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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Book Title: The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown


There are few people now who would not have heard of the Da Vinci Code, either from seeing the film or from an actual encounter with the novel.


After reading the novel, one wonders what all the fuss is about. The examination of the origins of the holy grail were popularised famously years ago in the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Dan Brown had to face court to answer charges from that book’s authors that he had plagiarized their work (which is curious as he mentions the book during the course of his novel). In fact Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail only gathers legends of the Grail which earlier writers had written about and formulates a cohesive tale which speculates that the bloodline of Jesus of Nazareth has continued until the present time.


Much of their work was made possible after the discovery of the Nag Hammadi documents in Egypt a couple of years prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Nag Hammadi library of scrolls contains the Gospel of Mary (among other “Gnostic” gospels); a book which Brown cites in The Da Vinci Code.


The book is not without its faults. One glaring literary one occurs on page 473 (paperback edition). Purporting via a commonly used narrative device to be Teabing’s manservant Remy’s thoughts and feelings, we are told: “A little over a year ago, he was simply a fifty-five year old manservant living within the walls of Chateau Villette, catering to the whims of the insufferable cripple Sir Leigh Teabing”.


Without revealing major elements of the plot and its suspense element, the above lines neither work as the voice of the character Remy and certainly we would be outraged if our previously reliable and respected narrator where to maliciously refer to a person with a physical disability as a “cripple”. Neither alternative is acceptable and much of our later acceptance of the novel’s credibility as an internally consistent work, hinges on the above quoted phrases.

Lovers of this novel will not be deterred by such faults, however. Certainly nothing has hindered the book’s overwhelming commercial success.

This reviewer must state though, that the Da Vinci Code left me hoping for less and less of Brown’s work, rather than more.

The Da Vinci Code is published in Australia by Random House .