Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

This book is selling like hot cakes and by now well known to even those who haven't read it. And whoever has read it praises it as a great book. I beg to differ.

It is a good thriller, Dan Brown keeps you glued to the book and makes you turn the pages faster. A lot has been written about his attack of the Vatican and Opus Dei, but those are secondary to the book in itself. What Dan Brown has done, and done well is, selected a different setting and written a cross word puzzle around it. If you bring it down to the basics, it is a treasure hunt with lot of religious symbolism and information.

The story is simple - the curator of the Louvre Museum is killed in the gallery. Before his death he leaves clues involving Robert Langdon, the Harvard Symbologist visiting Paris. With the help of the curator's grand daughter Sophie , how Robert goes about tracking the Holy Grail is the story. Opus Dei, a catholic sect is the other party trying to reach there first. The trail leads to a secret organisation Priory of Sion, the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene's descendants and the Knights Templar. It is a heady mix of early Christianity and the struggles during the medieval ages. There is "The Teacher" who helps Opus Dei and seems to be a step ahead of Langdon always.

The way Langdon, Sophie and Sir Leigh Teabing (The Holy Grail expert) go about solving the clues is interesting and you can sense the author teasing the readers. For the record I guessed the Newton Clue correctly atleast 4 pages before it was revealed (self congratulatory pat). Once the "Teacher" is revealed, I could guess how it was going to end and frankly the book ended there for me.

I am not trying to derate the book, it is already a bestseller, but it is not "the book" as its advocates claim. I still rate "Day of The Jackal" as the best thriller I have read.

A good thriller, but not a great one.


Anonymous said...

One more fan of "The Day of the Jackal". I started English fiction (apart from classroom Dickens and Hardy)with that book when I was 15 and was just stunned by the detail. Sad that apart from the this and the exceptional "Devil's Advocate" , all his other books were mediocre.

Chenthil said...

I read his Negotiator and was not impressed much by it. But The Day of the Jackal is awesome, did you know that he wrote it in just 35 days

Anonymous said...

I too read the Negotiator with expectations as it was hyped up a bit after Rajiv Gandhi's killing. Forgettable. Have u read The Devil's Advocate ? Gives a clue to why the USSR broke up so easily! The last few pages are the icing.

35 days? I think creativity peaks for most of these guys at a particular ponit in time in life. Like Illayaraja.

Ravages said...

I guessed who the Teacher was the minute Langdon walks into teabings house.

I got the apple clue.

I got the star of david.

I am brilliant.

rajesh said...

I am with you absoltely on this. And yes. nothing even compares to 'The day of the Jackal'

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am glad I have come across opinions against the over rated book!. My feeling is, most of the people who understand the religion referred in the book felt , it was wonderful and nice etc., since they could relate to it easily. But for those of us not aware of Christian history did not think so.

Anonymous said...

It was heartening to see opinions against Da Vinci code - Dan Brown. If you ever mention your hobby is reading the first question people ask is "Have you read Da Vinci code"? If the answer is No immediate reaction is to lecture you on how good is that book.. blah blah. I enjoy reading biographies. I too, like Chenthil, read like reading about the private person behind the public facade. I highly recommend the book The Lust for Life - by Irving Stone. This is about Vincent Vangogh, the famous painter from Holland. Mind you this is a fictional biography.

Gynani said...

Chenthil et al, Angels and Demons from Dan Brown was more thrilling and interesting. In my view it was his master piece from all the four that he had written.