In Washington, Stalking Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'

By Monica Hesse and David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 15, 2009; 6:26 PM

Dan Brown's latest novel hit bookstores this morning at 12:01 a.m. By 6:45, two aspiring symbologists were already on the trail. Join Post reporters David Montgomery and Monica Hesse on their hourly-updated madcap dash through the Washington locations featured in the book. Warning: Spoilers and massive dorkiness abound.

7:30 a.m. House of the Temple

After a night of frantic speed-reading, our intrepid duo is ready to hit the pavement in search of Dan Brown's Lost Symbol, armed with only coffee and a GPS. The book follows Robert Langdon and scientist sidekick Katherine Solomon as the two to solve an ancient Masonic puzzle before Langdon's mentor is killed. It takes place in 12 hours, in a Washington very similar to our own. (Except in Brown's world, the Redskins are in the playoffs. What?!) Can they stick to that schedule, while avoiding both giant tattooed eunuchs (the book's bad guy) and D.C. traffic cops?

First stop, the Masonic House of the Temple, the site of two major acts of badness. 1) Threats of ritual human sacrifice. 2) Something unethical going on with a flowing blonde man-wig. And what's the appeal of drinking from a human skull?

S. Brent Morris, managing editor of the Scottish Rite Journal, meets them outside. They are disappointed to see he is wearing a pinstripe suit instead of a creepy cloak. His tie, however, looks promisingly Masonic ¿ red with circles and triangles.

"Does that tie have special significance?" they ask, determined to learn his secrets yet!

Yes, Morris explains. He made a donation to the Masons' Intendant of the Building Society, and they gave him this tie. Ladies get scarves.


He leads them to the Temple Room. They see no signs of skulls or ancient daggers.

Nothing more to see here. They hop back into the car and speed to the next destination. When they arrive, David gasps!

What the --

8:51 a.m. The Capitol

David gasped.

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