DA VINCI Code author Dan Brown has another hit on his hands with The Lost Symbol, a racy Masonic romp set in Washington DC.
The multi-millionaire master of esoteric mystery thrillers is no stranger to secrets.
But perhaps his best-kept one is that Huddersfield provides much of his inspiration.
Brown’s latest best seller surrounds Masonic secrets and hidden histories in Washington DC.
The Freemasons have been studied for many years by former Huddersfield Polytechnic IT lecturer Dr Robert Lomas.
Robert, an academic and writer, now lectures at Bradford University.
Some may say Dr Robert Lomas is similar to Dr Robert Langdon, Brown’s central character in The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and now The Lost Symbol.
Dan Brown has publicly acknowledged his debt to Robert.
Testifying in a plagiarism case brought against him by Michael Baigent in 2006, Dan Brown said: “An important book for this early research (for the Da Vinci Code) was The Hiram Key by Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight.”
That book examines the role of the Masons and The Knights Templar in excavating and then hiding a cache of early Christian writings.
Robert Lomas has maintained a friendly relationship with Dan Brown, with whom he shares a UK publisher.
Speaking on radio recently Robert said: “I supported Dan when he asserted his right to create fiction from published facts.
“I must admit I enjoy seeing how Dan takes my facts and spins them into thrillers; in the process taking liberties I don’t dare to!
“I write narrative non-fiction about the history and philosophy of Freemasonry and if my books inspire Dan to write about Freemasonry I wish him well.”
Robert has maintained a friendly rivalry with Brown over titles, though.
When Dan announced that his working title for his new novel was The Solomon Key, Robert, who had already proposed a non-fiction book about the Masonic influences on the building of Washington DC called Turning the Solomon Key, quickly rushed his non-fiction version into print in the US.
Later, when the first (highly secret) copies of The Lost Symbol arrived at Transworld in London the publishers realised that Robert had once again provided Dan Brown with many basic facts for his new thriller.
They quickly brought out a UK edition of Turning the Solomon Key to go on sale alongside the new Dan Brown book.
“Using Masonic rituals and Washington’s own diaries, Robert uncovers the symbolic reasoning behind the positioning of the city’s major landmarks, and in the process disposes of many anti-Masonic urban myths,” a Transworld spokesman said this week.
Dan Brown is noted for hiding secret codes in his writing and The Lost Symbol is no exception.
On page 314 he puts the opening words of Robert’s The Hiram Key into the mouth of a senior Freemason and on page 433 he has Dr Robert Langdon recognising and describing the image on the cover of Robert’s cult book on Masonic philosophy, The Secret Science of Masonic Initiation.
Freemasons have been meeting in Huddersfield since 1793. The first permanent Masonic lodge was established in the town on South Parade.
Early last century that Masonic Hall was demolished and the lodge moved to Greenhead.
In total, 17 lodges meet in Huddersfield area in various halls scattered from Holmfirth to Lindley and form part of a wider network of 209 Masonic Lodges in West Yorkshire.
There are about 480,000 Masons in the UK.
Though Masons say the first known Masonic script is the Regius Manuscript of 1390, Freemasonry emerged first in Scotland in the late 1500s, and appeared in England in 1717.
The website for Huddersfield Freemasonry is at www.truth521.org.uk
Robert Lomas’s website on Walter Wilmshurst is at www.brad.ac.uk/webofhiram/
The Masonic Society’s website about The Lost Symbol is at http://www.freemasonlost symbol.com/