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Bill

The Da Vinci Code

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I am going to try and lock this thread, as there is already a long-running one about The Da Vinci Code under Bestsellers - Fiction Paperback Top 50. There's no point in duplicating threads.

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I haven't actually read The Da Vinci Code. I listened to half of it on an audiobook and found the story itself quite compelling, if more suited in spectacle and campness to treatment in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Why only half? Quite simple: Cardboard characters. Langdon is Indiana Jones! The French codebreaker woman is.... I don't know, she's popped up in way too many films and books for me to pinpoint her to one origin. Same for the dogged but noble policeman. If these characters were food, they'd be mashed potato without salt: There's nothing to chew on, and despite an appealing initial texture, they don't taste very interesting at all. How can anyone relate to these dull fantasy figures? How can anyone even read this book without laughing out loud at some of the dialogue, that sounds like it's been taken from a frantically-penned formulaic b-movie. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a literary person (obviously). I appreciate the importance of a compelling story. But that's not enough on it's own for me - I like real people, not comic book characters. How about a bit more imagination?

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I really liked it! I thought the plot was really good and moved forwards well; it was impossible to put down. I know it's not realistic or anything, but not many books are. I enjoyed this book and the other Robert Langdon one - Angels and Demons - more than the other ones. I though that Langdon was an easier character to get to know.

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I havn't read either, but I'd like to know (without giving away the plot Harriet ;) ) which is better Angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code? And, do they go in a specific order?

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actually, I rather liked this book (I just finished it). I bought it as some light reading in an airport, and though I have to agree, the characters were a bit stereotypical and quite flat, the plot itself was quite fun! I enjoyed trying to work out the puzzles, and there was a lot of interestiing random knowledge spattered throughout it, and it's actually sparked an interest in symbolism for me (I don't know how much of it was true in the book, but still, it made the subject sound fascinating). I must admit, I only found out that this book was geting a bad rap AFTER I bought it, but I'm glad I did buy it, and I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for something random and light...but I don't think I'll buy any more of his books hehe :)

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I wasn't impressed with the book, but I didn't hate it. I thought the writing was fairly poor and the dialogue? I can't imagine people actually using the phrase "the sacred feminine" without collapsing into fits of giggles.

 

But the pacing and plotting of the book seemed fine, if unspectacular.

 

I think the only thing that really disturbed me was the near-libel of Opus Dei. I don't know bupkiss about the organization, but I was shocked to find that he was targeting a real one. That seemed too personal, especially with a plot filled with such nefarious deeds. Did this bother anyone else?

 

Julie

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I havn't read either, but I'd like to know (without giving away the plot Harriet ;) ) which is better Angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code? And, do they go in a specific order?

 

In my opinion Angels and Demons is better, and is meant to come first. But I read The Da Vinci Code first, and it doesn't give away any of the plot of Angels and Demons so it doesn't really matter which order. Apparently Dan Brown's working on a sequel to the Da Vinci Code, so there'll be a trilogy.

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I had never heard of Opus Dei before this book, but I did think he seemed to be having a go at the catholic church. I'm not really a religious person, but I think quite a few people could get quite riled by basic accusations that their whole religion is a network of lies and deception to obtain power....well, that's how it came across to me anyway, but I may be wrong :o

 

I didn't even know there was a "Truth behind" book....but I am definately going to try and get it now out of pure interest :)

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I didn't even know there was a "Truth behind" book....but I am definately going to try and get it now out of pure interest :)

 

There are at least 3 that I have seen on the go, but I haven't read any (yet!)

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I flicked through one in a bookstore in America, and it didn't really have much to do with the storyline, it was all about the theories behind the story, with information about Leonardo Da Vinci and analysing the paintings etc. It looked quite interesting and I intend to read it sometime soon....when I get round to it.

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Children, children - let's get a grip.

The Da Vinci Code is not a novel - it is a 600 page film treatment. I really enjoyed it - which is not to pretend that it has any literary merit. It is a process of revelation - although all its secrets are already in the public domain (anybody remember Umerto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum?). It is shlock thriller, with a main eye on the movie market, and it will make a fine vulgar lurid movie. By the way Dan Brown has very shrewdly got most of his facts right - architectural details and so on, and the history of the early church. It's broad brush stuff, but not mendacious. On the whole Dan Brown is to be congratulated for popularising the acutely political and tendentious nature of received religious background. So many people find it easy to forget that there are not four gospels, but dozens, and that the cannonical ones are the process of human and highly secular selection. And that the goddess was hugely powerful before the Church decided that sex was naughty. And that Christianity co-opted so much of pagam iconography. And that... and so on and so on and so on. But the bottom line is that this book is one that we read for fun.

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Slightly off-topic...

 

I've read all of Dan Brown's books, and found by the 3rd and 4th his writing style was very predictable. I think he plants the seeds quite early on, and in the same way in all his books. If you read more of his books it's quite easy to guess the climax from about half-way through.

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As long as you accept this novel for what it is, a novel written for the popular market and not expect it to be a work of genius, it is an enjoyable read. It served a purpose for me as an uncomplicated read. I enjoyed the plot line, however I was very disappointed when I went on the read another book by the same author and found that I was reading the same book all over again!

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As long as you accept this novel for what it is, a novel written for the popular market and not expect it to be a work of genius, it is an enjoyable read.

 

I completely agree; I read the book when it first came out and found it to be fairly enjoyable, but not remarkable. However, having spent christmas working in waterstones in and being asked fifty times a day if we have any of that "book about the codes and stuff, innit", i've gone off it a bit :)

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I read this book quite a while ago and found it to be a good read. Not the work of a genius but it got me wanting to read a bit more. I know that its all fiction but it also got me interested in all the symbolism. I think I'll have to read one of the 'behind the DVC' books too.

I think you just have to laugh at all the people who thought that it was real and have been driving the french mad (except for the tour operators ;) )

 

I also read A+D. Again, a good book for an easy read.

 

Nic

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Just finished it and thought it was ok - as others have said very badly written and although he covers all the Grail bases its a real mish mash of Henry Lincoln,Holy Blood and other tales - suprised he missed on Renne-le-Chateaux and the Abbe Sauinier(unless Grand-pere was a thinly disguised ref.)

Uberto Eco covered it all(and a whole lot better) in Foucault's Pendulum which is at least more fun to read.

 

I will be interested to see if they change the ending for the film as the way the book ended was a real rip-off - I see the rights went for $6m and the film will be directed by Ron Howard with Tom Hanks as Langdon......which probaly tells all you need to know......the only saving grace is Jean Reno as Fache.....

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I know that its all fiction but it also got me interested in all the symbolism. I think I'll have to read one of the 'behind the DVC' books too.

 

I'm on the same page as you here, this book really made me want to read more about symbolism and the early church. I have to say that the writing was some of the worst i have ever come across, but the story was interesting and this made me go on reading it (Although the end was not at all what i had wished for!!! :mad: ) But all in all, it was an interesting read!! At the moment I am reading another one of his books, the writing again is dire but because DVC was so interesting I decided it was worth another go, not enjoying this one as much but not so bad I want to burn it!! Don't think I'll be investing in anymore though!!! :D

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As long as you accept this novel for what it is, a novel written for the popular market and not expect it to be a work of genius, it is an enjoyable read.

 

I found that to be true too. I'm not a huge reader of this type of novel so I think my naviety of the genre helped my enjoyment in a way because I'm not so up on the standard formulas. It was a real page turner for such a poorly written book and I think the interest was in the "Is that true?" details. Once I'd finished it (I think it only took a day or so) I was left with a feeling of enjoyment but after reading Angels and Demons shortly afterwards I am cured of the urge to read any more by Mr Brown.

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(snip)THE DA VINCI CODE heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightning-paced, intelligent thriller…utterly unpredictable right up to its stunning conclusion.

 

What? WHAT? "Intelligent"? "Unpredictable"? "Stunning"? Merciful heavens. . . the only bit of that I can possibly agree with is "utterly". The thing is composed with all the galumphing witlessness of an instant coffee commercial. You can see the tacks showing and the sawdust trickling out of the back. If Dan Brown were a ventriloquist his lips would be moving. And his trousers would fall down. And the dummy's head fall off. Gottle of gear! Gottle of gear! I feel [PLACES HEAD IN HANDS] somehow soiled . . . diminished . . . touched by the hand of . . . greed. And that's without all the Goddess stuff which reads like some awful adolescent who thinks that the way to get a legover is to bang on about the Eternal Feminine. If he wants to know about the Eternal Feminine, Brown might read the Hippolytus. People who suck up to the Goddess end up in serious trouble. Why the Christians picked on Jerry Springer - The Musical instead of this witless pabulum, I can't imagine. Actually, yes, I can. I can imagine only too well. All I can say is, if Jesus ever actually does come back from the "dead", I bet the first thing he does is punch Dan Brown's sententious lights out. At which point I will start going to church. And Westminster Abbey. And Rosslyn Chapel. And the pyramid in the Louvre, beneath which lies the Holy Grai-- oops, dang! shucks! gevalt! I just gave the plot away.

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Hmm... I'm inclined to think that most people's vitriol here is fueled by the book's hype (and thus its chart-topping status). If it was just A.N.Other pulp airport pageturner (a la John Grisham, Tom Clancy etc. etc.), and let's face it - it is, then I think people here would either ignore it or accept it for what it is.

 

Having said that, my problem is that by chance I read Holy Blood, Holy Grail shortly before DVC, and I'm virtually on the point of believing that this was Brown's one reference source! So once I took out all the stuff I'd learned about grail legend by reading HBHG, I was left with a fairly uneventful chase through Paris and London. That's it. Literally, a chase. For the whole book.

 

Reportedly, Brown's next 'Langdon' novel concerns Freemasonry. So I'll bet five pounds that it roughly equates to 'chase + contents of The Temple and The Lodge'.

 

t

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I think I've got this bestseller thing cracked now. I'm going to call mine The Moholy Nagy Encryption, and it's going to involve the chase of a beautiful young woman (slender but feisty) and a well-known academic (brainy but buff) across Europe by a mad, feitishistic nun. It will all be the fault of the masons, and I intend having a rose, the Knights Templar, the Catholic church and a bit of hocus pocus in it as well. I'm off the make my first million! See ya!

Rhi :)

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