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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.
Top customer reviews
Provided you are prepared to accept that this is a work of fiction and can put these technical deficiencies behind you then it is one of those stories that you start to read and then get engrossed. I really enjoyed wanting to know where the story line would go as there are many different options all the way through that would be possible, even though I was totally floored by the identity of the controller. I read it far too late into the night. Reading this makes me wonder if I would enjoy some of the other Dan Brown books that have not received really good reviews.
The book started off really strong, and I very much enjoyed the art history divergences throughout. However, about 75% of the way through the book I really wanted it to pick up the pace. There was very little reason to switch to the Bishop's or Silas' perspectives (since there was very little told about them at the end anyway... just a few paragraphs about their intentions to wrap them up), and the book seemed to almost waste time before getting to the big reveal. And when the big reveal did come, it was like "that's it". I was expecting some grand, world altering machinations leading up to the murders, but that was not so much the case. Then, to be left hanging on the final piece (even after the epilogue) felt like a letdown.
Overall this was a pretty good read, but I felt that it could have easily trimmed off a hundred pages and not left anything important out. Also, I really wish authors (and movie directors for that matter) would stop treating open-ended conclusions as high art. To me, they are just being lazy and not willing to commit to an ending.
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