|Dan Brown, the author who turned secret societies and cryptic conspiracies into an international sensation with his bestseller THE DA VINCI CODE, is surprisingly forthcoming about his own life. He was born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1964, and he attended the Phillips Exeter Academy, the renowned boarding school that has been famously depicted in award-winning works by John Knowles and Robert Anderson. Brown's father was a teacher at Exeter, and Brown himself later taught there before turning full-time to writing. Brown majored in Spanish and English at Amherst College in Massachusetts, and he spent multiple semesters studying abroad in Spain. Brown would later recall a particularly memorable lecture he attended in Seville, wherein the professor pontificated on some of the dark oddities to be found within Leonardo Da Vinci's legendary painting "The Last Supper." After graduation, Brown spent time in Los Angeles, where he worked as a songwriter and met his wife, Blythe, whom he would marry in 1997. After returning to the east coast, Brown published his first novel, DIGITAL FORTRESS, a thriller about a code encrypted in the powerful computers of the National Security Agency. The book failed to find a significant audience, and Brown's next two efforts, ANGELS & DEMONS and DECEPTION POINT, were similarly ignored. But in 2003, the stars aligned and the codes clicked into place for Brown.||THE DA VINCI CODE became one of the biggest, and most controversial, bestsellers in publishing history. It quickly garnered the ire of the Christian community for its blasphemous portrayal of a relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. Brown never hid from the criticism, and openly defended his book (and reminded people that it was a work of fiction) from many forums. He also had to (successfully) defend himself against charges of plagiarism from the authors of the 1982 book HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL, who claimed that Brown's religious ideas were lifted from their work. After the fervor surrounding the book finally settled a bit, Brown receded into seclusion to work on the much-anticipated sequel.