The Da Vinci Code is a delight

Nov. 14, 2003, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 17 years, 2 months ago

New York Times #1 best seller enjoyed by readers everywhere

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, author of best selling novels Angels and Demons and Deception Point, is now the Washington area #1 best selling hard back and is available for $24.99 at all major book stores.

Ancient legends, cryptic messages, a spellbinding treasure hunt and a quest for the Holy Grail. Described by New York Times #1 bestseller author Nelson DeMille as "pure genious," The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown incorporates all aspects of a successful mystery into a beautifully illustrated tale woven with history.

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is giving a lecture in Paris when he is awoken by a late-night phone call from the French Judicial Police. The DCPJ inform him of the murder of Jacques Sauniere, an acclaimed art historian and curator at the Louvre art museum. Langdon was scheduled to meet with Sauniere earlier that evening to discuss the early release of Langdon's book on the sacred feminine.

Sauniere, after receiving a fatal shot in the stomach, had positioned his body in the identifiable form of Leonardo Da Vinci's, The Virtruvian Man, and sketched the symbol of the pentacle, the sign of the female deity in pre-Christian eras, on his stomach in blood.

Police also discovered a numeric code scrawled in invisible ink next to Sauniere's corpse. Though left as a last attempt to contact his granddaughter, DCPJ cryptologist Sophie Nevue, Sauniere's message is misinterpreted to pinpoint Langdon as the murderer.

With Neveu's help, Langdon escapes the heavily guarded Louvre, and the two embark on a fast-paced cop-and-robber type chase through the streets of Paris.

Langdon and Neveu crack pieces of Sauniere's intricate puzzle as they are pursued by the DCPJ and members of Opus Dei, a branch of Catholicism responsible for Sauniere's death, all the while learning more about Sauniere's life and his connection to the occult group, The Priory of Sion. The members of the Priory, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, and Victor Hugo, among others, have guarded the ancient secret of the Holy Grail for centuries, which if revealed, could change history as we know it.

Integrating mystery, religion, history, and action, Brown creates terrific plot twists, though some parts require willing suspension of disbelief, as Langdon and Nevue escape from some unrealistic situations. Langdon's agility in eluding the ever-reappearing antagonists is astounding. In seconds, Langdon figures his way out of gunpoint situations, though the explanation of his evasions can take pages to describe. Though their encounters with antagonists can be a bit unrealistic, the novel as a whole describes a very historically accurate view of the legendary search for the Holy Grail, incorporating all viewpoints. Brown treats the readers to samples of elegant descriptions, allusions, metaphors and symbols. And for the ambitious reader, Brown creates hidden double entendres and reveals them later in the text.

Brown's style throughout the novel is flawlessly captivating, keeping the reader focused by dividing almost 450 pages into over 100 short chapters, with a scene change in almost every chapter. As he narrates, Brown teaches history the way no textbook does. After providing theories about Christ, the evolution of Christianity, and the lost female deity, Brown provides evidence for each through artwork, poetry, and historical documentation.

The character development in the novel is stunning, as Brown only hints at romance between the two main characters and mostly focuses on their professional relationship and friendship. Their quest for the answer to the historical mystery eventually leads to the discovery of information about Nevue's deceased family members, adding a more personal tone to the novel.

Brown has created a masterpiece in his novel The Da Vinci Code, filled with climactic suspense, well-researched theory, and intricately- created ciphers, making it difficult for the reader to set down the book for even a second.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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