Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 52 languages around the world with 200 million copies in print.
In 2005, Brown was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, whose editors credited him with “keeping the publishing industry afloat; renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci and early Christian history; spiking tourism to Paris and Rome; a growing membership in secret societies; the ire of Cardinals in Rome; eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven guides to read along with it; a flood of historical thrillers; and a major motion picture franchise.”
The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he later returned to teach English before focusing his attention full time to writing.
Brown is currently at work on a new book as well as the Columbia Pictures film version of his most recent novel.
1. Kathleen McGowan
Kathleen McGowan is an American author. Her novel The Expected One sold over a million copies worldwide and has appeared in over fifty languages. She claims to be a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
The Magdalene Line is a series of novels, featuring both fictitious and historical female characters which the author believes history has either misrepresented or obliterated.
Kathleen McGowan began working on the first novel The Expected One in 1989. Focusing on the role of Mary Magdalene, it was self-published in 2005, and sold 2,500 copies. On July 25, 2006, the book was re-published by Simon & Schuster under the Touchstone imprint.
The second novel of the series is The Book of Love, published in 2009, focusing on the life of Mathilda of Canossa.
The third novel of the series is The Poet Prince, published in 2010, focusing on the life of Lorenzo de Medici.
Each novel of the series features the fictitious heroine Maureen Paschal, who is tasked with uncovering alleged historical and Christian enigmas. Other fictitious characters include Berenger Sinclair and Tamara Wisdom, as well as the enigmatic character Destino.
2. Clive Eric Cussler
Clive Eric Cussler is an American adventure novelist and underwater explorer. His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than 20 times. Cussler is the founder and chairman of the real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and numerous other notable underwater wrecks. He is the sole author or lead author of more than 70 books.
After his discharge from the military, Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation’s most successful advertising agencies. As part of his duties Cussler produced radio and television commercials, many of which won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler’s first nonfiction work, The Sea Hunters, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis. This was the first time in the college’s 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded.
In 2002 Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration. Cussler is a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographic Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers.
3. John Ray Grisham
John Ray Grisham is an American bestselling writer, attorney, politician, and activist best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.
John Grisham graduated from Mississippi State University before attending the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade and served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to September 1990.
He began writing his first novel, A Time to Kill, in 1984; it was published in June 1989. As of 2012, his books had sold over 275 million copies worldwide. A Galaxy British Book Awards winner, Grisham is one of only three authors to sell 2 million copies on a first printing; the others are Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling.
Grisham’s first bestseller was The Firm (1991); it sold more than seven million copies. The book was adapted into a 1993 feature film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise, and a 2012 TV series which “continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel.” Eight of his other novels have also been adapted into films: The Chamber, The Client, A Painted House, The Pelican Brief, Skipping Christmas, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, and A Time to Kill.
4. Sam Bourne
Sam Bourne is the literary pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, an award-winning British journalist and broadcaster. He has written a weekly column for The Guardian since 1997, having previously served as the paper’s Washington correspondent. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The New Republic, and The Jewish Chronicle, and he presents BBC Radio 4’s contemporary-history series The Long View.
For nearly two decades he has covered the Middle East conflict, and in 2002 he chaired a three-day dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, which was sponsored by The Guardian. The participants in that meeting went on to broker the 2003 Geneva Accord.
Freedland is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Righteous Men, also a number-one bestseller in the UK, which has been translated into thirty-one languages, and the nonfiction works Jacob’s Gift and Bring Home the Revolution. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
5. Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 210 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. He is the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and the Jason Bourne series–The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum–among others. Mr. Ludlum passed away in March, 2001. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.
Some of Ludlum’s novels have been made into films and mini-series, including The Osterman Weekend, The Holcroft Covenant, The Apocalypse Watch, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. A non-Ludlum book supposedly inspired by his unused notes, Covert One: The Hades Factor, has also been made into a mini-series. The Bourne movies, starring Matt Damon in the title role, have been commercially and critically successful (The Bourne Ultimatum won three Academy Awards in 2008), although the story lines depart significantly from the source material.
6. David Baldacci
David Baldacci writes because he can’t imagine not writing. He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; one year later, it was adapted for film, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 30 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published five novels for children. We don’t know when he sleeps.
A lifelong Virginian, David graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.
David and his wife, Michelle, are the co-founders of the Wish You Well Foundation®, which supports family and adult literacy in the United States. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.
7. Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts is an American bestselling author of more than 209 romance novels. She writes as J. D. Robb for the in Death series, and has also written under the pseudonyms Jill March and for publications in the U.K. as Sarah Hardesty.
Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot.