Newest Review: ... each play their part in unravelling one of the oldest mysteries of all time. There is conspiracy on an unimaginable scale, thrills, act... more
that is why she is smiling
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Member Name: freediveheaven
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Date: 23/06/04, updated on 04/02/05 (317 review reads)
Advantages: makes you think, keeps the pages turning, a great read
Disadvantages: need to read it slowly to take it all in
This book came highly recommended by two close friends however it was with some doubts that I recently purchased it. A mere ten pages in and I was hooked completely and it is one of the best books that I have the good fortune to read this year.
It is not often that I read a piece of fiction, especially a thriller, that contains a subject matter that not only had I not really heard of before but one that pricks my interest to find out more. The theme of the book is about Religious Symbology and in particular the inclusion of religious symbols within art. This really did provide a fascinating backdrop to the book and also presented a bit of a dilemma to the reader. As I was reading this book I found it hard to differentiate at times where fact and fiction merge, as each clue is answered with references to ancient biblical text or the works of a famous artist the rational behind each answer makes infinite sense.
The central character is Robert Langford an American professor who is visiting Paris to deliver a lecture. He is woken in the middle of the night and visited at his hotel my a Lieutenant in the Judicial Police, the French equivalent of the FBI and taken to the Louvre where the man he was supposed to be meeting that night, Jacques Sauniere, has been found murdered. Langford meets Inspector Fache who asks for his assistance to inspect the crime scene where Sauniere has left a series of clues in the form of codes, however all the time Fache is gauging Langford reactions as he represents the number one suspect in the police investigation.
Langford meets up with Sauniere grand-daughter, Sophie Neveu a police code breaker, together they evade Fache and set out to solve the codes that her grandfather has left for them in a desperate search to uncover the truth behind his secret life and the ancient society of which he was a member. As they flee from the police an albino monk who is a member of a Catholic religious sect called Opus Dei also p
ursues them. The monk is the killer of Sauniere and is being directed by a mysterious character called the Teacher whose identity is a mystery and always appears to be at least two steps ahead of everyone else. Without anyone to turn to for help Langford and Neveu must rely on their own wits, she with her knowledge of her grandfathers past and Langford with his knowledge of religious icons and biblical references.
So what part of this book is fact and what part is fiction? Opus Dei does exist as do the buildings and pieces of art that are referred to. The characters are naturally fictional however the debates that they have that challenge some of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith are very real as is the famous legend that is at the books heart. What is fascinating is the explanations provided for the origins of words, sayings and symbols that we see in everyday life and which are rooted in ancient religions and beliefs. Throughout the book there is the theme that in any argument or dispute I is the winners who get to write history irrespective of where right resides.
This is the first piece of work that I have read by the author Dan Brown and certainly the quality of this work makes me want to read more. This is the second book of his that feature Langford however in this book there are only passing references to the first and it does not matter in which order you read them.
This is an absorbing read with a number of plot twists which keep the pages turning and the reader on their toes, central to the plot is the solving of two particular codes each with a five letter answer. I must have gone through at least ten guesses and still was nowhere near to getting either answer. Brown has an easy style of writing that goes into great detail on a subject matter that he is very knowledgeable. If it is not obvious yet then if you like thrillers this is a must read.
The next time I visit Paris I will be looking even closer at t
he pieces of work by Da Vinci that hang in the Louvre, suddenly his art has taken on a whole new meaning.
The rrp of this book is £6.99 however I got it for £4.99 In WH Smith.
If you want to read more about the author check out his website on www.danbrown.com.