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With The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown masterfully concocts an intelligent and lucid thriller that marries the gusto of an international murder mystery with a collection of fascinating esoteria culled from 2,000 years of Western history.
A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ. The victim is a high-ranking agent of this ancient society who, in the moments before his death, manages to leave gruesome clues at the scene that only his granddaughter, noted cryptographer Sophie Neveu, and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle. The duo become both suspects and detectives searching for not only Neveu's grandfather's murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages he was charged to protect. Mere steps ahead of the authorities and the deadly competition, the mystery leads Neveu and Langdon on a breathless flight through France, England, and history itself. Brown (Angels and Demons) has created a page-turning thriller that also provides an amazing interpretation of Western history. Brown's hero and heroine embark on a lofty and intriguing exploration of some of Western culture's greatest mysteries--from the nature of the Mona Lisa's smile to the secret of the Holy Grail. Though some will quibble with the veracity of Brown's conjectures, therein lies the fun. The Da Vinci Code is an enthralling read that provides rich food for thought. --Jeremy Pugh
| AUTHOR: || Dan Brown |
| CATEGORY: || Book |
| MANUFACTURER: || Doubleday |
| ISBN: || 0385504209 |
| TYPE: || 1452-1519, Appreciation, Art museum curators, Crimes against, Cryptographers, Fiction, Fiction - Espionage / Thriller, Leonardo,, Mystery/Suspense, Secret societies, Thrillers, da Vinci,, Fiction / Thrillers, Leonardo, Manuscripts, Reading Group Guide |
| MEDIA: || Hardcover |
| # OF MEDIA: || 1 |
Customer Review of The Da Vinci Code
Much More Than A Super Suspense Thriller!!
Once I began this extraordinary book, I could not put it down. "The Da Vinci Code" is so much more than a gripping suspense thriller. Dan Brown takes us beyond the main plot and leads us on a quest for the Holy Grail - a Grail totally unlike anything we have been taught to believe. With his impeccable research, Mr. Brown introduces us to aspects and interpretations of Western history and Christianity that I, for one, had never known existed...or even thought about. I found myself, unwillingly, leaving the novel, and time and time again, going online to research Brown's research - only to find a new world of historic possibilities opening up for me. And my quest for knowledge and the answers to questions that the book poses, paralleled, in a sense, the quest of the book's main characters. What a trip! What a read!
A violent murder is committed in the Louvre Museum. The museum's chief curator, who is also the head of a remarkable secret society that has existed since the death of Christ, is found dead and gruesomely positioned on the floor near The Mona Lisa. In the minutes before he died, this very complex man was able to leave clues for his daughter to follow. The daughter, a brilliant cryptographer, along with a famed US symbologist, follow her father's codes and leads, hoping that he will, through his death, finally tell her what he wanted to confide in her while he lived. The secret society included members such as: Leonardo Da Vinci, Boticelli, Gallileo, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Jean Cocteau, etc. These folks really Did belong to this society, which Really existed! This is when I first began my online search.
The mystery, or mysteries, take us through England, France and far back in time. We learn about the secret of the Knights Templar, and the symbolism in many of the world's most treasured paintings, as well as architectural symbolism in some of history's most sacred churches. Of course, we also learn who committed the murder and why - although this is almost secondary next to the real epic mystery the novel uncovers.
If there are flaws in the plot, I was too busy reading to discover any. That is probably the sign of a terrific book! The writing is excellent and the characters are a bit on the super-hero/heroine side, but who cares? Is what "The Da Vinci Code" proposes true? Well, the research is correct. The historical events and people explored in the book are real. But no one knows the Truth...nor will we ever, probably. I think that some things are meant to be a mystery. With all the world's diverse religions and each individual's belief in what is Divine - the Truth would have to destroy the beliefs, hopes and lives of many of the world's population. So, perhaps, in the divine scheme of things, there are many more Truths than one. Don't take the book too seriously. Just read it and enjoy!
What we've got here's a case of irresponsible writing. Sigh.
To start with, "The Da Vinci Code" is a thriller through and through. The writing is as formulaic and hackneyed as your average thriller, though clearly no one cares about this. Characters are one-dimensional, the plot is too convenient, the chapter set-up is annoying at best - what I'm getting at is simple. The book should not be read if you are looking for a literary novel about the early Catholic Church and the Holy Grail. Nor should it be read if you are looking for an intelligent read. I say go in looking for ideas to research later.
The meat of the book is the controversy surrounding Brown's view of the Holy Grail. His theory, one certainly not new, concerns the possibly marriage between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, their offspring, the early Catholic Church's persecution of Mary and the centuries' long fight to preserve the bloodline of Jesus and Mary. Valid ideas? Eh. They are supported by a variety of sources (not given) and symbols
Supposedly the Gnostic Gospels and Dead Sea Scrolls support this claim, with some loose interprations and evidence contrary to the printed Gospels. Also, the (somewhat) recently discovered history of the Priory of Sion (an old French secret society), its ties to the Knights Templar (and Masons) and the hidden imagery in select Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings are supposed to shed more light on an otherwise murky subject. Brown uses a bevy of symbology to link everything together, and while for the layman this is dangerous, he has no regard for the layman.
Your average person doesn't know much about ancient symbology and if you read this book and fall into that category, you'll probably be swayed to believe all he says is true. That's where the danger lies in symbology, especially ancient symbology. One of the central keys to said field is the iconic image, like the cross, the smiley face, even Superman's 'S'. Brown uses old icons - these images that are meant to have broad meanings; the smiley face is the best example of an icon anyone relate to because of its simplicity - to bolster his new claim. An upward wedge (^) is masculine, and is historically so (check a book of symbology) and a downward wedge (v) is feminine, again something we know as fact. Ancient societies used these two symbols for male and female and Brown would have us believe they are the only ancient male and female symbols, but that is beside the point (obelisks and lone pillars, people!). Combined they make the Star of David, and you probably wonder why I am mentioning all of this but there is a point - the Star of David is the combination of two triangles, one reaching to God, one to Earth. That is its historical significance. Brown's modern interpretation (a supposed revelation) based on the aforementioned ancient symbols (^ and v) is bad history; when you know why an icon or symbol was created, you don't then force other history onto them.
Unfortunately, he doesn't give this interpretation of the Star of David, only his own, supported by no texts, which leads me to what for the sake of length, I'll make my last criticism. I feel Brown should've written a critical analysis of the Holy Grail, Jesus, the Priory of Sion and Mary Magdalene, not a muder myster/thriller. Even still, he should've inculded a bibliography (annoted would help also) so we can leave the book and check his sources. As it stands, he gives us supposed facts and expects us to swallow them whole, which the layman reader will. To me, his book rests on the shoulders of the work of dozens of others, and while there is an acknowledgement, there is no list of sources.
All right I lied. One more thing - I found the book engaging and it forced me to remember old things learned in history classes and read. I'd previously paroused the Gnostic Gospels, and from what I found they enhance the published Christian writings, perhaps amend or alter a few things, but past that are merely the extended teachings of Jesus. I didn't see them as he did - damning to Christianity (or our perception of it). Anyway, what I mean to say is the Dan Brown is not a reliable author (I apologize for my tangents). The man has a passion for what he is writing about, but he also has a deep seated hatred for the Catholic Church and while I don't agree with them all the time, it's my opinion that they are generally trying to do good. Even in the beginning; but Brown cannot accept that and (together with Angels and Demons) villifies the church and the greater Christian religion with little evidence. That's not good writing. One of the basic questions a writer has to ask himself at the end of a book is, "Is this responsible?" (or perhaps, am I responsible for it/in writing it?) I do not believe he even stopped to consider, instead barreling ahead because, like he says about the Catholic Church, he has an agenda.
I do not see why this is a bestseller, from a logical standpoint. Poor writing + religious controversy shouldn't equal a best selling novel, but.... People can look past the writing to the ideas, and that is what this book is about. But should you pay attention to and then accept them when the author writes in such an irresponsible manner? That is for you to decide. But please, for me, if you are engaged as I was and don't know anything about what you've read, go to your library or bookstore or here and find other books on the topic from authors on both sides of the idea. Don't let this mediocre fiction sell you ill-conceived fact.
Another Best Seller
Dan Brown proves again why he among the elite in his profession by putting together a compelling novel that will encapsulate its reader. Although I must say this type of fiction is not for everyone. Just like Jack DuBrul and Tom Clancy, Brown's explanations of concepts and the exhibiting of his knowledge of religious concepts can slow the story... if, of course, you find that kind of thing boring. Most of his fans probably consider it a plus.
"The Da Vinci Code" is a thrilling search for the Holy Grail type of story, which of course was done to perfection in the last film of the Indiana Jones trilogy, but nevertheless, this book is worth reading. It poses the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a secret affair that produced a child, and thus, created a continuing bloodline of Christ. Suspenseful twists to the plot bring the reader into a world of secret organizations and mysterious codes and murders. It's a good read, and I suggest those who like the religious overtones of "The Da Vinci Code" also pick up "Conquest of Paradise: An End-Times Nano-Thriller". Based on the Book of Revelation, it puts forth an Armageddon scenario I've never seen anywhere else. I couldn't put either of these books down when I read them, and I highly recommend Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code".
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