Whether you’ve seen the film adaptions of his books or noticed his name dominating bestseller lists, you might be wondering how to read the Dan Brown books in order. This list will have you covered on how to read all of Dan Brown’s books. As well as going into detail about his most popular character Robert Langdon.
Dan Brown is certainly most well-known for his brilliantly enigmatic series featuring Robert Langdon. It became a series that took the world by storm with a popular film franchise and propelled Brown to fame.
The newest screen adaption of Brown’s work veers slightly from the book it is based on. In the TV show The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon is reimagined as a younger version of himself. The show premiered on Peacock in the fall of 2021 and is currently available to stream.
What is the Robert Langdon Series About?
Dan Brown has published nine books during the last two decades, but his Robert Langdon books are by far his most successful commercially.
Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor that specializes in the fictional field of symbology, in particular religious symbols. In this series, Langdon travels the world untangling mysteries.
Typically, he is joined by a partner in the city he is visiting. Then the duo embark on a thrilling race against time. During which they must solve the mystery at hand and survive dangerous obstacles.
While Brown’s first Robert Langdon novel is Angels & Demons, he achieved global success after the publication of his second Langdon book The Da Vinci Code in 2003. This was his fourth published novel overall. It became one of the bestsellers in history and dominated the New York Times Best Seller list for more than two years.
The success of the book was followed by a successful film adaption. The film franchise stars Tom Hanks in the role of Robert Langdon. The Da Vinci Code film premiered in 2006.
In 2009, Brown’s third Langdon book, The Lost Symbol, sold more than a million copies on its first day. That same year the movie Angels & Demons premiered successfully raking in $485.9 million at the box office.
Brown said in a 2006 interview that he has ideas for 12 books about Robert Langdon. A little more than a decade later in 2017 Brown published his fifth book in the Langdon series.
Who is Dan Brown?
Dan Brown was born in Exeter, New Hampshire to a mathematics professor and a church organist. Growing up on a school campus he developed a fascination early on with the relationship between science and religion. These themes would later emerge in his written work and ignite much debate.
However, Brown didn’t immediately pursue writing upon graduation. He instead moved to Los Angeles with dreams of making it big through singing and songwriting.
While there Brown met the woman who would later become his wife, but when he couldn’t gain traction in the music industry he moved back to New Hampshire in 1993. He began work as an English teacher at the same school his father taught at: Phillips Exeter Academy.
Brown would then go on to publish his first fiction novel in 1998, followed by his first Robert Langdon book in 2000.
The recurrent themes within Brown’s books are of codes, symbols, and conspiracy. He weaves a tale of alternative religious history with a mystery thriller twist. It has ignited much controversy and backlash against Brown, but hasn’t diminished the commercial success of his books. Likewise, it hasn’t diminished Brown’s dedicated group of fans.
Collectively, Brown’s novels have been translated into 56 languages and sold more than 200 million copies internationally.
In addition to his Robert Langdon series, Brown has published one non-fiction book under the moniker Danielle Brown, two standalone mystery thrillers, and one children’s book.
Dan Brown Books in Order of Publication
If you’re looking to get starting on reading Brown’s books, including his lesser known works, here is a list of all of the Dan Brown books in order of publication. This list includes Brown’s first published book. This is a piece of non-fiction initially published under the pen name Danielle Brown which has received mixed reaction.
- 187 Men to Avoid (1995)
- Digital Fortress (1998)
- Angels & Demons (2000)
- Deception Point (2001)
- The Da Vinci Code (2003)
- The Lost Symbol (2009)
- Inferno (2013)
- Origin (2017)
- Wild Symphony (2020)
Dan Brown Books in Order of Series or Standalone
The more obvious way to enjoy the Dan Brown books in order is by looking at his Robert Langdon series separate from the rest of his works. You may already be familiar with some of these books. You might also notice that the film franchise adapted Brown’s books differently than the chronological order of his Robert Langdon books. If you’re looking to experience Langdon’s journey in the chronological order Brown intended, the publication order of his books is the best way to read the series.
Dan Brown Books in Order: Robert Langdon Series
Dan Brown Books in Order: Standalones
187 Men to Avoid
As mentioned, Dan Brown’s first published book was a work of non-fiction. Initially published under the pen name Danielle Brown and written with the help of Brown’s wife Blythe Newlon, the book has received mixed reaction.
The book is a collection of one-line observations on men. The intention is to serve as warning signs, or red flags, for women in search of Mr. Right. A comedic piece of non-fiction it has received little attention and remains one of Brown’s lesser known works.
Digital Fortress was Dan Brown’s first published novel and foray into mystery thrillers. It introduces the themes that would later go on to make his Robert Langdon series so popular.
In Digital Fortress, Susan Fletcher is a brilliant mathematician and the head cryptographer with the National Security Agency. When its invincible code-breaking machine finds a code that it cannot break, Fletcher uncovers a mystery that threatens the entirety of US intelligence. In addition to fighting to save the agency, Fletcher finds herself fighting to save her country, her life, and the life of the man she loves.
Deception Point follows intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton as she must uncover a rare object deep within the Arctic. Discovered by a NASA satellite, Sexton sets off in search of this object with a team of experts, including a charismatic scholar Michael Tolland. Upon reaching the Arctic, Sexton discovers evidence of scientific trickery. Before she is able to warn anyone, she finds herself fleeing across the desolate landscape with Tolland to evade a team of assassins. Sexton and Tolland must discover the truth behind this deadly plot before it is too late.
Dan Brown’s latest book is a combination of his love of writing and music. The children’s picture book includes a free app with music composed by Brown to create an immersive experience. It is illustrated by Susan Batori.
Wild Symphony follows the journey of a fuzzy main character named Maestro Mouse and his musical friends. As a nod to his symbology fame, there are also clues dotted throughout the book and a coded message to solve. All US royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to support music education for children.
Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon Adaptions
Upon hearing the name Robert Langdon, many will immediately picture the charismatic and stoic Tom Hanks gallivanting across cities in pursuit of a mystery to solve.
In addition to the popular film franchise, however, there are other Robert Langdon adaptions you might not be aware of. Dan Brown’s popular character is the star of a new TV show, The Lost Symbol, and a stage play of The Da Vinci Code will premiere in 2022.
Adapted out of order from the books, the films have nonetheless been a box office sensation. The three films star Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon and Ron Howard is the director.
The Da Vinci Code, adapted from the book of the same name, premiered in 2000. Audrey Tautou joined Hanks and stars as Sophie Neveu. The film was a great success and made $760 million at the box office.
The next movie to premiere was Angels & Demons, which is actually the first book in the Robert Langdon book series. It premiered in 2009 and was another success making $485.9 million at the box office. In this film Hanks is joined on screen by Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra.
The latest installment in this film franchise, Inferno, premiered in 2016. Again, it was adapted from the book of the same name. This time Hanks stars alongside Felicity Jones as Sienna Brooks. The film made $220 million at the box office.
In a 2016 interview Hanks explained the decision to skip a film adaption of The Lost Symbol was in part due to the similarities in plot to the first two movies.
But fans of The Lost Symbol fear not, because a screen adaption recently premiered.
Portraying a younger Langdon in order to fit within the film franchise, Peacock picked up Dan Brown’s third Langdon book and gave it a home. The show premiered on September 26, 2021 and is currently available to stream. The first season has ten episodes, and the finale will premiere in November 2021.
It stars Ashley Zukerman as a younger Robert Langdon, Eddie Izzard as Langdon’s mentor Peter Solomon, and Valorie Curry as Catherine Solomon, Peter’s daughter.
Another exciting Robert Langdon adaption will make its way into the world soon. The Da Vinci Code will premiere as a stage play and begin a 35-city UK tour on January 15th, 2022.
The stage play is adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel. The director is Luke Sheppard. It will star Nigel Harman as Robert Langdon, Danny John-Jules as Sir Leigh Teabing, and Hannah Rose Caton as Sophie Neveu. All casting and touring information are on its official website.
Summary of the Dan Brown Books in Order
Whether you’ve seen the screen adaptions or not, if you’re looking for where to start with Robert Langdon’s story, here is your definitive list of the Dan Brown books in order with plot summaries.
1. Angels & Demons
The first book in the series sees Robert Langdon first travel to a Swiss research facility. Here he finds a murdered physicist with a cryptic symbol carved into his chest. There the world-renowned Harvard professor discovers the Illuminati is ready to act on its deep vendetta against the Catholic Church. Langdon races to Rome in an effort to save the Vatican. Here he joins forces with scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through crypts, catacombs, and cathedrals before delving into the depths of the most secretive vault on earth: The long-forgotten Illuminati lair.
2. The Da Vinci Code
The second installment of this series finds Robert Langdon in Paris. Langdon is woke up by a phone call in the middle of the night telling him a murder has taken place. The curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum and covered with mysterious symbols. Langdon’s symbology expertise is necessary to find the murderer.
The Harvard professor is joined by French cryptologist Sophie Neveu to untangle the riddle hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. As well, they discover the murdered curator was a member of the Priory of Sion. This secret society included members such as Sir Issac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci himself. It had tasked the curator with guarding a lucrative historical secret. It is now up to Langdon and Neveu to decipher this puzzle. They must also avoid whoever is stalking them, or else this ancient truth will be lost forever.
3. The Lost Symbol
Once again Robert Langdon finds himself summoned at the beginning of this third novel. This time, however, the Harvard symbologist is there to deliver a lecture in the US Capitol Building. But an evening could rarely go smoothly with Langdon involved.
Within minutes of his arrival an object encoded with five mysterious symbols is discovered in the building. One that Langdon recognizes as an ancient invitation meant to guide its recipient into a world of esoteric wisdom. Then Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon, is brutally kidnapped. Langdon realizes the only way to save this prominent Mason and philanthropist is to accept the mystical invitation. Langdon finds himself in a world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations as he rushes to save his mentor and edges ever-so-closer toward an inconceivable truth.
Robert Langdon awakens to find himself in an Italian hospital with no recollection of how he got there. Nor does he remember how a macabre object made its way into his belongings. Pursued through Florence by a relentless assassin, the Harvard professor of symbology flees with his resourceful doctor Sienna Brooks. In another harrowing journey, Langdon and Brooks must unravel a series of codes. The codes are the work of a brilliant scientist. This mastermind is equally obsessed with the end of the world and Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno. The result is another brilliant combination of history, classical art, and thrilling mystery.
The latest novel in the Robert Langdon series is another entertaining combination of Dan Brown’s beloved themes. Langdon arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement by one of his former students. The breakthrough announcement promises to answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence and consequently change the face of science forever. Langdon’s former student, Edmond Kirsch, is now a renowned global figure and a billionaire. As Langdon finds himself taken aback by the potential controversy surrounding Kirsch’s discovery, the evening erupts into chaos.
As a result, Langdon must make a desperate attempt to flee Bilbao. With him is the museum director who worked with Kirsch to orchestrate the evening: Ambra Vidal. The pair flee to Barcelona to locate a password. It is up to them to save Kirsch’s secret from being lost forever. Along the way they must also evade the tormented enemy with an all-knowing power who is hunting them.
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