Having had his way with the history of Catholicism, figuratively and also in the biblical sense, Dan Brown has been sequestered away in his mountain retreat while writing his new novel about the early days of Buddha.
Insiders at the Brown camp hint that the book will follow the same action-thriller format that made him popular, while taking some latitude in writing the story of Buddha's life. "We will be forced to officially label this as fiction", says Brown publicist Haywood Jailai. "After taking a little literary license with history, that is. The young Buddha was a pretty boring guy."
History tells the story of a youthful Buddha governed by over protective parents, sheltered from the evils of period society, and pretty much restricted to one of three castle-like estates constructed for him. Brown intends to punch up that story line, depicting Buddha as a vigilante, fighting for the rights of the common man. "A 500 BC Robin Hood is what we're shooting for", says Jailai.
Working chapters in the book tell of Buddha's hard drinking ways, preference for gambling and loose women, and the formation of a band of merry men who fight to right the injustices thrust upon common folk. One critic asked why Brown didn't consider re-writing the Robin Hood story. Jailai responded, "Because Russell Crowe is about to star in that re-make. We needed a new fictional story, loosely based on a historical figure, that we could legally exploit for millions of dollars."
Producers are already looking to convert the story into a film, originally targeting Jackie Chan for the leading role. Jailai commented, "Jackie is just too old, but we're looking at Jet Li for Buddha, and perhaps Lucy Liu as the sexy mother figure, infatuated with her son. I won't ruin the steamy mother-son scenes for you. Just buy the book."