," she said softly.
"James Joyce's influence is felt in many places outside literature," he whispered.
"I'm sure," she said.
"Metal staples from the sixth century B.C. have been found in ancient Iran," he cooed.
"All right," she sighed.
"Donny Osmond is the president of Utah," he breathed.
"That's — wait, what?" She pulled back and looked into his eyes. "I'm almost sure that's wrong."
"I have something to show you," he said. "I think you're ready." He turned to his computer to type.
"Yes," she said quietly. "I've heard of Wikipedia."
An excerpt from The Fluffy Bunnies Of Agamemnon, a children's book by Dan Brown
Agamemnon had six fluffy bunnies. He shared them with his wife, Clymenestra, and with his children, Orestes, Electra, and Iphigenia. When he went off to become the leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan War, he had to give away the fluffy bunnies. Things did not end well for Agamemnon, and this is thought to be the origin of the saying, "Never go to war without your bunnies." THE END.
An excerpt from What To Expect When You're Enlightened, a self-help book by Dan Brown
During the first week of your enlightenment, you will learn that there are forces at work in the universe that you do not completely understand. These forces are powerful. They will change the world. You may also feel slightly bloated; this is normal.
As your enlightenment continues, your supply of true knowledge will grow from approximately the size of an apple seed to the size of a peach. At approximately eight weeks of enlightenment, you may become slightly anemic. This is a sign that your connections to other dimensions are sapping some of your body's natural reserves; it can be treated with iron supplements.
An excerpt from The Enshrined Gavel, a courtroom thriller by Dan Brown
"Your honor, the prosecutor cannot simply walk in here with some indecipherable digital image and claim that it holds the key to this entire crime. My client is innocent, and this alleged photograph proves absolutely nothing."
Assistant District Attorney Michael Wells had to admit it was true. He couldn't see anything in the photograph either, but the man who had slipped it to him in the hallway this morning swore it held the key to the murder of Clyde Swann, the reclusive billionaire who was believed to meet regularly in secret with dignitaries including Supreme Court Justices, Tiger Woods, and more than one American Idol champion.
But what could it mean?
He stared at the photograph. He studied the image, grainy and dark, trying desperately to identify some pattern, something recognizable, something he could grab onto. What was this photograph? What was its significance? Why had the mysterious man in the hooded robes pressed it into his hands?
Suddenly, he saw it. It all made sense. It was as if a cloud had lifted, allowing him to see with clear eyes what had been concealed from him; hidden by the limitations of his own mind. You are disoriented, the man in the robes had said. You must turn your thoughts.. Now he understood: Turn your thoughts.
Wells sprang from his chair. "Your honor," he said loudly, "I can resolve this." He strode to the bench and manipulated the picture for the judge; changed it just enough to make its meaning perfectly clear. The judge immediately banged his gavel. "GUILTY!" he hollered. "We don't need a trial! I find the defendant guilty based on this picture!"
"What?" sputtered the defense attorney. "But this picture shows nothing, your honor!"
Wells strode over to the shocked man. "You're holding it upside-down, counselor."