Very felicitous: Felicity Jones to star in film version of Dan Brown’s Inferno?

Felicity JonesAccording to well-informed Hollywood sources, British actress Felicity Jones is being romanced to star as Sienna Brooks in the film version of Dan Browns 2013 novel, Inferno.

Close readers of the novel (and those who followed our book, Secrets of Inferno) may be aware that Siennas actual first name is supposed to be Felicity. Her full name, Felicity Sienna Brooks, generates this characters transhumanist code name, FS 2080which becomes a key plot trick in BrownInferno. In transhumanist style, the initials derive from the first and middle name and the numbers derive from the year in which that person would be one hundred years old. (Felicity Sienna Brooks is said to be born in 1980thus the 2080 part of her code name.)  The fictional character is just slightly older than Felicity Jones, who was born in 1983.

The real Felicity Jones bears a few other resemblances to the fictional Sienna Brooks. Like all Dan Browns female lead characters, Sienna Brooks is said to brainy off the charts, with a record high IQ. Were not sure how high Felicity Joness IQ is, but she did graduate from Oxford and is said to have done very well academically there. In the novel, we learn that Sienna Brooks performed Shakespeare brilliantly in her youth; Felicity Jones was also a Shakespearean thespian at the beginning of her career.

Felicity Jones is best known for her role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and currently stars in The Theory of Everything as Stephen Hawkings wife Jane. She also has some terrific appearances as Worrickers (Bill Nighys) daughter in the recently aired British TV production, Salting the Battlefield.

It seems she would be a great addition to the cast of Inferno, assuming they can get her.

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Mad Money’s Jim Cramer on bulls, bears, and Dante

CNBC’s Jim Cramer analogized Twitter’s recent earnings call to navigating Dante’s nine circles of hell. After hearing that, we did a little checking and discovered that Cramer frequently alludes to the great Italian poet of the 13th and 14th centuries. Earlier this fall, as ebola and other global crises brought the stock market to its biggest one-day dip in a long time, Cramer wondered if the long-running bull market had finally arrived at its “Dante moment” when investors would be like the dead souls in Dante’s Divine Comedy who encounter the signpost: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Cramer also recently said of the stock of supercomputer and technical server maker Silicon Graphics (ticker: SGI): “I don’t need to go to that circle in Dante’s hell. That is one nasty stock.”

The Dante references are not new. Back in 2005, a profile of Cramer and his Mad Money TV show noted that “Mad Money… is not stock-picking for dummies. Mr. Cramer, always keen to analogize and edify, recently name-dropped Shakespeare, Melville, Dante and Wee Willie Keeler on his audience before slamming a buzzer that unleashed a flurry of roaring electronic bulls or bears to indicate a buy or sell.”

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Dan Brown’s Inferno, Bio-Plagues, Quarantine, and Ebola

One of the bits of incidental information we learned from Dan Brown’s 2013 novel, Inferno, is that the English-language word “quarantine” comes from the Italian word quaranta, meaning forty, which is the number of days ships were required to be isolated at sea outside the Venetian harbor before passengers and crew could go ashore during the 17th century Black Death/bubonic plague epidemic that ravaged Europe. Brown’s fictional character, Robert Langdon, remembers this bit of trivia while in Venice contemplating the new plague he believes is about to be unleashed upon the world owing to the biotech genius/bad guy Zobrist’s decision to try to save the planet from itself on his own.

With plagues, epidemics, virology, and quarantines in the news every day currently as a result of heightened awareness of the ebola virus, we were reminded of this bit of Dan Brown trivia. And while most experts believe that 21 days is appropriate for ebola quarantines, there are a few voices in the research community who have begun to suggest that something longer may be needed…if not the fully 40 days of a 17th century quarantine, then four weeks instead of three.

While there is no connection to ebola in Inferno, Brown does suggest many of the themes and issues that are being discussed in response to the ebola crisis today. For more on plagues and pandemics in thrillers, the UK’s Guardian offers a good list of books.

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Googling Dante

A Google Adventure Pome by Dan Burstein*

My Google Alerts are set to
Pick up news about
Dante Alighieri, that is
The Dante who is
Author of the Divine Comedy
Leading poet of the last Millennium
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century
Philosopher…Humanist…Political scientist
Father of the Italian language
Thinker and presumptive model
Six hundred years later for
Rodin’s famous sculpture
Pre-Renaissance Renaissance Man
Pre-Luther Reformationist
Imaginer of Heaven and Hell
Florentine citizen, Florentine exile
Lover of Beatrice

My Dante is
Artistic inspirer to so many:
Chaucer Blake Liszt Joyce
Beckett Eliot Botticelli Longfellow
Milton Balzac Borges
Matthew Weiner who mapped
Season Six of
Mad Men to Dante’s Inferno and
Dan Brown whose last
Robert Langdon caper tried to do for
Dante what Brown did a decade ago for

Even though important new scholarship on
Dante is published regularly
Most of the hits I get from my
Google alerts are for other
Dantes Continue reading

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Digital Fortress, Dan Brown’s pre-Da Vinci Code novel, to be adapted for TV

Deadline Hollywood reports that Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress is about to become the basis for a new ABC TV series:

DigitalFortressAfter producing the blockbusters The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is re-teaming with best-selling author Dan Brown to adapt another one of his books, this time for the small screen. Thriller Digital Fortressfrom Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox, where the company is based, has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment…. Written by Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz (Outlaw Country), Digital Fortress an international thriller set in the world of the NSA during a global threat. It’s described as a sexy cat-and-mouse game between a Snowden-esque character that is threatening to release all of the government’s secrets to the highest bidder and our female cryptographer and her elite team who are tasked to stop him. For more info:

Published in 1998, five years before The Da Vinci CodeDigital Fortress was the novel where Dan Brown worked out some of his key plot elements that would ultimately be integrated into his later novels. The ticking time clock; the clever man and the brainy, beautiful woman working as a team against a deadline; intriguing European settings (Seville in Digital Fortress); global stakes; confusion over who the real bad guy is; Brown’s fascination with codes and cryptography; and a hefty sprinkling of technology that has some fundamental resonance with real life issues but no effort at verisimilitude. For all its flaws, the book did foreshadow the NSA scandal, the concerns of people like Edward Snowden, and many other issues that have surfaced in the last few years. It will be interesting to see how it is adapted to the TV medium and an ongoing series.

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Secrets of Inferno makes the “staff picks” table at The Strand in New York City

imageWe are delighted to report this sighting of our book, Secrets of Inferno, on the “Staff Picks” table at The Strand, one of New York’s most wonderful and enduring independent bookstores.

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The Inferno movie is moving toward production

Dan Brown’s 2013 novel Inferno is moving rapidly from page to screen. Sony Pictures, actor Tom Hanks, and director Ron Howard have apparently all agreed to make their third Dan Brown/Robert Langdon adventure flick, following the box office successes of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Filming in Italy, where the first two-thirds of the book’s story is set (Florence and Venice), is scheduled to begin in April. For more info, see the report that recently appeared in Deadline.

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