The DaVinci Code
by Dan Brown
I finally broke down and bought a paperback copy of The DaVinci Code from Fred Meyer. I figured I ought to read it to see what all the hubbub was about.
I found it to be a very interesting murder mystery. "Who done it" is pretty obvious to the reader from the beginning, but there is a larger conspiracy involved and the French police have fixated on the wrong man, an American author and lecturer, so the feat is to prove it while staying ahead of the police force. This involves solving ciphers and codes left by the murder victim. One of these codes misunderstood by the police is why the innocent man becomes suspect, and the murdered man's grandaughter, the police cryptographer to whom the coded message was aimed, joins him in trying to prove him innocent. None of the codes are DaVinci's, but his works and speculation about his life and ideas are a large part of the story.
The book is set in France (Paris and Versailles), Vatican City, and England (London and Roslin). It includes descriptions of famous sites that are purported to be accurate, and I expect they are, which gives the reader a feel for these places they might not otherwise visit.
The most controversial part of the book is the idea that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene, who was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion, and fled thereafter to Gaul (now France); that she bore a daughter named Sarah who was the child of Christ and whose blood was joined with the Merovingian royal line in France; that Mary is the chalice or grail; that her tomb and the records were the Holy Grail of legend. Such speculation has been around for a long time. It is thought by some that if such documents were made public it would destroy or severely weaken the Roman Church and other Christian churches. For myself, it would not be a surprise nor an obstacle to my faith if such a thing were true, as it would not lessen my idea of Christ's godhood. Since His mother was mortal (and therefore His Father had relations with a mortal woman), why might He not have had a mortal wife and/or child? He himself was fully human and fully divine.
For those who may be tempted to take the story too seriously, the author
included some words of warning. When his hero, who had been looking for a
Templar church based on the fact that the key they had found bore a square
cross, a Templar emblem, discovered the address written on the
key led to a Swiss bank instead, Brown wrote:
I couldn't help comparing it to the movie, "National Treasure" - A female expert joins a male expert to follow clues to a treasure while simultaneously being pursued by the bad guys and the police and are ultimately vindicated.
- David Sawyer, begun May 12, 2006
I knew that most of the time a movie doesn't live up to the expectations created when one reads the book first. And so it was for me with The DaVinci Code. A lot of the action of the book was dropped, and some scenes were altered. In the book, the cryptex was a double one, having a second cryptex inside the first. In the movie, only the inner cryptex was used. The motivations for some of the major characters was changed as well. All in all, I was disappointed. To be fair, it was a pretty good movie, but if you are going to see it, my advice is to not read the book first.
- David Sawyer, May 19, 2006