28 January 2008

200 word review: 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown

Sometimes you read a book you know you will be biased against. Having had people using ‘The Da Vinci Code’ to attack my beliefs admittedly made me prejudiced. But I gave it a try with an (almost) open mind. I still hated it.

This is a novel designed to cause controversy. The basic story is of a lecturer and a cryptologist seeking the Holy Grail in order to acquit themselves of a murder. Brown draws on legend, paganism, secret societies and conspiracy theory to argue that the Grail is the remains of Mary Magdalene, Christ’s wife, and that Christ and Magdalene have living descendants. I’m sure some of his argument was well-researched and based in truth but what troubled me was the lack of distinction between fact and fiction; the novel cannot possibly be wholly one or the other, and the failure to clearly separate the two could dupe readers into accepting fabrication as truth.

This isn’t my main objection, however. Religion aside, it’s little more than a mediocre thriller. It’s badly written with poor characterisation and a laughable plot. You can see why Brown wanted to create controversy – this book would never have sold as many copies without it.

No comments: