Title: The Da Vinci Code Author: Dan Brown Read: June 2007
The movie (2006, directed by Ron Howard) was what prompted me to read this book in the first place. I wouldn’t exactly classify it as a literary gem, but it would be unfair to take credit away from where it is indeed successful: as an excellent thriller it certainly keeps you on the edge. Not so the film though. The screenplay relies too much on literally following the book, running into lags that affects the pace. An adaptation more suited for the film medium could produce a better result on celluloid and make it a gripping suspense thriller a la successful runaway/fugitive movies(The Fugitive, Bourne series to name a few).
It’s an entierly plot based novel, where the two-dimensional principal characters run through great odds in a short span of time(which is why they are breathless and so is the reader) to discover the true meaning of a hidden message left behind by a dead man who happens to be one of the principal character’s grandfather and the “grandmaster” of a secret society (a cult, if you will) desperate to retain the mystery behind the “holy grail”. Are you out of breath yet? Add to that an old British Royal historian and grail researcher whom one would least suspect to be the villain, a one-track French cop who discovers he’s chasing the wrong horse and suddenly finds his bearings in the end, a psychotic monk and an over-zealous bishop and you’ve got a round-up of the main cast involved in a frantic run through Paris and the French countryside and later, England. Phew!
You’ll come across interesting facets of history and pseudo-history of Christianity that may prompt you to dig deeper if you take the writing too seriously. As for me, this single dose has been enough to keep me from seeing/reading anything related to “Holy Grail/Priory of Sion/Knights Templar/Leonardo Da Vinci/Secret Societies etc.” published/made before or after for quite a while.
Some caveats to those who haven’t experienced “The Da Vinci Code” yet:
-Read the book before the movie (try to avoid the movie, if you can)
-Just read it as you would a Ludlum, Archer or Tom Clancy and don’t take things too seriously.
Read. Enjoy. Forget.