The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Internet has been a fantastic boon for conspiracy theorists. Let's face it, everybody has suspicions that the world you see, the history that you inhabit, is not what it seems to be on the surface at first glance. The world is often a strange place...and you start to see things that may or may not be connected...the unspoken truth that you can glimpse only in those moments where the ice is thin or the veneer is flawed...and the raw, naked reality is suddenly staring you coldly in the face...or you may just be a raving lunatic...
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is one of those books. Brown has concocted a gripping and strongly paced thriller that weaves together The Holy Grail, pagan symbolism, secret Templar societies, biblical studies, the history of the Church, and the work of Leonardo Da Vinci into a melange that, weirdly enough, melds into a very readable and fairly taut story.
Following the symbolic code left by a murdered curator of the Louvre Museum, Robert Langdon, Harvard symbologist, must unravel a 2,000 year old mystery that cuts to the heart of the Christian faith, following the clues hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. Aided by the curator's (naturally enough) beautiful cryptographer daughter, the trail leads them to the Priory of Sion, a clandestine Templar society that is protecting a deadly secret, now being hunted by another group that will stop at nothing to protect the faith.
Although I've heard some mixed reviews regarding the historical accuracy of the information that Brown bases his trhiller on, his rich interpretation of symbolism provides the heart of the story and the clues to the mystery are endlessly fascinating.
In the end the book will probably be regarded as sensationalist and trashy by some, and truthful, thought-provoking and challenging by others. For myself, I found it to be a throughly agreeable thriller, easy to delve into and hard to put down, although I noted that Brown, when discussing Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in copious detail in the story, failed to note the first thing that struck me while gazing at the painting - that she has no eyebrows.
Interested in some of the alternative versions of the Bible (which, of course is online - you can find it here)? Check out The Dead Sea Scrolls which contain fragments of early testaments, some of which suggest new interpretations of what are considered the biblical facts. Here's some more moldy original documentation for you...
If Grail lore floats your boat, check out Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh, a work cited by Dan Brown as a major source for The Da Vinci Code. Interested in the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar?
Want to know more about Renaissance genuis of Leonardo Da Vinci? There are innumerable sites dedicated to this artist, inventor, scientest and engineer. I recommend The Artcyclopedia for a good overview of links and sites, and Boston's Museum of Science site Leonardo. Also available is an online collection of Da Vinci's sketches and a site covering his famous Leichester Codex, now owned by none other than ....Bill Gates.
Talk about your conspiracies...
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