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In einigen Ländern können durch politische, sicherheitstechnische oder infrastrukturelle Gegebenheiten Einschränkungen bzgl. Bitte berücksichtigen Sie, dass sich bei dem Charakter unserer Reisen und den örtlichen Gegebenheiten unerwartete Situationen ergeben können, wodurch es passieren kann, dass geplante Aktivitäten und Ausflüge nicht durchgeführt werden können oder verändert werden müssen. Auch die Transporte, Unterkünfte und sonstige Beschreibungen des Reiseverlaufs können sich, beispielsweise jahreszeitlich bedingt, verändern.
Der Gesamtzuschnitt der Reise bleibt aber in jedem Fall erhalten. Sie reisen in einer Gruppe, die hauptsächlich aus Deutschen und Niederländern besteht. Belgier, Schweizer und Österreicher sind eventuell auch Teil der Reisegruppe. Die Reise wird von einer deutsch- oder englischsprachigen Reisebegleitung betreut. Hierfür können Mehrkosten entstehen. Alleinreisende sind herzlich willkommen und finden innerhalb unserer Gruppen schnell Anschluss. Frühstück und Abendessen sind in dieser Unterkunft inbegriffen. Das Resort verfügt über eine eigene Tauchschule, bei der auch Schnorchelausrüstung verliehen wird.
Nicht überall sind die Hotels zentral gelegen, jedoch wird Sie der für die Gruppe zur Verfügung stehende Bus vielerorts in die Ortszentren bringen bzw. Grundsätzlich gilt betreffend der Flüge, dass wir uns Änderungen vorbehalten. Die Flugzeiten können sich kurzfristig ändern. Genaue Informationen hierzu erhalten Sie ca.
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Dieser ist landestypisch, aber bequem und mit Klimaanlage ausgestattet. Wir werden häufig - je nach Wunsch und Möglichkeit - die Fahrten für Besichtigungen und Fotostopps unterbrechen. Wir weisen Sie darauf hin, dass diese Fahrt mit einem öffentlichen Zug durchgeführt wird, in dem nur bedingt Sitzplätze für Sie vorab reserviert werden können.
Daher kann es vorkommen, dass die Tickets erst bei der Abfahrt von Ihrem Reisebegleiter für Sie gekauft werden. An verschiedenen Orten ist es möglich, Fahrräder und Motorräder zu mieten. Falls Sie ein Motorrad mieten möchten, sollten Sie einen internationalen Führerschein mitnehmen. Beachten Sie dabei bitte, dass in Sri Lanka Linksverkehr herrscht. Die Überfahrt wird ca. Wer Ruhe sucht kann stundenlang in den botanischen Gärten von Peradeniya spazieren und wem der Sinn nach Kultur pur steht, für den sind die alten Königsstädte Anuradhapura und Polonnaruwa unwiderstehliche Anziehungspunkte.
Einige Ausflugsorte liegen auf den Fahrtstrecken von Ort zu Ort oder sind etwas umständlicher zu erreichen. Die Eintritte sind jedoch nicht eingeschlossen. Um Ihnen einen Überblick zu verschaffen, haben wir Ihnen hier eine Auswahl zusammengestellt:. Ein Visum für Sri Lanka das online zu beantragen ist, ist erforderlich. Auf den Malediven erhalten Sie ein Visum bei Einreise. Weitere Informationen zu Einreisebestimmungen und zur Sicherheit in Ihrem Reiseland finden Sie auf der Website des nassau county single point of access flirten cottbus.
Erfragen Sie den aktuellen Wechselkurs bei Ihrer Bank oder totally free dating ireland. Im Tourismus Beschäftigte sind auf Trinkgelder von unseren Reisenden angewiesen, da die regulären Arbeitslöhne generell niedrig sind. Das Trinkgeld ist ein fester Bestandteil ihres Einkommens. Bei kleineren Gruppen kann der Betrag entsprechend höher ausfallen. Ihre Reisebegleitung oder ein Reiseteilnehmer auf freiwilliger Basis verwaltet die gemeinsame Trinkgeldkasse und zahlt an Hotelpersonal, Führer, Fahrer usw. Für eine kulinarische Abwechslung finden Sie auch vier Spezialitätenrestaurants vor, darunter ein italienisches und japanisches.
Diese Restaurants sind nicht im Reisepreis inbegriffen. Bei anderen Mahlzeiten können Sie wählen, wo, wie und was Sie essen möchten. Sie können entweder mit der Gruppe essen, aber Sie haben auch die Freiheit, sich selbst irgendwo ein Restaurant auszusuchen. Daher sind diese Mahlzeiten auch nicht im Reisepreis enthalten. In Sri Lanka kann man sich vor allem in den touristischen Gebieten auch mit westlicher Küche verpflegen. Man sollte sich jedoch unbedingt auch auf die einheimische Kochkunst einlassen. Das Hauptnahrungsmittel ist der Reis. Sri Lanka war schon immer als Gewürzinsel bekannt.
Wer gerne scharfes Essen mag, ist hier an der richtigen Adresse. Im Vordergrund stehen verschiedene Variationen von Currygerichten, sei es in vegetarisch, mit Fisch, Fleisch oder Meeresfrüchten. Wenn Sie ein Currygericht mit milder Würzung bestellen möchten, sollten Sie dies extra dazu sagen. Vegetarier können in Sri Lanka überall schmackhafte Gerichte erwarten. Eine Impfberatung durch die Djoser-Mitarbeiter ist leider nicht möglich, da hierzu eine medizinische Ausbildung nötig wäre. Dabei können Sie mit einem ausgebildeten Fachmann abklären, welcher Impfschutz für die von Ihnen gebuchte Reise sinnvoll erscheint.
In diesem Fall kontaktieren Sie uns am besten persönlich. Nicht in Anspruch genommene Leistungen wie z. Bitte informieren Sie uns in diesem Fall im Vorfeld der Reise. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter dem Punkt 'Reisedokumente'. Die Oberflächenform der Insel, insbesondere das zentrale Bergland, sorgt dafür, dass der Sommermonsun überwiegend der West- und Südküste ergiebige Regenfälle bringt. Im Gegensatz dazu kommt es während des Wintermonsuns in den östlichen sowie nördlichen Landesteilen zu verstärkten Niederschlägen.
Die Regenfälle beschränken sich jedoch meist nur auf heftige Schauer in den Nachmittagsstunden, so dass trotz Regenzeit täglich die Sonne scheint. Der regenreichste Monat ist der Mai. Im Jahresverlauf kommt es dabei zu keinen nennenswerten Temperaturunterschieden. Bedingt durch die Höhenlage herrschen im zentralen Bergland andere Temperaturverhältnisse. Einerseits liegt die Durchschnittstemperatur deutlich unter der der Küstenregionen, andererseits sind die Temperaturschwankungen im Tagesverlauf deutlich ausgeprägter. Die Temperaturen fallen selbst nachts selten unter 25 Grad. Den Mittelpunkt der tropfenförmigen Insel bildet das zentrale Bergland, die Central Highlands, das vom Pidurutalagala, dem mit 2.
Die dem zentralen Bergland vorgelagerten, landschaftlich sehr reizvollen Hügelländer fallen treppenartig zum Küstenstreifen hin ab. Die zahlreichen radial verlaufenden Flüsse der Insel überwinden in ihrem Verlauf diese natürlichen Stufen und bieten so ein eindrucksvolles Schauspiel in Form von unzähligen, teilweise grandiosen Wasserfällen. Sie erstrecken sich über km in Nord-Süd-Richtung bis kurz südlich des Äquators und verteilen sich auf 26 Atolle mit Korallenriffen. Dabei handelt es sich um eine internationale Gruppenreise mit Teilnehmern aus den Niederlanden und Belgien sowie aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz.
Die wichtigsten Informationen werden auf Englisch oder Deutsch an unsere Gäste weitergegeben. So sind wir flexibel an Orten zu halten wo wir möchten: Die Wege sind relativ kurz und mit dem Blick aus dem Fenster auf die wunderschöne Landschaft ist die Fahrtzeit nur halb so lang. Von Colombo aus fliegen wir auf die Malediven und fahren in ca. Diese sind, soweit erforderlich, in den Hotels vorhanden. Es wird empfohlen, ein Mückenschutzmittel mitzubringen und sich nachts mit langer Hose und Hemd zu kleiden.
Bitte bedenken Sie, dass es nur dann möglich ist, wenn wir mindestens zwei Nächte an einem Ort bleiben. Während des Aufstiegs haben Sie eine spektakuläre Aussicht auf die Umgebung. Klasse sind limitiert und nicht für Gruppen geeignet. Aus diesem Grund reisen wir in der 2. Klasse, hierfür ist nicht immer eine Sitzplatzreservierungen im Voraus möglich. Da der Ticketverkauf von der Regierung aus gesteuert wird. Weitere Aktivitäten wären Kanufahren, Wasserskifahren, segeln oder einfach mal die Seele baumeln lassen. Alle Mahlzeiten während des Aufenthaltes auf den Malediven sind im Preis inbegriffen.
Sie sind ohne Reisebegleitung auf den Malediven. To this day, both continue to sing and are members of a Symphony Chorus that will be touring Europe this summer. This love of music, like many things my parents loved, was inherited by me. When I was at Amherst I was very interested in music composition and creative writing. I also loved languages. I grew up on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, where my father was a teacher. By chance, the school has a very strong tradition of writing and has a number of famous writers as alumni, including John Irving, Gore Vidal, Daniel Webster, and Peter Benchley.
It is also known for the strictness of its regulations and code of conduct, especially with respect to plagiarism. I notice from the school's website that plagiarism is still considered a "major offence", exactly as it was in my day. While at Phillips Exeter and Amherst College, I pursued advanced writing courses and was published in school literary magazines. At Exeter, I chose "creative writing" as my senior project. At Amherst, I applied for and was accepted to a special writing course with visiting novelist Alan Lelchuk. I studied English and Spanish at school.
During my high school summers, I travelled to Spain on two exchange programs and fell in love with the country. In , while I was still a student at Amherst College, I spent the school year abroad in Seville, Spain, where I enrolled in a two semester art history course at University of Sevil1e. The professor's slide presentations included images ranging from the pyramids, religious icons, renaissance painting and sculpture, all the way through to the pop artists of modem times. This course opened my eyes to the concept of art as "communication" between artist and viewer.
The artist's language, I learned, was often symbolism and metaphor, and the professor's revelation of the hidden meanings of the violent images in Picasso's "La Guemica" has stayed with me to this day, as has his passion for the absolute pain of Michelangelo's Pieta. The course covered many other works that resonated with me as a young man, including the horror of Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son and the bizarre anamorphic sexual nightmares of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. I remember the professor pointing out things I hadn't seen before, including a disembodied hand clutching a dagger and a disciple making a threatening gesture across the throat of another.
The course was a chronology of art history, and I took a specific interest in the renaissance masters of Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci. Both the art course and the country itself had a great influence on my writing. In fact, I was so taken with the architecture of Seville that, ten years later, when I wrote my first novel Digital Fortress , I set much of the action in Seville. I was taught early on at Phillips Exeter that "one must write what one knows". Like many aspects of my life, scenes from my childhood, my relationship with my parents and family, my student years, and my time in Spain all later emerged in my books.
I took piano lessons since the age of six and wrote music throughout high school and college. Once I had finished college in May of, I focused my creative energies on song writing. I left home and moved to Los Angeles, the heart of the song writing industry, where I had limited success in music and paid my rent by working as an English teacher at Beverly Hills Prep School. Over the course of the ten years after college, I wrote and produced four albums of original music. Blythe, like me, loved art. She also was a very talented painter. Despite the Academy's best efforts to promote me, my music career never really took off.
In , Blythe and I vacationed together to Tahiti. Up until this point, almost all of my reading had been dictated by my schooling primarily classics like Faulkner, Steinbeck, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, etc. The Sheldon book was unlike anything I'd read as an adult. It held my attention, kept me turning pages, and reminded me how much fun it could be to read. The simplicity of the prose and efficiency of the storyline was less cumbersome than the dense novels of my schooldays, and I began to suspect that maybe I could write a "thriller" of this type one day.
This inkling, combined with my musical frustrations at that time, planted the seed that perhaps I could write books for a living. As an Easterner, I felt like a fish out of water in Los Angeles. I lived in a low- rent "artists", apartment complex, whose hallways overflowed with unusual individuals-aspiring rock stars, male models, drama queens, and stand-up comics. Amazed by this new world, I thought it might be fun to compile a list of some of the more bizarre sightings. Over the course of a few days, I wrote a list and called it: Blythe thought the list was hilarious.
She quickly wrote several literary agents and included a portion of the list. Having faced disappointment in the music industry, this quick success in publishing surprised and encouraged me. I agreed to sell the manuscript and chose to use a female pseudonym albeit a pretty obvious one, Danielle Brown. Around the time of publication of Men to Avoid, my new literary agent, George Wieser, came across an article I had written for the Phillips Exeter Magazine entitled: The article was a humorous look about the travails of a "preppy geek from New Hampshire" who had been transplanted to Los Angeles.
George told me over lunch that he had seen the article, loved my writing style and "power of observations". He strongly encouraged me to write a novel. He told me that he had been in the business a long time and "knew a novelist when he saw one". Although I still had aspirations of writing a mainstream novel that was as fun to read as the one I'd read in Tahiti, I was still focused on song writing and felt I should give my music career a fair chance to catch on. In addition, I had no idea what I would write about. The "big idea" for my first book came to me by chance. At that time, the U.
Secret Service came to campus and detained one of the students claiming he was a threat to national security. As it turned out, the student had sent a private email to a friend saying how much he hated President Clinton and how he thought the president should be shot. The Secret Service came to campus to make sure the boy wasn't serious. After some interrogation the agents decided the student was harmless, and not much came of it. Nonetheless, the incident really stuck with me. Email was brand new on the scene, and like most people, I assumed email was private. I couldn't figure out how the secret service knew what these students were saying in their email.
I began doing some research into where organizations like the Secret Service get their intelligence data, and what I found out astonished me. I continued researching NSA more in depth. The more I learned about this ultra secret agency and the fascinating moral issues surrounding national security and civilian privacy, the more I realized it could be a great backdrop for a novel. I remember Blythe commenting that life seemed to be trying to tell me something. The music industry was clearly rejecting me, and the publishing industry seemed to be beckoning.
The thrill of being a published author Men To Avoid , combined with George Wieser's words of encouragement, my newfound fascination with NSA, and the vacation reading of Sidney Sheldon's The Doomsday Conspiracy, all had begun to give me confidence that I could indeed write a novel. I quite literally woke up one morning and decided to write a thriller that delved into NSA. That's when I started writing Digital Fortress. NSA is home to the world's most potent computers as well as some of the most brilliant cryptographers, mathematicians, technicians, and analysts.
Digital Fortress is about a brilliant female cryptographer Susan Fletcher who works for NSA and the adventures she and her partner David Becker, a linguist and lecturer have in parallel throughout the book. So, I had my "big idea" for the book. The novel explored what I consider to be a fine line between civilian privacy and national security. My first reaction had been that the security methods used in. When I found out, however, that the NSA helped thwart terrorist attacks, my view changed. Initially, I had been indignant that the NSA was reading emails. But subsequently I realized their work constituted a fascinating moral grey area.
I have followed a very similar approach to researching and then writing each of my four novels. The first step is to select a theme that I find particularly intriguing, this is generally the "big idea". Because my novels are so research intensive, they take up to two years to write, if I am going to stay focused on a two year project, it is imperative that I remain excited about the subject matter. Therefore, I choose a subject which is not black and white, but rather contains a grey area. The ideal topic has no clear right and wrong, no definite good and evil, and makes for great debate.
The one aspect of writing that is by far the most difficult is staying motivated over the entire time that it takes to research and write a novel. I keep myself interested by writing about things that interest me. I have some favourite subjects, which I wove into the Digital Fortress story once I had my "big idea" in place. For me, the "must have" themes include codes, puzzles and treasure hunts, secretive organizations, and academic lectures on obscure topics. For me, writing is a discipline, much like playing a musical instrument; it requires constant practice and honing of skills.
For this reason, I write seven days a week. So, my routine begins at around 4: The routine of writing early began while I was writing Digital Fortress; I had two daytime teaching jobs to pay the bills, and the early mornings were my only free time; I found I liked working at that hour, and though I no longer teach, I have remained faithful to that routine. By making writing my first order of business every day, I am giving it enormous symbolic importance in my life, which helps keep me motivated. If I'm not at my desk by sunrise, I feel like I'm missing my most productive hours.
In addition to starting early, I keep an antique hour glass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups, and some quick stretches. I find this helps keep the blood and ideas flowing. I did all of the research and background reading for Digital Fortress. I found that much of the data on the NSA was unclassified and in the public domain. There are a number of intelligence sources who have written extensive white papers on NSA. For the background reading on computers, viruses, codes and cryptography, I found helpful Bruce Schneiers's famous book Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C.
After the basic reading is done and my theme or "big idea" is in place, I start researching and writing in earnest. I erect the frame on which to build the plot I try to sketch out the overall shape of the story. When I taught creative writing, I told my students they could not select the veneer for the cupboards before they'd poured the foundation for their houses. Because my novels are very "location driven", I always select a series of key settings that I want to use in the novel e. The hero of Digital Fortress, David Becker, finds himself on the run through a landscape of ancient Moorish towers, Sevillian barrios, and the Cathedral of Seville.
Much of the early work is to place these locations in a workable sequence such that the characters can move from one to the next in a logical manner. In trying to craft a suspenseful framework, I decided to throw Becker into a world he did not understand. A lot of the suspense of this novel derives from wondering if these two will be reunited. In general, my plots drive my need for specifics such as the precise vehicle a character will use to move from point A to B rather than vice versa. Although Digital Fortress was very much my first attempt at writing a compelling thriller and there is plenty I would do differently if I were writing it today , it contains some themes that I return to in all of my books.
With the NSA in place, I had the right backdrop to include my favourite theme which is in all of my books --codes and treasure hunts. My books are all "treasure hunts" of sorts. In each of my books, the treasure is an object. I think people enjoy this sort of quest, especially trying to stay a step ahead of the hero by deciphering the clues along the way. I have always been interested in secrets and puzzles. They played a large part in my life growing up in New Hampshire. I grew up in a house of mathematics, music and language; codes and ciphers really are the fusion of all of those things.
In our house there was no television, and I used to spend hours working out anagrams and crossword puzzles. My father has a passion for brain puzzles, and I have inherited this passion. My father inspired my early passion for codes by creating elaborate treasure hunts for our birthdays and Christmas. On Christmas morning when most kids would find their presents under the tree, my siblings and I might find a treasure map with codes and clues that we would follow from room to room and eventually find our presents hidden somewhere else in the house. If properly solved, these clues would lead us to a secret location in our house -or sometimes even lead us to ride around town on our bicycles from one clue to the other, before finding where the presents were hidden.
It was wonderful fun - for me codes and treasure hunts have always been a passion. This early love of codes means that there is a short jump to another favourite subject, namely secrets and secret organizations. All four of my books have the thread of secrecy. All deal with secretive topics - covert spy agencies, conspiracy theories, classified technologies, and secret history. An example of what I mean by "secret history" appears in the opening and closing chapters of Digital Fortress I describe how David Becker, the hero, signs his messages to his lover, Susan Fletcher, the NSA cryptographer, with the words "without wax".
This vexes Susan, much to David's delight. Only at the end of the book do I decode the words and reveal a nugget of history: A statue that has no flaws and required no patching was hailed as a 'sculpture sin cera' or a 'sculpture without wax'. The phrase eventually came to mean anything honest or true. The English word 'sincere' evolved from the Spanish sin cera 'without wax'. David's secret code was no great mystery - he was simply signing his letters 'Sincerely. I remember at the time getting a kick out of the combination of the hidden code and the "nugget" of history.
In my first book, I was still paddling around trying to work out how to write a book and also to find out what I liked to write about. In Digital Fortress there is, for example, a little history, about Galileo, but this is merely window dressing. Once I had stitched together the whole story, I asked Blythe to read the completed manuscript. I also gave a copy to my parents. I incorporated some of their comments and then sent the manuscript to my then agent, George Wieser, in New York. To my great surprise, George called to tell me the first editor who read the manuscript had made an offer to buy it.
Digital Fortress was signed to a publisher - St Martin's Press -in only about 20 days after I finished it. I am very careful about what I send to my publisher. I work a manuscript as far as possible before showing it to anyone rather than submitting rough drafts. By the time my editor sees pages, I have rewritten and polished them many times. For this reason, the first draft normally provokes few suggestions for substantive changes. My editor will take a look at the overall structure of the book and how the whole thing hangs together. He or she might say, for example, "these three chapters in the middle are very slow, it might be a good idea to combine them"; or "this is a very good point, you should expand".
Once I get the feedback from my editor, I completely re-writes and re-submit the manuscript. They both described my submitted manuscript as "exceptionally clean" and requiring very little editing. One thing they did do was suggest that I change the name from "The Worm" to "Digital Fortress', which was the name I had chosen for the unbreakable code described in the book, Once the editor is finished with the manuscript, it is sent to copy editors and fact checkers to review grammar and accuracy. Once my work on the novel is finished, I may take a vacation, in the early days, funds permitting, or start thinking about the next book.
Of course, at this point -Digital Fortress was published in - I was an unknown, unpublished author. I was still teaching English, and some Spanish, to make a living. Money was tight, but we had enough to travel, something Blythe and I both love, and we decided to visit Rome. I had either finished or almost finished Digital Fortress, I am not sure of the time line. Sometime after completing Digital Fortress, I had several other ideas in development but hadn't yet decided on a direction. I had enjoyed writing about the NSA, computers, technology and, of course, "secrets".
It is located in Geneva, Switzerland and employs over 3, of the world's top scientists. I read that CERN was regularly producing small quantities of antimatter in their research for future energy sources. Antimatter holds tremendous promise; it creates no pollution or radiation, and a single droplet could power New York City for a ful1 day. With fossil fuels dwindling, the promise of harnessing antimatter could be an enormous leap for the future of this planet. Of course, mastering antimatter technology brings with it a dilemma: I thought this would make a good plot element for a novel.
I still had not decided on the main topic for my new novel when Blythe and I visited Rome. We were beneath Vatican City touring a tunnel called il passetto -a concealed passageway used by the early Popes to escape in event of enemy attack. It runs from the Vatican to Castle Saint Angelo. According to the tour guide, one of the Vatican's most feared ancient enemies was a group of early scientists who had vowed revenge against the Vatican for crimes against scientists like Galileo and Copernicus. History had called them many things - the enlightened ones, the Illuminati, The Cult of Galileo.
I added the Illuminati to my mixing pot of ideas. Upon my return home, I started looking into the Illuminati, and what I found was material for a great thriller. I read conspiracy theories on the Illuminati that included infiltration of the British Parliament and U. Treasury, secret involvement with the Masons, affiliation with covert satanic cults, a plan for a New World Order, and even the resurgence of their ancient pact to destroy Vatican City. However, as much as I liked the idea of the Illuminati and using Rome as a dramatic stage , I still had all the material on CERN and antimatter, which I did not want to go to waste.
The question was how to combine the two ideas. Both in prep school and college, I had studied science, including that of Galileo, modem cosmology, and Darwin. I also attended church camp and was trying to reconcile science and religion in my own mind. My parents' opposing views my father an agnostic mathematician and my mother a religious church musician made for an interesting childhood. I grew up surrounded by the paradoxical philosophies of science and religion, and though I wanted to believe in Christianity, as I got older and studied more science, I had a hard time reconciling the two.
I once asked a priest how I could believe both the "the Big Bang" and the story of Genesis, and the "matter of faith" type response I received never answered my questions. At college, I completed a cosmology course that included a section on Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, and the Vatican Inquisition against science. Science and religion was a very large part of my life from grade school all the way through college, and I wanted to make them harmonious on a personal level. The recurring theme that excited me was the idea that science and religion were now dabbling in common areas.
These two ancient enemies were starting to find shared ground, and CERN was at the forefront of that research. The grey area that interested me was the ongoing battle between science and religion, and the faint hope of reconciliation between the two. This was my "big idea" and my "grey area". Much more so than with Digital Fortress, I thought I had hit on 'something that really would keep my attention for the next two years. I used the description 'Partial Bibliography' as a lot of my research comes from conversations, research trips, online sources, etc.
I found some of the science v. In both novels, the books appear on a, character's book-shelf. Robert Langdon is amalgam of many people I admire. In the early 's, I first saw the art work of John Langdon. John is an artist and philosopher, a close friend of my father and, I think, one of our true geniuses. He is most famous for his ability to create "ambigrams" - words that read the same both right side up and up side down see, for example, his book Wordplay D. John's art changed the way I think about symmetry, symbols, and art - he looks at art from different perspectives.
John did the artwork, and the CD was released in with John's ambigram on the cover. I thought it was a fantastic name. Every character has his purpose, and with Langdon I wanted to create a teacher. Many of the people I admire most are teachers --my father is the obvious figure from my own life. My father had introduced me to the artwork of M. Escher he lectured worldwide on symmetry and M. John Langdon is also a teacher. Another teacher I greatly admire is Joseph Campbell, a religious historian; symbologist, and partial inspiration for my character.
Roughly around about this time, I watched a TV program, "The Power of Myth", in which Bill Moyers interviewed Joseph Campbell about the deeper meanings of symbols and art from many different cultures and creeds. I recall being impressed by Campbell's open-minded and unthreatening delivery, especially when he spoke about controversial topics like myths and untruths in religion. I recall thinking that I wanted my character Robert Langdon to have this same open-minded tone. In choosing what characters to include in a novel, I select characters who have sets of skills that help move the plot along and also permit me to introduce information.
Robert Langdon is a symbologist and art historian for the same reason that the heroine in Digital Fortress is a cryptologist; these characters help decipher clues and teach the reader. Vittoria is a scientist - a Marine Biologist who specializes in the new field of Entanglement Physics. I've spoken to physicists about this new field and the incredible experiments they are now running, some with the hope of proving' God exists. Some experiments have been run in hopes of proving unseen communication between separate animal entities. One such experiment I read about involved a sea turtle egg.
Sea turtle eggs are unique in that a nest of hundreds of eggs will all hatch at the exact same moment. In an effort to determine how this took place, scientists removed one egg and placed it in a terrarium halfway around the globe with a video camera. As soon as the eggs in the nest started hatching, the eggs on the other side of the globe started hatching simultaneously. I find these kind of experiments fascinating. I wanted a character who could credibly share this kind of information with my readers. It was a real joy for me to write, and a breakthrough in terms of finding my own style although I can only say that with hindsight.
I intend to make Robert Langdon my primary character for years to come. His expertise in symbology and iconography affords him the luxury of potentially limitless adventures in exotic locales. It was also a book in which Blythe could be more involved, as she has a great love of art and art history. In that book I found the history behind the phrase "without wax" fascinating, and with this new book there was a lot more to play with. I thought, with the right background, story and characters, this could make for a lot of fun for both me, in researching and writing the book, and hopefully for any readers of the book.
Some histories claim the Illuminati vowed vengeance against the Vatican in the 's. The early Illuminati - those of Galileo's day- were expelled from Rome by the Vatican and hunted mercilessly. The Illuminati fled and went into hiding in Bavaria where they began mixing with other refugee groups fleeing the Catholic purges --mystics, alchemists, scientists, occultists, Muslims, Jews. But most of all, it is a story about Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist who gets caught in the middle. Much of the novel's story is a chase across modem Rome - through catacombs, cathedrals, piazzas, and even the Vatican's subterranean Necropolis.
Although there are some similarities with my first book - the murder, the chase through a foreign location, the action taking place all in 24 hours, the codes, the ticking clock, the strong male and female characters, the love interest - I think the real advances I made in the second novel were as follows. I tried to write a book that I would love to read. The kind of books I enjoy are those in which you learn. My hope was that readers would be entertained and also learn enough to want to use the book as a point of departure for more reading. When I was researching the book, I would learn things that fascinated readers.
Rome was a location that allowed me to immerse myself in the history of religion, art, and architecture. For example, I visited the Pantheon. The docent talked to me about the history of the building - specifically its use as a pagan temple before being converted to Christian church. We talked about Constantine's role in converting the pagans including the Mithraics and the cult of Sol Invictus. Although I was familiar with Constantine, I learned about the cult of Sol Invictus, which was new to me, in particular its role in the choice of some of the dates of Christian holidays.
He mentions Sol Invictus and Christianity borrowing from the previous religions. I had played with the subject of secretive organizations and hidden information in the first book in a high-tech setting. For example, the design of the Great Seal on the U. The pyramid, I learned, was actually an Egyptian occult symbol representing a convergence upward toward the ultimate source of illumination: The eye inside the triangle is a pagan symbol adopted by the Illuminati to signify the brotherhood's ability to infiltrate and watch all things.
In addition, the triangle Greek Delta is the scientific symbol for change. Some historians feel the Great Seal's 'shining delta' is symbolic of the Illuminati's desire to bring about 'enlightened change' from the myth of religion to the truth of science. All of this research and reading about the Illuminati led me also to learning more about Freemasons. This research was something I would come back to when I started to write and research The Da Vinci Code and also the book which I am currently writing. I found Templar history fascinating. My recollection is that I had considered including more material on the Templars but decided to set it aside because I could not make all of Templar history fit into the tight framework of this novel.
I have asked myself why all this clandestine material interests me. At a fundamental level my interest in secret societies came from growing up in New England, surrounded by the clandestine clubs of Ivy League universities, the Masonic lodges of the Founding Fathers, and the hidden hallways of early government power. I see New England as having a long tradition of elite private clubs, fraternities, and secrecy - indeed, my third Robert Langdon novel a work in progress is set within the Masons. I have always found the concept of secret societies, codes, and means of communication fascinating.
I had good friends who were members of Harvard's secret "finals" clubs. In the town where I grew up, there was a Masonic lodge, and nobody could or would tell me what happened behind those closed doors. All of this secrecy captivated me as a young man. In my first book, the cracking of the code is what accelerates the reader through the pages. One challenge when "presenting the reader with a complicated code is to control the flow of information so the overall mystery is not overwhelming. Finding a plot device that enables me to dole out information in bite size pieces is helpful.
Langdon, as a teacher, symbologist and art historian, satisfies dual prerequisites for my hero - that of being a credible teacher and also of being knowledgeable enough to decipher the clues in the artistic treasure hunts I create. In this second novel, I laid down a very strict outline of what was going to happen in this book and worked hard to stay on track while fleshing out the story. I wanted every single chapter to compel the reader to turn the page. I was taught that efficiency of words is the way an author respects his readers' time, and so I trimmed the novel heavily while I was writing.
I compressed the plot and action to intensify the pace of the read, and I tried to keep the reader abreast of where the characters were physically, at all times. That seems to help the reader's feeling that he is right there the entire time. In addition, I tried to end every chapter with a cliff-hanger. All of my books have a very similar style, and I believe it to be the elements of this style e. All of my novels use the concept of a simple hero pulled out of his familiar world and thrown into a world that he or she, in Deception Point does not understand.
I use strong female characters; travel and interesting locations; a romance between a man and woman of complementary expertise; a ticking clock all my novels are set in 24 hours. Structural elements are consistent in every book. I think that it is not so much what I write which is compelling but how I say it. I must admit, however, that I did not realize this until my first three novels became huge bestsellers after The Da Vinci Code. The hard part of writing a novel is not the ideas but rather the nuts and bolts of the plot and language and making it all work.
Examining religion, art, and architecture was exciting to me. I loved researching these subjects; as did my wife, Blythe. Although I had researched Digital Fortress entirely on my own, for this new book Blythe became my research assistant. We were able to work together as husband and wife; I now had a sounding board and a travel partner on research trips. Although Blythe's main interest and expertise was art, I. She also served as a first pass set of eyes for new sections I was writing. Architecture, art, sculpture, and religion are all intertwined, and nowhere more so than in Rome and Vatican City.
Once I started to look at artwork for inclusion in the story, I began to focus on particular artists. I had studied Bernini in Seville and knew a lot about his paintings and work. I was intrigued by the concept that Bernini's artwork might contain hidden messages; I had learned in art history classes that artists like Bernini and Da Vinci , when commissioned to create religious art that may have been contrary to their own beliefs, often placed second levels of meaning in their art. As the novel's Author's Notes says, all of the works of art, tombs, tunnels, and architecture in Rome are entirely factual.
It took me two separate trips to Rome to locate what I needed. Blythe and I walked miles, took hundreds of photos, and explored the city using all kinds of guidebooks, maps, and tours. The second trip I went over with an art specialist who had ties inside the Vatican. The Vatican has a staggering collection of Renaissance masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini. We spent a week in Rome, and our contact facilitated our gaining special access to the Scavi, access to the unclassified sections of the Vatican archives, as well as our seeing the Pope, both at a mass and in his audience hall.
Unfortunately, I did not get access to the Vatican secret archives. There are only a few American scholars who have been allowed into the secret archives; Many of the books inside have been there for hundreds of years, and some have never been seen. I have read that there are four miles of shelves in the Vatican secret archives, and I became captivated by the prospect of what might be kept down there. Before my first visit, I had petitioned for access to certain documents within the Vatican Archives. Not at all surprising to me, my request was denied.
Nonetheless, our contact there generously arranged for us to see several restricted areas of the Vatican, including the Necropolis the city of the dead buried beneath the Vatican , St. I had taken matters into my own hands. I spent my own money on publicity. I booked more than a hundred radio interviews, doing several a day for months. I decided that I would change publishing houses. They promised to give the book considerably more publicity and support than my previous publishers. Their proposed publicity included a much larger print run 60, , advertising in major newspapers, web advertising, a 12 city tour, an e-book release, and other exciting prospects.
Unfortunately, when the book came out, my print run was slashed down to 12, copies with virtually no publicity at all. I was once again on my own and despite enthusiastic reviews, the novel sold poorly. Blythe and I were heartbroken as we had put so much work into this book. Once again, we took matters into our own hands, booking our own signings, booking our own radio shows, and selling books out of our car at local events. At this point, my motivation was running thin. At the time, that was a big financial incentive.
This was not an easy time financially. I remember that we were forced to literally sell books out of our car at low profile publishing events. The store where we buy most of our books, The Water Street Bookstore in Exeter New Hampshire, was hand selling my books, but the superstores still did not even know my name. Doing our own publicity and self-funding a book tour was expensive and exhausting. I was seriously considering not writing again. I learned a lot about publicity during this time, none of it very encouraging. I was told that the window of opportunity in book publishing was only a few weeks and that an author needed to reach a critical mass of readers very quickly after release, or the bookstores would return his books to the publisher to make room for the next round of new books.
This is why large scale, coordinated launches are needed to make a success of most books. I realised I could not do it alone, no matter how hard I tried,. As I said, this period around was a very difficult time for me, but I remained hopeful. I was exhausted from the research and writing of such a complicated religious thriller, and I felt like I needed a break from symbols and art history. I felt like I needed a change of pace. I decided to write what I later termed a "palate cleanser". After writing about the covert National Security Agency and the clandestine brotherhood of the llluminati, I found myself hard pressed to come up with a more secretive topic.
Fortunately, I had recently learned of another US intelligence agency, more covert even than the National Security Agency. The research I had completed for the first book, Digital Fortress; was a good starting point for the third book. I had a lot of information on national security, technology, funding and other government departments. At the time, the press had also been commenting on NASA's string of failures and the feasibility of private aerospace companies taking over NASA's role. This debate gave me my "big idea". I became very interested in the question of whether it made sense for my tax dollars to fund trips to Mars while the very school in which I was teaching could barely afford an art teacher.
Then again, could we as human beings really give up our quest for discovery in space? Deception Point centred on issues of morality in politics, human progress, national security, and classified technology. The crux of the novel was the link between NASA, the military, and the political pressures of big budget technology. The novel was a thriller about a meteorite discovered in the Arctic - a discovery that turns out to have profound political ramifications for an impending presidential election. The set up gave me a chance to debate and explore topics of morality in politics and science.
Of course, there is a twist in the tale, as there is in all my books. Like its predecessors, Deception Point incorporates my usual elements - a secretive organization, a love story, a chase, and plenty of academic lecture. At the heart, however, my books are all essentially treasure hunts set within a 24 hour period. Unfortunately for Blythe, the technological subject matter of Deception Point did not interest her much. She helped research some of the geology and glaciology, the architecture of the White House, Air Force One, etc. Unfortunately, it was not.
Halfway through writing Deception Point I began to think that maybe I had made a mistake with this palate cleanser. I was feeling bored by the topic. I was no longer keen on politics - which was part of the story in Deception Point - and I did not enjoy writing with a female lead. I had been far more interested in the Vatican, Langdon, codes, symbology, and art. I wasn't enjoying writing, I had no money, and I found myself wondering once again if I should give up. Fortunately, my wife has always been a tremendous support system and she encouraged me to keep at it.
In addition to Blythe's support, my parents both avid readers repeatedly assured me the novels were commercial and that I just needed to find the right publisher. It was thereon the Yucatan Peninsula, exploring the ancient Mayan pyramids and archaeological ruins of Chichen-Itza and Tulum, that I was at last able to leave behind the high tech world of Deception Point. We were immersed in ancient ruins and lost cultures, and this intriguing history was tickling my imagination again. I began to muster the sense that I might be able to write another novel.
At that point, I had no doubt who my hero would be - I would return to the world of Robert Langdon. This sequel would ultimately become The Da Vinci Code. Many of Sauniere's clues involve wordplay and relate to Leonardo da Vinci. The novel is, at its core, a treasure hunt through Paris, London, and Edinburgh. The story is a blend of historical fact, legend, myth, and fiction. The novel's themes include: Many of the themes mentioned above have been popular topics for centuries. One can find explorations of them in many languages, including the languages of art, literature, and music specifically the songs of the Troubadours, the game of Tarot cards, and travelling storytellers.
Many of the aforementioned themes from The Da Vinci Code fall in a category I often call "secret history" - those parts of mankind's past that allegedly have been lost or have become muddied by time, historical revision, or subversion. Of course, it is impossible when looking at secret history to know how much is truth, and how much is myth or fanciful invention. This blend of fact and potential intrigues me and is one of the reasons I love Leonardo da Vinci. Some of the most dramatic hints to possible lost "secret history" can be found in the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, which seem to overflow with mystifying symbolism, anomalies, and codes.
Art historians agree that Da Vinci's paintings contain hidden levels of meaning that go well beneath the surface of the paint. Of course, some "secret history" may be fact, some fiction. This idea, of course, excited me as a potential plot device. The Da Vinci Code has taken a lot of this infom1ation and put it forward in a different genre - that of a work of fiction, a thriller. On the way, we met with historians and other academics and extended our travels from the Vatican and France to England and Scotland in order to investigate the historical underpinnings of the novel. In preparing this statement, what I have done is gone back to my research books and notes and thought long and hard about how these big ideas came to the surface.
In doing so, I see that more notes have survived from The Da Vinci Code than from any of my previous novels. This is not surprising. I am not a pack rat; in fact, I'm the exact opposite. In the same way that I try to trim the fat from my writing, I am constantly trimming excess clutter from my life. I have discarded most of my life's memorabilia, including personal letters, grade school essays, early diaries, and even academic commendations. I trashed my first manuscript for Digital Fortress which I now regret and even disposed of most lyric notes and demo tapes from my years as a songwriter.
Also, we have moved house four times since I began writing, and heavy boxes of old notes rank very high on my "to discard" list. I believe another reason that I found more notes from The Da Vinci Code is that it has been the most research intensive of my novels to date. It was my fourth novel, and I was getting better at writing; in the same way a musician chooses to perform harder and harder pieces as he masters his instrument, I was eager to tackle more complicated plotlines. My research books for The Da Vinci Code are heavily marked with margin notes, sticky notes, underlining, highlighting, inserted pieces of paper, etc.
She is passionate about art and secret history and was enjoying educating herself and being involved in the research. With The Da Vinci Code, however, she was reading entire books, highlighting exciting ideas, and urging me to read the material myself and find ways to work the ideas in to the plot. In particular, she became passionate about the history of the Church's suppression of women, and she lobbied hard for me to make it a primary theme of the novel. Blythe also tends to save far more memorabilia than I do; many of the research notes were now hers, and more of them found their way into safe-keeping.
Looking back at the books, I can see that we were highlighting all the big concepts that eventually appeared in the final draft of the book. In the following paragraphs, I have noted specific parts of source works we looked at to illustrate this point - this is not an exhaustive review of the research we did, but it gives an indication of the parameters and extent of the research. In beginning to write The Da Vinci Code, I tried to place my head back in to the world of Robert Langdon - the world of art, religion, secrets, and symbols.
This included my research on the brotherhood of the Masons and on The Knights Templar. As I have pointed out, the links between the Illuminati and the Masons are well documented, and one can hardly read about the Masons and not also read about the Knights Templar. Blythe and I began buying additional research books on these groups. We already owned several books about the Masons e. In looking back at what we were buying at around this time, the titles included: All four books are listed in the partial bibliography I produced for the Synopsis for The Da Vinci Code, which I later submitted to publishers, including Random House see This well-documented legend literally buried treasure held my interest for a time, and I toyed with it as an element for this new novel.
I soon decided that Nova Scotia was not an ideal setting for a novel because it did not afford me the many options I would need for dramatic settings. At the outset of the project, one of my desires was to explore the origin of the Bible. The Bible is, in many respects, like any other compilation - it is a heavily edited collection of many authors' works. Even so, many people accept what is said in the Bible to be absolute fact. Another reason for selecting the topic of the Bible was my fascination with religion in general. To put it at its simplest, although religion often did good things and helped a lot of people, I could see that there were also many situations where any religion could be used for evil purposes.
I found this clash to be potentially fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of my novel. I thought that perhaps this would be the theme, or "big idea" of the novel. The theme of the Bible and religion took me to the Gnostic Gospels essentially those parts of the Bible that were drafted, but ultimately did not appear in the final version and, therefore had not been widely read. At this early stage I thought that the answer to this question would be, in essence, material contained in alternative drafts of the Bible and the Gnostic Gospels - the story we read in the Bible is a partial story and it is an edited story.
Many historians believe that the Gnostic Gospels are one of the missing pieces. I thought that it may be an idea to look at that history through a slightly different lens, that lens being the exploration of those books of the Bible that were omitted from Constantine's version. This book examines the role of the Masons and The Knights Templar in excavating and then hiding a cache of early Christian writings. It also mentions the family of Jesus siblings as opposed to children , the origins of Christianity, the Gnostic Gospels, and Rosslyn Chapel, in Edinburgh. Looking back at my copy of The Hiram Key.
I can see that either Blythe or myself has underlined passages that speculate as to the nature of what the Templars found and the subsequent impact on Christianity. We also underlined sections that deal with Constantine and the importance of Sol Invictus in determining modern Christian dates and practices. I can see from our copy of The Hiram Key D. In my childhood, I was taught never to write in books. To this day, I still have a strong aversion to it. In fact, when I first became published and people asked me to sign their editions, I felt funny about it.
For this reason, my margin notes often are very light or taken down on a separate piece of paper. Blythe does not share my idiosyncrasy, and she often marks books very heavily. She also often produced research documents for me as a result of her studies of the books. An example from The Hiram Key is "hiram's key notes" D. It can be seen from that document that she included a number of page references which she thought I should consult. The above references to my books and documents are byway of example as are the other examples I cite in this statement.
When I am researching and writing a novel I read a lot of material. There is, of course, additional material in all of these sources which I would have seen, either because I read the book or because the research would suggest I read certain sections. Usually, I carefully read the notes Blythe prepared for me, but on some occasions she prepared notes that were either too lengthy which I skimmed or ignored , seemed off-topic notes that were of interest to her, but for which I had no use , or were outdated sometimes I asked for information and then changed my mind or deleted that plot point.
One of the new research books we found that I found most intriguing was The Templar Revelation. I think we discovered this book by chance during one of my book signings for Deception Point at a large chain bookstore. Even today, this kind of book is the type that we would pick up. I think this discovery was very early on in the research process --at this stage, I did not yet have a title for the novel. I was still hunting around for the "big idea". The Templar Revelation discussed secret Templar history and the possible involvement of Leonardo da Vinci.
This Da Vinci connection fit well into my desire to write in Langdon's domain, the world of art. I became excited about using Leonardo da Vinci as an historical touchstone and plot device for my new novel. Moreover, I knew Blythe was an enormous fan of Leonardo da Vinci and would be eager to help me research. Leonardo da Vinci is often described as a man who awoke from a deep slumber only to find that the rest of the world was still sleeping. An artist, inventor, mathematician, alchemist, he was a man centuries ahead of his time. Perhaps the greatest scientist the world had ever seen, Da Vinci faced the challenge of being a modem man of reason born into an age of religious fervour; an era when science was synonymous with heresy.
Men like Galileo and Copernicus, in studying astronomy and the heavens, were considered trespassers -invaders in a sacred domain whose mysteries previously had been reserved for the traditional scholars of heaven -the priests. The Church believed that the magic of the universe the stars, the seasons; planets were evidence of God's almighty design. They were miracles to be revered as such, not scientific riddles to be unravelled and de mystified with telescopes and mathematics. Surprisingly, despite Da Vinci's lifelong conflict with religion, he was a deeply spiritual man.
Like Galileo, Da Vinci looked at nature's miracles, and in them, he saw proof of a divine Creator. The ratio PHl is a perfect example of this. Leonardo da Vinci employed this "Golden Ratio" in much of his f religious artwork. His philosophy was one in which science and religion lived in harmony.
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