IT was a rare chance for book fans to crack the code of bestselling American writer Dan Brown.
The author, back on top of world bestseller lists with new thriller 'Inferno', and who has provoked the ire of the Catholic Church and the scorn of critics with 'The Da Vinci Code', last night lifted the lid on the secrets of his work before a packed and appreciative National Concert Hall in Dublin.
And it turns out his preoccupation with the battle between science and religion is down to his parents. The son of a choir director mother and a maths teacher father, Brown was immersed in both from an early age.
However, he now believes science and religion are "partners". "They're simply two different languages trying to tell the same story.
"How do we become modern science-minded people without losing our religion?" he asked.
Brown was on his first trip to Ireland having been invited to take part in the Dublin Writers Festival. In a humorous, self-deprecating speech, the 48-year-old former English teacher told his audience about the process of turning his bestselling book into a movie staring Tom Hanks. And he said he was more worried about his mother's opinion of his work than the Vatican - but he said her reaction was "very favourable".
He answered a series of questions from members of the public in the audience, including whether he had ever thought about writing a non-fiction book.
He also spoke briefly about the inspiration behind 'Inferno', which is based on Dante's 'Divine Comedy'.
Following his appearance, Brown was whisked to Eason on O'Connell Street where he met 15 lucky fans who got their own opportunity to grill the author on his inspiration and writing style.