I was browsing through my bookshelf and my eyes fell on a copy of 'The Da Vinci Code'. The only Dan Brown endorsed piece of 'words and sentences' that I own. I don't intend to extend my collection of material written by Dan Brown any further. I write this entry almost grudgingly, with a copy of the thesaurus so that I may not appear tongue-tied in my blog.
I am always skeptical of books that are overly hyped and get a little more than the average 15 minutes of fame. The skepticism turns to caution when I come to know that it is endorsed by page-3 celebrities and members of the British parliament. Still,I read this one as it was given to me. I am always appreciative and overwhelmed when people give me books. I am a puzzle junkie; so I devoured every word of the beginning. The ciphers, the codes, the morbid innuendos and the plot that had neither strength nor character. The book flies from one scene to the next like an endless chase in a Hollywood blockbuster. The car chases, the swiss bank account, the streets of Paris , and cryptography are all rolled into one;interspaced with historical references, a discourse on the the magic number phi (anyone into algorithms will know this), recollections of past events by the protagonists and a fanatical albino from the Opus Dei.
Somewhere in the middle, Brown decides to bring in the catholic church, Mary Magdelene and a conspiracy theory by the Vatican. I assume that the reader is already familiar with the controversy surrounding this book, along with the charges of plagarism pressed against the author. According to a documentary on the National Geographic Channel and another one on the History Channel: Brown's source of information is local myth and word of mouth. Personally, I have no issues with courting controversy and absurd theories involving organized religious groups. My sole bone of contention is the blatant way in which the book lacks structure and depth. The ending is reminiscent of a Bollywood tear-jerker( for the benefit of folks who don't watch Bollywood films, it is a lot like your average day time soap opera). Did Brown really think that he could fill in the blanks with the use of technical details as a substitute for creativity?
I will not deny that the book had potential. As a woman, I find it comforting to know that Jesus may have had female apostles. I was personally flattered by all the talk of the sacred feminine and I found all the rituals quite fascinating. Unfortunately, despite whatever effort Brown may have made, the book falls flat. No amount of controversy can redeem its position.