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The Da Vinci Code   by Dan Brown

Read: 2005-01-27 Reviewed: 2005-01-30
Re-read factor:

This is incredible. It has all the opposites in all the right proportions. There is hard action and deliberation, historical truth and fictional nonsense, heroism and anti-heroism. The story involves the Pope, an albino monk, the French police, a fanatical bishop, and, unbelievably, direct descendents of the marriage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ! It is a story about a quest for the holy grail.

It is astounding that such ingredients could go into a modern-day adventure novel without it turning out to be pure cheese or just Pythonesque, but Dan Brown has created the most intelligent action-adventure I have ever read, and everything taken together makes it just astonishing.

There are times - just fleeting moments - where the fiction just goes over the edge (like when the heroine sees Jesus sat next to his wife in Michelangelo's painting of the Last Supper), and other times - just fleeting moments more - where revelations seem to pop from nowhere into somebody's mind (like when the hero works out how to open the codexes). There are also moments - fleeting - when you find yourself ahead of the plot.

If I have to find a flaw, it is just that the villain is a little too unreal (a fantastically rich knight of the English realm, who happens to have private jets and castles tucked away in all the right places), and the crime he pulls off is just a tad too implausible (he bugs the entire French government, gets inside information from Vatican City, and infiltrates a New York-based fanatical sect, subverting people to perform his dastardly deeds - including serial murder of very important persons - without ever implicating himself).

Whatever, the plot will eventually overtake anybody (except a second reader), and the ending is as brilliant as the whole rest of the work.

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