Dan Brown's new book, Inferno, was expected to fly off the shelves - both wooden and digital - today, its author having already shifted more than 200 million books worldwide.
The fourth in Brown's Robert Langdon series - which kicked off with The Da Vinci Code in 2003 and has since sold 80 million copies - has already received the largest level of customer pre-orders since JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy at high street bookseller, Waterstones.
The novel already tops Amazon’s best-seller list, beating all currently available books even before today’s release. Its hardback and Kindle editions are also in both first and second place on Amazon's pre-order chart.
Chris White, Waterstones' fiction buyer, said: "This should be the fastest and biggest selling novel of the year – it's hard to see how anything could beat it. It'll be a huge hit now and throughout the summer, then it could see another peak at Christmas. It could well be No 1 on 25th December."
Dan Brown has inferred that Inferno would be his "darkest novel yet.”
He is quoted in The Sunday Times as saying that a large section of the book is secret, timely and controversial. “I’ve known for quite some time that I would write a book based on the Inferno. Having written Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, I’ve spent a lot of time on Christian ideology and history. The Bible states that there’s an underworld, and it hints that it might not be a very nice place, but it wasn’t until the 1300s and this vision of Inferno that it became terrifying. Dante has had enormous influence on the Christian view of hell.”