"Although I studied Dante's 'Inferno' as a student, it wasn't until recently, while researching in Florence, that I came to appreciate the enduring influence of Dante's work on the modern world," Brown said in a statement. "With this new novel, I am excited to take readers on a journey deep into this mysterious realm - a landscape of codes, symbols, and more than a few secret passageways."
Brown may also be returning to the religious controversies of "The Da Vinci Code," when he infuriated some Catholics by suggesting that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children. Dante himself was a Catholic who was critical of church leaders.
"Inferno" comes out May 14, a week before another likely top seller of 2013, Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed."