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Murder, Secrets, and Sexual Rituals - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Sep 1, 2004 (Updated Sep 20, 2009)
by Marie Dragonfire
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Subject matter was very interesting
Cons:Some ideas could be upsetting to some readers.
The Bottom Line: The Da Vinci Code was very interesting and worth reading.
I first heard about The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown last year. I read the book flap eventually and did think that the book sounded interesting. I did want to read it, but I didn’t get it right away for some reason. I did pick up the book during a sale at my local bookstore. The book was in my pile to read for a few months before I did actually read it. I really enjoyed the book when I finally read it. In May of 2006, a movie version of this book was released.
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The curator of the Louvre was running from someone inside the museum. He was protecting a very important secret that the person chasing him wanted. Jacques removed a painting from the wall, which activated the security system. A gate dropped down, trapping him inside a section of the museum. The person chasing him couldn’t get in, but Jacques was still shot. Jacques set out to leave clues that would lead to the secret before he died.
Robert Langdon, a symbologist that taught at Harvard, was in Paris to give a lecture. He had just gotten to sleep when a phone call woke him up. Lieutenant Collet of the Judicial Police was coming to take Robert to the murder scene at the Louvre. The body had been discovered in a strange position with a symbol on it. The captain, Bezu Fache, wanted Robert to explain the symbol. Robert gave a few possible explanations for the symbol. Captain Fache also questioned Robert about the meeting he and Jacques were supposed to have. Jacques never showed up for the meeting.
Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist with the Judicial Police, became involved in the investigation. She had a connection with Jacques that eventually came out. Jacques managed to leave other clues, in code, around the area of the museum where he had been trapped. Sophie and Robert worked together to figure out the clues. They discovered that Jacques had been a member of a secret society that had been protecting a secret for hundreds of years. Sir Isaac Newton and Leonardo Da Vinci were two of the most famous members of the Priory of Sion over the years. Robert and Sophie tried to discover the secret while someone plotted to stop them. A group didn’t want the secret to be discovered.
I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. The book grabbed my interest right at the beginning and I didn’t want to put the book down. It was late when I started reading it. I only intended to read a few chapters before going to sleep, but I ended up reading well over half of the book. I kept telling myself I would only read a few more pages, but I kept reading. I wanted to find out what would happen next. I only stopped reading when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
Most of the action took place over a very short time frame, so it was a fast paced book. There were a few flashbacks added in that did slow things down a bit. It was easy to identify the flashbacks, but they did tend to turn up in the middle of suspenseful scenes. The flashbacks were used to explain a few things. Other things that were important to what was going on in the book were also explained. There were times when a character decided to go into an explanation during what was a dangerous situation. That was a little annoying at times, but the information was important to what was happening.
The Da Vinci Code started off with a murder. Jacques was killed because he had been keeping a very important secret. Robert and Sophie spent the rest of the book trying to discover who killed Jacques and what the secret was. I thought that the mystery was interesting. It wasn’t the strongest, but it was entertaining. People from a few different groups were involved in what was going on in some way. Something was shared that was supposed to be a shocking revelation. I wasn’t surprised by that because I had heard about that part of the book months ago when the book was being discussed on tv. I’m not going to say what the revelation was because I know there are still some people who haven’t read the book yet. The revelation could be shocking to people who don’t know much about the book. After reading the book, I did find out that some people have believed in the possibility of the revelation and there have been several books written exploring the idea. Some people could be upset by things that were said in the book. I think that people have to have an open mind to really enjoy this book.
The murder that started off the book was described as it happened. It wasn’t too violent, but some of the details were a bit disturbing to read. There were some other things that happened in the book that were a bit disturbing to read. There was some violence in other scenes of the book as well. I didn’t think that the book was that violent overall. The violence wasn’t really graphic or too descriptive. Some people might think that the book is too violent. There was some suspense in several scenes of the book. This wasn’t the most suspenseful book I’ve ever read, but it did keep my interest.
Religion played an important role in The Da Vinci Code. The Catholic Church was mentioned many times. Things about the history of the church and some former Popes were discussed. I don’t know how accurate those things were. Some people could be upset by some of the religious things mentioned in the book. There were a few different groups mentioned at different times during the book. I did a little research after I finished reading, and the groups were real. I’m not sure how accurately they were described. From what I have discovered since reading the book, the Templars seemed to be described fairly accurately. There were a few things that were different, but I didn’t do any in depth research, so more could have been different. Opus Dei, a prelature of the Vatican, was one of the groups mentioned in the book. It is a real group. In the acknowledgments for the book, Dan Brown did say that he talked to some current and some former members of Opus Dei. I had not heard of the group before, and I don’t really know how accurate the description was of them. Leonardo Da Vinci was important to the plot as well. I only knew a few things about him before reading this book. I never took any sort of class where artists were studied in depth. Things about him were mentioned that I hadn’t known before. I did do a little checking after I finished the book, and those things have been brought up about him before. It was very interesting to me to read about the different groups and Da Vinci.
Robert was the main character in The Da Vinci Code. He was in most of the book, and was important to what was going on. Sophie was the other main character. Both of them could have been developed a little more. Some other characters turned up throughout the book. Some of them were in a lot of the book, but were rather flat. The book was more focused in on action, and was fast paced, so it wasn’t surprising that the character development wasn’t as good as it could have been. That didn’t bother me when I was reading the book. I didn't think that the need for more development for a few characters detracted from the book that much. Other people may feel differently. Robert and Sophie ended up becoming friends in a very short time. There wasn’t any romance between the two of them, but there were some hints that their relationship might progress in that direction in the future. At one point in the book, some kind of sexual ritual was described. The description of that wasn’t too graphic, but it could upset some readers. The sexual ritual was connected to what was going on.
Robert Langdon - He was a professor at Harvard. He taught about the different meanings some symbols could have. Some of his theories were considered controversial. He ended up involved in a murder investigation when he was in Paris to give a lecture. Robert was an intelligent man. He’d been in dangerous situations in his past, and seemed to be able to stay calm.
Sophie Neveu - She was a cryptologist for the Judicial Police. She got involved in the murder investigation because she believed there was a message for her at the site. She had a connection to the murdered man. Sophie was very intelligent as well, but she had no idea about some things.
Bezu Fache - He was the captain of the Judicial Police. He was determined to find out who the killer was. He wanted to solve the case in a hurry because the murdered man was well known and liked in Paris. Fache was known to do certain things in an investigation, like secretly tape conversations and not tell people they were suspects at first.
I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. I thought that the book was very interesting and I wasn’t bored by any of it. The mystery aspect could have been a little stronger and some characters could have been developed more, but the book was still entertaining. Some people could be upset by things that happened in the book. This was the first book by Dan Brown that I read, but I plan to read some of his other books now.
The Da Vinci Code was published in 2003. It is available as a hardback and audio book. I have the hardback version.
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