Most people are familiar with Dan Brown’s work because of the big-screen adaptations of his famous novels. But Brown’s bibliography is far more expansive than what’s turned into movies and TV shows.
If you know about The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, you are at the tip of the Dan Brown thriller iceberg. You will learn more about the American novelist’s inspirations, writing techniques, and plans. But first, let’s look at his top three titles.
Our best Dan Brown Books at a glance:
Who Is Dan Brown?
Dan Brown is a teacher turned author best known for his thriller novel series featuring Robert Langdon, a cryptography expert who often finds himself at the center of a treasure hunt with world-ending stakes.
Brown was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, on June 22, 1964. His father was a mathematics teacher, and partly due to this, Brown had puzzles, ciphers, and anagrams lying around in his house all the time.
As a result, Brown developed an interest in cryptography and puzzle-solving, both of which would become strong themes in his story-telling. While his father was a teacher who wrote textbooks, Brown would go on to become a teacher who wrote plotting novels, using his knowledge of puzzles and codes to create compelling storylines..
In his Masterclass, Brown mentioned that he gave the profession of a professor to Robert Langdon (his lead character) because the author himself was a teacher.
But there’s more to Brown’s work than two of the books that have achieved the peak of commercial thriller repute: Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code. Reading Brown’s books in order can help an interested reader see the clear evolution of his characters and writing style.
He started his writing career with Digital Fortress, a book that covered digital espionage and had thriller elements alongside the classic Dan Brown-style conspiracy themes. Symbolism and cryptography became more important in his work as he created the character of Robert Langdon for his Angels and Demons series.
Dan Brown is a firm believer that writers have a duty to live interesting lives. He has asserted that writers must do different things. Research, therefore, is an important aspect of Brown’s work. He also borrows from his prior professions and experiences to inform his characters’ actions.
Most famously, he attributes his character Robert Langdon’s main profession to his previous teaching job. But Brown also had a career in music before he became a teacher. He produced titles for children and then opened a record label that would self-produce his debut title for adults, Perspective.
In 1991, Brown moved to Hollywood, where he pursued a career as a songwriter and composer. Angels and Demons was one of the CDs that he produced that even shared the same ambigram that he used for the cover of his bestselling book of the same name.
While it might seem like he left music behind when he took up an English teaching job at Philips Exter, he is still involved in musical projects, including a symphonic work, “Wild Symphony,” that is currently being made into an animated movie like Disney’s “Fantasia.”
Brown has broadened his horizons by facilitating adaptations, giving a masterclass on writing, and even producing an illustrated children’s book. He continues to be at his creative best, bringing childlike wonder and a sense of grandiosity to the mundane.
Dan Brown Books In Order
Stand Alone Novels In Order Of Publication
Robert Langdon Series In Order Of Publication
Best Dan Brown Books
The Da Vinci Code
Given that most of Brown’s success comes from the commercial and critical acclaim received by The Da Vinci Code, it is pretty fair to say that it is one of his best works, if not the best one. This novel has been adapted into a film featuring Tom Hanks as the lead.
The plot follows Robert Langdon for a second time since his 2000 debut in Angels and Demons. This time, the plot is catapulted by a murder in the Louvre that forces him and cryptologist Sophie Neveu to get involved in a conflict between two secret societies over the possibility of Jesus Christ’s bloodline.
You should read this book if you plan to read only one Dan Brown book. It is rare for an author’s best book to also be his best-received one. But in the case of Dan Brown, his most famous book is also his best work. Everything is fresh, more accessible, and highly entertaining.
Angels and Demons
Another Robert Langdon book, but not just another Robert Langdon book. Angels and Demons is the first book in the Langdon series and follows the Harvard symbologist as he embarks on an adventure to stop the return of an evil organization.
Working with the Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, Langdon has to prevent the Illuminati’s conspiracy against the Roman Catholic Church. This book has all the best features of a Dan Brown title, including cryptography, puzzles, and a ticking clock.
Read this book if you liked The Da Vinci Code enough to go deep into Robert Langdon’s world. It has plenty of things that work for the ideal Dan Brown reader.
But most importantly, it is the first book in the series. While it is not necessary to read it to enjoy the rest of the Langdon titles, it does allow you to grow and evolve with Langdon.
This book, despite having the same familiar themes and beloved features as Brown’s other Langdon titles, is different in a few ways. In Inferno, Langdon wakes up with no recollection of how he got to the hospital where he is being treated. There’s again a team-up and a chase, but with an element of blackout and a string of reveals that make this book quite a thrilling read.
This is one of the few stand-alone novels by the author. It follows a female lead, Susan Fletcher, who has to go past secrets and lies and bend a few rules in a high-stakes environment to preserve the future of the agency she believes in.
It is refreshingly different from the puzzle-ridden world of Robert Langdon, yet it is oddly familiar because of Brown’s strong voice, which comes through quite unmistakably.
The Lost Symbol
This book carried the burden of expectations set by The Da Vinci Code. A great follow-up act that cemented the Langdon series as one of the most consistent ones in the thriller genre, The Lost Symbol follows the symbologist as he tries to find out why his mentor Peter Solomon vanished.
It opens with an unexpected guest lecture invitation to the U.S. Capitol Building, and things continue to become more interesting by the minute. This book was recently adapted into a TV series.
Dan Brown Faqs
Did Dan Brown Stop Writing?
Dan Brown did not stop writing. In fact, he has diversified into writing for film and is working on his upcoming book and a film adaptation of his latest novel.
What Did Dan Brown Do Before Writing?
Dan Brown was a teacher before becoming a full-time novelist. He quit teaching in 1996, 2 years before his debut novel was published. He has remained a full-time writer since.
Does Dan Brown Have A Child?
Dan Brown doesn’t have children. Brown and his wife chose “a life of creativity” instead. He maintains that his decision was right for him, adding that for every moment he regrets not having a kid, there are three to four moments where he is glad he doesn’t.
Is Dan Brown Religious?
Dan Brown was raised Episcopalian and was pretty religious growing up. He isn’t an atheist but says he is happily confused and is a work in progress. This alludes to agnosticism, which implies that Brown isn’t sure about the specifics of God but is open to the idea of there being one.
What Nationality Is Dan Brown?
Dan Brown is American by birth and has not acquired any foreign citizenship. He often injects patriotic and American values of freedom, personal responsibility, and goodness into his work.
Wrapping It Up
Dan Brown is a modern-day master with an unparalleled grip over the thriller writing genre. He has produced the bulk of his work in the Robert Langdon series while writing stand-alone novels now and then. The best way to get into Brown’s bibliography is to read his most popular work, The Da Vinci Code, and, if his writing draws you in, read the Langdon books in order.