Kate Ward
July 10, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

On July 7, Dan Brown fans made like Robert Langdon and began decoding the cover art for Brown’s The Lost Symbol (Sept. 15). We gathered their theories and asked Chris Hodapp, author of Solomon’s Builders, for his.
Red Seal: Fans point out its similarity to the seal of the Scottish Rite, a branch of Freemasonry based in part in Washington, D.C. The number 33 — contained inside the triangle — alludes to a high ranking in that branch, says Hodapp.
Background Glyphs: Some speculate that these symbols simply serve as wallpaper, but Hodapp thinks they may have been drawn from alchemy or the zodiac.
The Capitol: Brown’s third Langdon novel follows the professor on a 12-hour adventure in D.C. ”I suspect there are places in the city’s architecture that have signs of the zodiac built in,” Hodapp says. ”That would be a good starting place for the plot points.” And for rabid fans who can’t wait for Sept. 15.

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