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The Davinci Code: Library Edition by Dan Brown

  • Author: Dan Brown
  • Book title: The Davinci Code: Library Edition
  • Category: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher: Random House (November 2005)
  • ISBN: 0739374656
  • ISBN13: 978-0739374658
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Votes: 278
  • Other formats: docx lrf rtf mobi
7 Reviews
Having put this book off for years because I detest following the crowd, I finally picked it up last week and added it to the virtual books on the nightstand (I.e.Kindle open books.) Instead of the heavy, religious themed read I expected, I found a fanciful tale of secret societies, secret codes, and espionage that kept my interest until the end, far longer than I initially expected. In a few years, I no doubt will read it again and let the story flow as it was meant, now that my preconceived prejudices are proven false.
{Review written Dev 2004}

I love high-brow thrillers that don't try to write down to the reader, and (even more so) I also love it when authors go to the effort of ample RESEARCH before writing about a given topic.

Anyway, without giving away too much of the plot, the author takes the reader on a fascinating and gripping ride through some of the more esoteric & mysterious corners classical art history, architecture, Judeo-Christian religious mysteries & religious symbology, church history, secret societies, and the like ... and he does so with both skill and panache. Some of my own interests, during & since college, overlap many of those areas, and it was wonderfully refreshing to see the material handled so well, and so competently, for the benefit of people who are new to these subjects. There *IS* a generous helping of fiction (and speculation) mixed in with historical facts, but for those who are erudite enough to know the difference, it's a highly entertaining and creative ride.

I was already familiar with a fair amount of the material, but some items were new to me. I cant speak for their veracity, but they were cleverly done:

* Pri-oS/Opus Dei: I've already done a little casual reading on my own regarding organizations like the Templar Knights ... but the Pri-oS & Opus Dei (the latter apparently being a modern day reincarnation of various "Flagellant" groups of Medieval Europe) references were new to me.

I was particularly impressed with the author's attention to small details too:

* An overview of the Council of Nicea, which formed the bible as we know it, and which omitted & suppressed many other accounts (i.e., the Gnostic Scriptures, etc.).
* The church's campaign of absorption & suppression against other indigenous faiths across the mid-east and Europe, and it's particularly destructive repression of feminine divinity faiths. All true.
* The partially botched handling of the "Heiros Gamos" ritual ala the movie "Eyes Wide Shut".

However, the author did sidestep a few points that he could have better expanded on:

* Many of the symbols of the Arthurian cycle (the holy grail, in this case) have echoes in a variety of ancient religions ... the author focused exclusively of the Wicca / female divinity aspects of the Grail, and overlooked other references to, say, the "Cauldron" of Dagda (Celtic), the Cauldron of the tri-partite Virgin-Mother-Crone (ex: the Norns of Nordic myth), the Fates of Greek myth, etc ad infinitum).

In any case, the book is very enjoyable, and highly recommended ... particularly if you've never encountered the material before, or if you're a bible literalist who's overdue for an invigoriating dash of cold water. History is a lot more interesting and convoluted than most people realize. People who slept through (art) history class don't realize what they've been missing out on.

Highly recommended - a very entertaining, and controversial, read.
This was a re-read for me. I used to have a hard copy when it first came out. I admire Dan Brown's ability to spin a gripping tale, making the detailed background come alive. Robert Langdon, a professor from Harvard and world renowned symbologist, is in Paris for a presentation. Asleep in his hotel suite, he receives a call from the front desk informing him an officer of the French police, is trying to reach him. After putting the officer off, he gets another call from the front desk informing him the police are sending someone to take him to the superior officer. And thus starts a deepening mystery, fraught with clues and intrigue, that takes the reader on a series of twists and turns, and murder after murder. The two protagonists: a secret society and the Roman Catholic Church. What, you who haven't read the book, nor seen the movie, might say? I say, sit back and get ready for a most different thriller than you've ever experienced! Good reading.
I love the fact that Mr. Brown pulls on our shared global knowledge of certain works of art then expands on those with less widely know artworks that are just as amazing, I spend a good half my time looking at Google images of the works he described.

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.
This book is amazing. It is very long and somewhat of a complex story so you need to be in the mood. It is definitely not a light read but it is so worth it. The historical and religious references throughout the book are so eye opening and definitely could be offense to the strongly religious type. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about pieces of artwork or places and then going to do a bit of research on my own. This book is suspenseful, thought provoking, and above all extremely entertaining. The ending is a huge surprise but the plot twists are abundant throughout the book and will keep you on your toes.
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