Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's new novel will be published on May 14, his publisher Doubleday said today after a social media puzzle worthy of the writer helped reveal the title.
Inferno features the return of renowned Harvard symbologist and Da Vinci Code protagonist Robert Langdon, and is set in Italy, centering on the literary masterpiece Dante's Inferno, Doubleday said. It will have a first printing of 4 million copies.
The new book might seem familiar in other ways, as Brown again takes on a masterpiece of Western civilisation. The Da Vinci Code centered on an iconic painting, the Mona Lisa.
"Although I studied Dante's Inferno as a student, it wasn't until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante's work on the modern world," Brown said on his website.
"With this new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm ... a landscape of codes, symbols, and more than a few secret passageways," he added.
Brown may also be returning to the religious controversies of The Da Vinci Code, when he infuriated some Catholics by suggesting that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children. Dante himself was a Catholic who was critical of church leaders.
The Da Vinci Code, which was riddled with codes, keys, conspiracies and other puzzling symbols, was published in 2003 and was made into a hit film starring Tom Hanks. It spent more than a year atop the New York Times bestseller list.
The Lost Symbol, his next book, followed in 2009.
In keeping with Brown's love of puzzles, the book's title was revealed on his website as fans and others posted items on social media which linked to a mosaic on the site. As posts were made, pieces of the mosaic were revealed, eventually uncovering the title.