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About the Secrets Series

Secrets of the Widow's Son

Secrets of the Widow’s Son, is an unprecedented book concept: Relying on extensive investigative reporting and intellectual sleuthing, it is an explorer’s field guide to understanding the main themes, ideas, symbols, and historical issues that author Dan Brown will likely utilize in The Solomon Key—many months before this much-awaited sequel to The Da Vinci Code is even published.

Dave Shugarts is unrivaled in reading Dan Brown’s clues.  In Secrets of the Code and subsequent press releases and interviews, Shugarts told the story of how the riddle embedded in The Da Vinci Code’s dust-cover pointed to Dan Brown’s next book:  Selected letters appearing on the book jacket’s flaps, slightly bolder than others, spelled out the mystically alluring question, “Is There No Help for the Widow’s Son?”

Months of research, dozens of books, hundreds of Web searches, and some 5,000 pages of documented history and legend led Shugarts to understand the role of the “Widow’s Son” in the history of Freemasonry, biblical apocrypha, Mormonism, and various secret societies and occult belief systems. 

This led to the prediction that the Masons would be central to Dan Brown’s next book, that the action would be centered in Washington, DC, and that the plot would undoubtedly have much to do with the important (but surprisingly little-known and little discussed) Masonic influences in the American Revolution. For example, many of the founding fathers of the United States, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere—and nine signers of the Declaration of Independence—were Freemasons.  Washington, DC is a playground for anyone looking for Masonic symbology: the Egyptian obelisk-like Washington Monument, with its controversial history involving the Masons and the Catholic Church, the unfinished pyramid and all-seeing eye on the dollar bill, the alleged secret Masonic grid on which the streets and monuments are laid out, etc. 

Shortly after one of our press releases, Dan Brown himself confirmed that his next book would indeed be about the Masons, and that his symbologist-protagonist, Robert Langdon, of Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons fame, would be back to lead his readers on a symbolic treasure hunt through the art, architecture, and secret codes of our nation’s capital. More recently, Dan Brown’s publisher leaked the title: The Solomon Key. Like Widow’s Son, this is another highly charged phrase, loaded with rich Masonic allusions, legend, and lore. So we believe we are on the right track in our hunt to understand the ideas and themes of The Solomon Key before the novel is even published.

The Hidden Doors Unlocked by the Solomon Key

Let’s be clear:  Dave Shugarts' book is not designed to be a plot spoiler for The Solomon Key. He is not trying to guess who will be murdered, or which fictional mysteries, cover-ups, and conspiracies will be invented to drive the plot of this story, or how Langdon and Sophie Neveu (or the next in his series of beautiful, brainy crime-solving partners, if it isn’t Sophie) will decode the codes and symbols and figure it all out.  Instead, Secrets of the Widow’s Son is about the ideas and issues that will form the background and context for The Solomon Key.

Here are the major themes to explored in Secrets of the Widow’s Son:

  • Why Dan Brown’s books fascinate readers
  • The 30,000-year alternative version of history: From the Sacred Feminine in cave art through Egypt, Greece, Rome, Jesus, the Gnostics, the Templars, the Illuminati, the Freemasons…
  • The meaning of the Widow’s Son and other credible hints Dan Brown has supplied--often in code--in his previous books
  • The meaning of The Solomon Key
  • The Masons – what Dan Brown may tell us about this “secret” organization and its surprising influence on the history of our country
  • What the leading mainstream historians leave out when they write about George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and the Founding Fathers
  • Is Washington DC simply an architect’s dream come to life or a purposeful grid linked to the occult?
  • Clues for a Washington walk-about: how to see Masonic symbols, demonic symbols and astrological signs in the layout of Washington
  • The strange history of the Washington Monument, and how stones keep disappearing there…The National Gallery and its Masonic connections.


Secrets of the Widow’s Son is an unprecedented publishing event: a book about a book that has yet to be published.  As the world waits breathlessly for Dan Brown to publish his sequel to The Da Vinci Code, this new book, Secrets of the Widow’s Son,prepares international audiences for what they will experience in Brown’s forthcoming book.  Instead of asking what is fact and what is fiction after reading Brown’s next book (as so many readers all over the world did in the case of The Da Vinci Code), those who read Secrets of the Widow’s Son will have the unique opportunity to explore these questions in advance.

 Table of Contents

Introduction by Dan Burstein

Prologue: The Riddle of the Cover
The Da Vinci Code as an adult treasure hunt, and the bounty it yields

Chapter One: The Search Begins
Bogus history, mysterious plots, secret societies

Chapter Two: Hunting for the Fundamental Themes
The meaning of “The Widow’s Son”. The Meaning of “The Solomon Key”. The long ties to Freemasonry.

Chapter Three: Building the Virtual Temple—the Possible Philosophical, Spiritual, and Ideological Themes
The philosophical tapestry upon which Dan Brown’s book will be weaved. Who are the Masons, and why does George
Washington show up so often in hisMasonic apron?

Chapter Four: Building the Physical Temple—Washington the City

The city of Masonic clus and hidden mysteries

Chapter Five: The Journey Ends—For Now

Appendix A: Symbolic Systems
Appendix B: The Sinclair Family
Appendix C: Death and Resurrection
Appendix D: A Suggested Reading List

 About the Author

David A. Shugarts is an award-winning journalist, investigative reporter, and editor with thirty years’ experience on newspapers and magazines. He is also an essential part of the “Secrets” team, as a Contributing Editor to Secrets of the Code (for which he wrote the highly praised “Plot Flaws” analysis of The Da Vinci Code), and Senior Contributing Editor to Secrets of Angels & Demons (where he again wrote on the plot flaws and intriguing details of Secrets of Angels & Demons as well as an essay on the books’ use of technology).

For the new, updated paperback of Secrets of the Code, he wrote a ground-breaking mini-biography of the man who has revealed little about himself to the public: Dan Brown.