The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

A museum curator is murdered, but before he dies, he leaves a cryptic message which implicates Harvard "symbologist" Robert Langdon. The rest of the book follows Robert as he is pursued by the police while simultaneously trying to solve the puzzle.

I'd put off reading this book for some time, but was lent it to read so thought the time had come to give it a go. The criticisms I'd heard were that it was poorly written, and factually inaccurate.

Well, I don't think the writing was fantastic, but it wasn't as terrible as I'd thought it would be. Not so bad as Seizure for example (which come to think of it had a similar Christian conspiracy theme). It was a fairly efficient thriller, although not very imaginatively plotted, and it got a bit tedious after a while: a clue is solved, but that just leads to another clue; someone nearly catches Robert, and he just gets away in time; an artifact is uncovered, and there's the click of a gun being aimed by a baddy who's been following, etc..

As to the inaccuracies, it does seem, from looking at the Wikipedia, that Brown got quite a lot of things wrong, and takes quite a lot of liberties with his interpretations. If you read the book and take it as a kind of "alternate history" then it's probably easier to swallow, but it is a bit irritating that he affirms stuff as fact in the book which is either flat wrong, or at least dubious.

I think that the reading experience is a bit spoiled by the fact that the book is so famous. If I'd come across this book as one which had had no media brouhaha, then I think I'd have thought it was a reasonable pulp-y read. But it's hard to be objective about it when it's had so much attention. I suspect that perhaps Brown didn't forsee how popular the book would be, and how he much he might have to defend his writing.

So, I wouldn't particularly recommend it, but it was probably worth reading.

Completed : 06-Jan-2011

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