Thursday, February 17, 2005

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

I started reading this because everbody else is. I am not particularly sheep-like, but as an improviser it is good to be knowledgable of the world around you. What people are reading, what people are watching, who are the people that people are following right now. (In both senses.)

Nobody has yet called out Dan Brown or The Da Vinci code as a book style in my presence, but maybe that will change when they make the film. As they certainly will. It's a very filmable book. But then modern thrillers tend to be very filmable, which I am sure is no accident. After all, you can make more on selling the film rights than on the book sales. It's something every financially-conscious novelist should bear in mind.

So what will I do when someone shouts out Dan Brown as a suggestion? Well, there is nothing at all special about the literary style. It is the same as a multiitude of other modern thriller writers. If you asked me the difference between Dan Brown and Dan Patterson, I'd have to say, "Er, they have different parents?" Probably.

No, the difference is in the subjects. If someone suggests Dan Brown, I will start making anagrams of everyone's name or discovering that van Gogh's sunflowers is really a map that tells us where William of Orange's hidden gold is. If someone shouts out Dan Patterson, I'll... oh, I'll have to read another one now.

In short: The Da Vinci Code is a great exploration of the Grail myth and explorer of the murky depths of religious history wrapped up as a conventional modern thriller. A thriller that pulls its punches by implicating then exonerating sinister, shadowy, religious groups such as Opus Dei and The Vatican.

"First left past Utrecht, turn south at the old windmill
and after 300 metres start digging at the X-shaped bush."


Peter More said...

I guess I should have done my research. Jean Reno - good choice. Tom Hanks I could have predicted as well.

Brian R Tarnoff said...

Haven't read Dan Brown's book, but C4 recently aired a documentary about the "research" behind the theories he uses in the book. I think it will be interesting that the movie of the excellent comic book "Preacher" will see the light of day first, as that story has a major subplot based on the same idea of the Grail as the messianic bloodline. That said, having sat through the Polar Express (and admittedly enjoying half of it), I don't think I want to see Tom Hanks in anything for a long time. He has enough money and oscars, can't he let the other actors get a look in.