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The Da Vinci Code Hardcover – March 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 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
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.
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He also does what many authors aspire to do, makes the world think, ponder and question what we take for granted as solid fact. As he mentioned specifically in this book, it is the victors who write history, and how many events of all history are either skewed to favor the current ruling parties or completely rewritten to change what was the previous "known" history. This makes me wonder how much truth has been lost over the centuries (too much) and just what the actual truth may be. This book has sparked many a theological discussion as well as getting many people who never were that "into" art, interested in the idea that art is another form of recording our past and how art has been used throughout time to support governments, subvert governments, and tell the story of humanity.
Well worth the read.
It was around 2004-2005. I was out of university and working. I was one of those Americans that didn't pick up a book after college at the time, you know, the majority of them. Maybe it was because there were no good books around, maybe I thought adult novels were too long, whatever it was, I didn't read. I don't know how I stumbled upon this book. I believe a lot of people were talking about it, a lot, so I thought, "why not give this one a try?"
It took a couple of weeks to finish as I like to savor every word an author has written. I read it as fast as I could with each chapter ending in some breathless cliffhanger. And like an episode of television, I didn't want to binge-watch like people do these days; I read a few chapters in each sitting waiting in anticipation for the next day to read more. I don't want to say anything about the topic of the book as I went in completely blind and ended up wonderfully surprised and immensely enjoyed it, and I would want the same for you. (An aside: I grew up Christian, but ended up being an Atheist). I do think an open mind, and some light background knowledge of Christianity will help in truly enjoying this book.
I've never read a book like this, if ever, at the time. It was thrilling, it was well-researched, it made me think this could almost be real. It is the definition of a must-read. That's all that should be said about this book. But what I would like to say is that this book was the spark that restarted my love for reading that I had as a kid. I read a lot as a kid, but sometimes we are forced to read things, and kids do not like being forced to do things (parents, that's a lesson for you). The forcing of reading could be a reason I was turned off of books for a few years, but if there was ever a book to get you started again, this is, *the book*.
Now, about Dan Brown's ability to write, I've read what others have said about his writing style, and I don't agree with them for this book. I wasn't conscious about it for 'The Da Vinci Code', but I can see and understand other people's perspective on it. However, if you've read one of his books, you've read them all. Dan Brown's books are like James Bond films, they all follow a formula with similar ingredients, but we still keep watching them because the formula works. I do recommend his other books starring Robert Langdon ('Angels & Demons', 'Inferno', *NOT* 'The Lost Symbol'—that was a snoozer).
Pick The Da Vinci Code up, borrow it, get the illustrated version (it's the best version) [see photos], but read this book if you haven't already. It's significantly better than the film, and I think you will enjoy it as most of the world has. Recommended!