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Dan Brown to publish special edition of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ for young adults

'The Da Vinci Code' adapted for young adults is coming this fall. (Courtesy of Random House )

Dan Brown will publish a special edition of "The Da Vinci Code" for young adults in September.

The only real mystery might be what took so long.

“The Da Vinci Code,” first published in 2003, remains one of the best-selling books of all time, with 82 million copies in print.

In a statement released today by Penguin Random House, Brown said, “It is my sincere hope that this adaptation of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ sparks in young adults the same thrill of discovery that I feel while exploring hidden history and the mysteries of the world we live in.”

The novel will be abridged but will maintain the general story about symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptographer Sophie Neveu, who race to unravel a conspiracy that could shake Western culture.

The YA version will publish in Britain on Sept. 8 and in the United States on Sept. 13.

The original hardback version of “The Da Vinci Code” is 454 pages. Given a generation that eagerly breezed through thousands of pages of “Harry Potter” books, it’s not clear why young adults would need an abridged version of Brown’s blockbuster.

Early reaction on Twitter has not been enthusiastic:

Al Kennedy @housetoastonish: "Presumably the YA version of the Da Vinci Code will be the same book but with more thought-provoking and challenging material added in."

Michael French @Michael_French: "Dan Brown is rewriting Da Vinci Code as a Young Adult book. Might be the first time his material gets 'dumbed up.'"

WayneDavid @WayneDavid81: "Dan Brown writing a Young Adult (YA) version of The Da Vinci Code is like Atari releasing a version of Pong for kids."

Shannon Cullen, publishing director of Penguin Random House Children’s UK, said in a statement, “ ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is a thrilling, page-turning adventure that we know older teenagers are already reading. We’re pleased that our abridged edition is going to enable more young adults to enjoy Dan Brown’s international bestseller.”

In 2004, Doubleday published an illustrated edition of “The Da Vinci Code” for adult readers, and in 2006, Anchor published an illustrated screenplay for fans of the movie version.

The new YA version will also be simultaneously released as an audiobook.

"The Da Vinci Code" is the second of Brown's four novels about Robert Langdon, which include "Angels & Demons" (2000), "The Lost Symbol" (2009) and "Inferno" (2013). His books have been translated into more than 50 languages and have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide.

Brown’s novels have also sparked a mini-genre of nonfiction books — some equally fantastical — about the early Christian church and attendant conspiracies.

A movie adaptation of “Inferno” is set to open Oct. 28.

Ron Charles is the editor of Book World.

The Da Vinci Code

The Young Adult Adaptation

By Dan Brown

Delacorte. $18.99

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