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Lower your expectations....
on April 17, 2006
I am a fan of the recent spate of historical mysteries. Put the words Templar or Grail in the title, and I'm going to take a look.
Saying that, I was disappointed in this book.
Brief summary, no spoiler:
This is the story of Agostino Leyre, a Papal Inquisitor who is telling the story of his assignment to investigate Leonardo DaVinci, and his painting of The Last Supper (the Cenacolo).
This was a time of religious intrigue and violence, and anyone who opposed the Catholic Church was deemed a heretic and subject to horrible punishment. In order to express their beliefs, many artists used symbols in their works, both as messages to their followers and future audiences.
This book does a good job of explaining some of the mysteries surrounding the Last Supper. You learn a lot about the Cathars, and about what life was like in the time of DaVinci.
However, perhaps partly because this is a translation, I found this book slow-going. I had to push myself to finish, even though I was curious how Sierra was going to resolve his "puzzle".
I ended up thinking that Sierra gives an interesting and enlightening interpretation of what he believes DaVinci was trying to say in his masterpiece; but the puzzle was very convoluted and there is no way the reader could've figured it out on his own.
Overall, I am glad I read this book. I learned a lot. But I was often bored, and thought the hype surrounding this book didn't serve it well.
Recommended for those who enjoyed the DaVinci Code. This book's denouement is just as clever, if not more so - but the ride getting there isn't nearly as much fun.