Book Review: Secrets of The Widow’s Son

David Shugarts’ book, “Secrets of the Widow’s Son,” is a guide to Dan Brown’s novel “The Lost Symbol,” much in the same manner as the prior two books he was involved in. Shugarts is a contributor and editor of the two earlier books that revealed many of the historical facts and mysteries in Dan Brown’s books “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.” While caught up in the research involved in the books “Secrets of the Code” and “Secrets of Angels and Demons,” he developed a deep interest in what direction Dan Brown would take in his next blockbuster book. By ferreting out clues in “The Da Vinci Code,” Shugarts was sure the Dan Brown would place his next novel in Washington, D. C. and have the history of the city and its Freemason founders as an integral part of the book. In an unprecedented event, Shugarts released his “Secrets of the Widow’s Son” prior to the release of Dan Brown’s book “The Lost Symbol.” At the time of the writing of Shugarts’ book, the working title for “The Lost Symbol” was “The Solomon Key,” a point of confusion for many who didn’t realize that the title had changed after Shugarts’ book was released.

Shugarts has successfully attempted to give the reader a rich background in the historical facts, the symbols, and the main themes of Brown’s book. He guides the reader through a version of American history rarely revealed in standard textbooks. Many do not know that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, a significant number of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and many other important men of the time were Freemasons. The deep involvement of members of the Masons prior to the founding of the United States, during the Revolution, and throughout the building of a new nation based on many of the enlightened, democratic ideas of Freemasonry, is documented by Shugarts. His goal is to give Brown’s readers a solid, factual base about Masonry and its role in the founding of the United States before they read “The Lost Symbol.” He makes no attempt at spoiling the plot of “The Lost Symbol,” rather he seeks to enrich the readers’ experience of the book by giving them a new depth of knowledge enhancing their enjoyment of the book and giving them new insight into the founding of our nation.

Extensively researched, “Secrets of the Widow’s Son” is built upon vast investigation into the history revealed in the book. The title itself comes from the clue that led Shugarts to guessing the setting of Brown’s book. In the inner dust jacket of “The Da Vinci Code,” Shugarts revealed the phrase, “Is there no help for the widow’s son” by deciphering some faintly bolder letters of the book’s synopsis.

Washington is replete with Masonic symbols and Shugarts was sure that Brown would pull these into his new novel. The founders left plenty of evidence of Freemasonry’s influence in the buildings, the monuments, and even the city plan of Washington. Shugarts digs into all of the most obvious, such as the Egyptian inspired obelisk of the Washington Monument, and many other structures that few realize the significance of. A fascinating look at our own capital city, “Secrets of the Widow’s Son” is a fun read for the history enthusiast or the Dan Brown lover.

“The Secrets of the Widow’s Son” begins with the riddle of how Shugarts revealed the setting of Brown’s new book is detailed. Then Shugarts delves into the meanings of the Widow’s Son and the Solomon Key. Progressing from there, the book takes an in-depth look at the philosophical, spiritual, and ideological themes that tie the Masons to the birth of the nation. Finally, Shugarts looks at the city of Washington, revealing each of the symbols the Masons embedded in the capital. Four fascinating appendices outline the further information to enrich the reader’s experience.

Shugarts comes from a background of investigative journalism and publishing. He entered his involvement with the Brown books after finding several inaccuracies dealing with aviation in “The Da Vinci Code.” This led him to question whether there were other inaccuracies and his enthusiastic research began.