The Da Vinci Code: A Novel Hardcover – Mar 18 2003
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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 daughter, 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 father'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
From Publishers Weekly
Brown's latest thriller (after Angels and Demons)is an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre's chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown's last book. The two find several puzzling codes at the murder scene, all of which form a treasure map to the fabled Holy Grail. As their search moves from France to England, Neveu and Langdon are confounded by two mysterious groups-the legendary Priory of Sion, a nearly 1,000-year-old secret society whose members have included Botticelli and Isaac Newton, and the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. Both have their own reasons for wanting to ensure that the Grail isn't found. Brown sometimes ladles out too much religious history at the expense of pacing, and Langdon is a hero in desperate need of more chutzpah. Still, Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
If there is brilliance within these pages, I see no evidence.
The plot itself starts with an intriguing idea, but there is so little in the way of particulars to flesh it out, so it barely gets beyond that initial stage. Much of this impression of scant detail is given by the author's tight fisted grip on information he prefers to keep from the reader in order to set up big revelations later in the book. Yes, mystery is an excellent device, but in this case it was overdone. It just made it apparent that there were so few actual details to be shared that they had to be rationed-doled out one at a time.
Even assuming that the reader has read Angels and Demons and knows the hero, character development is poor. Even given the rather unsurprising surprises the author does eventually reveal, it wouldn't be out of the question for the pages of introspection to be slightly more indicative of the characters' thought processes and emotional state. Granted, I can see the author was attempting to keep us from guessing too much and thereby spoiling his surprises, but part of the joy of reading a novel, even a fast-paced thriller, is getting to know the characters. Without that, we're given no reason to care what happens to them.
Instead of such character development, we get page after page of exposition that seems to have no place within the plot. Disney? The Little Mermaid? These meandering notions have no purpose here. They do not further the plot. They do not shed light on some piece of the narrative.Read more ›
In some senses this book is a page turner-- because the premise is engaging, the reader does want to know the answers. Its just that the ride along the way is so annoying, and the characterizations are so rushed.
One final problem with this book is the number of art history errors it contains! For example, a Da Vinci painting which dramatically "bends" around the body of one character is actually painted on wood! A good researcher would never have made this mistake. There are legions of these little errors, which art historians have gleefully pointed out in many newspaper articles since this book's publication.
What's worse, although the plot starts off sort of promising, it soon starts te develop along the lines of the Hollywood Assembly Line. The fact that each and every character turns out to be connected one way or another is not only not credible, but annoying as well. The same goes for the (little) cliffhangers at the end of every chapter.
The pieces of the plot fit together to easily to make this book a captivating read - all the interesting facts on religion and Da Vinci notwithstanding, and the way the plot is resolved at the end of the book left me feeling cheated.
For me, the letdown started approximately two-third trough the book, in a scene where the identity of The Teacher is revealed because of Dan Brown trying to hard not to. To add insult to injury, near the end of the book Mr. Brown, evidently feeling the need to show to the reader just how clever he has been, once more returns to this scene to explain what "really happened".
If you're looking for an easy to digest holiday read for those hung over mornings on the beach, and you're easy to please, maybe The Da Vinci Code does fit your bill.
Don't get me wrong: I'm no literary snob, and I love a good Michael Crichton or Stephen King as much as the next person, but The DaVinci Code was no Firestarter. Many of the theories it hints at are never developed; the editor (if there was one) was clearly asleep at the wheel; and the characters themselves are so clichéd and unbelievable that you will soon find you are only reading to find out how it all ends. In short, Dan Brown makes John Grisham look like Shakespeare.
However, despite its flaws, this novel is not without merit:
BONUS #1: Dialogue so stilted you will laugh out loud.
BONUS #2: Possibly the lamest, least imaginative, most one-dimensional rendering ever of an uptight Brit by an American author... found myself wondering less where the holy grail was and more why on earth Brown chose to revive such a dull, DOA stereotype for one of his main characters.
BONUS #3: You DO have a chance in hell of getting published after all!
For a somewhat better read on the same subject, I recommend The Prophetess by Barbara Wood.
For author Dan Brown, I recommend Creative Writing 101 and a seasoned editor!
Most recent customer reviews
As is usually the case, the book surpasses the movie in excitement and intrigue. An entertaining adventure series, whether you are a believer in the underlying religious... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Greg
I owned this book and a friend wanted to borrow it and I said "no" as I lost "Angels and Demons" that way. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joni Houle
I did not buy this book. I did not read this book. I don't know why I'm here.Published 11 months ago by Dayv James-french
My Review: This is my second time reading this book except that this time around I decided to listen to the e-audio version as I went on walks or drove back and forth to work. Read morePublished 12 months ago by The Baking Bookworm
The Da Vinci Code is set in modern day Europe, namely France and England. It follows the exploits of Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology, and Sofie Neveu, the granddaughter of... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Pauline Hakkola
Absolutely loved reading this version of the Da Vinci Code. Added illustrations improve the experience.Published 15 months ago by R. Carrier