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Dan Brown of 'The Da Vinci Code' to publish 'Inferno' in May

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Dan Brown's new thriller "Inferno," starrring his tweedy hero Robert Langdon from "The Da Vinci Code," will be published May 14 in hardcover and as an e-book by Doubleday, the publisher announced Tuesday.

In case you've forgotten "The Da Vinci Code" phenomenon, it spent more than a year -- 54 weeks -- topping the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list after it was released in 2003. It has been translated into 51 languages and is considered the bestselling adult hardcover of all time with 81 million copies in print worldwide.

In the new novel, Robert Langdon will travel to Italy to investigate Dante's classic literary work, "The Inferno." In a release from Doubleday, Dan Brown explains, "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,” said Brown. “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.”

Brown's follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" didn't do quite as well as its predecessor -- although measuring up to "The Da Vinci Code" may have been impossible. "The Lost Symbol" has 30 million copies in print worldwide and has been translated into 48 languages.

"Inferno" will be published simultaneously in the U.S. and U.K. and as an audiobook.

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