The Da Vinci Code - Robert Langdon, Bk 2 Author:Dan Brown Visiting Paris on business, he is awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a call from the police: An elderly curator has been murdered inside the Louvre, and a baffling cipher has been found near the body. Aided by the victim's cryptologist granddaughter, Langdon begins a danger-filled quest for the culprit; but the deeper he searches, the more he becomes ... more »convinced that long-festering conspiracies hold the answer to the art lover's death.« less
Pure smut, but good, exciting, well-paced smut. It's gotten a bad rap from all the hype it's gotten and arguably the bad transition to movie, but let's remember that this is not supposed to be high literature in any form, nor is it to be a true account. That said, his books are very formulaic, but this is his best one I believe.
OK, if you're on this site, you're a reader, so you've probably read this book already.
BUT, if you haven't, I recommend it. Yes, it's historically inaccurate. Yes, it's wildly improbable. Yes, it has THE most mis-matched romantic couple in any book in recent years. But, it's also thrilling, thought-provoking, and pretty fun. This isn't your typical drug-store-purchased beach read thriller.
I won't bore you with a plot synopsis, since you've also probably seen the movie, but the fast pace, snappy dialogue, and keep-you-guessing plot (though I did figure out a major twist early on then congratulated myself for it later when I found out I was right) will keep you up late reading it. I plowed through it in two days and even took it to Home Depot and read it as I followed my husband around the lumber aisles!
Buy into the hype and get a copy. It's worth the credit!
Repeat after me, "IT'S FICTION". This is a great, well written dramatic book. Don't take the "facts" as true facts, without doing your own research. Just sit back, instead, hold onto your book really tight, and enjoy the fast-paced read.
A great read, but if you are an evangelical Christian, you will probably be highly offended. A few times as I read this book, I was afraid was going to get struck by lightning. Zap! As a writer, Brown knows how to keep the reader's attention, but, woah!, he sure isn't afraid of the moral majority!
The story opens with the murder of Jacques Sauniere, an elderly curator at the Louvre, who has left behind many clues that lead to who his murderer is. Of course, you have to be able to read the clues and the clues point to two people. One directly points to Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist in Paris, who is an expert on symbols. The other indirectly points to his estranged granddaughter Sophie Neveu, who he has essentially raised since the death of her parents when she was a child.
Robert Langdon was supposed to meet with Jacques Sauniere the evening before the discovery of Saunieres murder. That along with the cryptic and macabre message left by Sauniere leads the French police to believe Langdon is the killer. But, Saunieres granddaughter, Sophie, arrives at the Louvre and helps Langdon avoid arrest and together the two scour the city of Paris looking for the clues that will lead them to the real killer.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Its very fast paced but I was surprised when I read the book to realize that the entire story takes place over the course of a roughly 24-hour period.
A few things kind of drove me nuts. One, if these two people can figure out obscure clues and hints you would think theyd know an armored vehicle has a tracking device. Especially when that armored vehicle is from a vault with the security levels the one they essentially stole it from did. Two, there is something that caused the estrangement between Sophie and her grandfather. Its constantly referred to but it takes forever for Brown to reveal what the thing is. And, what it turns out to be, doesnt seem to be that big of a deal especially since she just chose to not discuss the issue with her grandfather.
There are a lot of symbol references and I liked trying to figure them out. I did figure out one of the symbols before the characters in the book. Im pretty proud of myself for that.
Most people are familiar with this story via the capable movie with Tom Hanks. It's hard to believe that this was first published in 2003: doesn't seem like nearly 20 years have elapsed. I've started to read this several times, and finally committed to getting all the way through it.
I've been reluctant primarily because Dan Brown has become so over-commercialized - as such, his novels are seemingly written specifically with a "mass market" in mind (usually meaning linear, predictable plot lines, shallow, stock, stereotypical characters, and appallingly unsophisticated prose), which usually doesn't make them very appealing to me. Stephen King has become that way, also, but, curiously, I read somewhere that he, apparently, isn't a fan, either: he once called Dan Brown's books "the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese." Ouch.
I did like the story, though, even though the rather constant historic inaccuracies and fabrications irked me, perhaps because of the history-mystery angle, and because it involves, at least peripherally, material I study. Have to agree with many critics that Brown's prose style leaves much to be desired, however.
The premise of the book is that a Harvard "symbologist" teams up with a mysterious code breaker to determine who murdered her grandfather, a rather eccentric curator at the famous Louvre Museum, who raised her after her parents, brother and grandmother were killed in a car accident. The larger premise is that the line of the Merovingian kings of France descended from a child born of Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth himself, a secret that the Catholic church is desperately trying to destroy, even resorting to murder to destroy any evidence of this heresy forever. It thus relies on an alternative theory that the term "sangreal" actually reads "sang real," royal blood, rather than referring to a physical object, a cup, as is popularly imagined.
I don't want to rehash the whole plot here, as most people are familiar with it in any event. The novel is often simplistic and predictable, but it does a capable job of weaving in these various theories, as "conspiratorial" as they may be, and "fiction," by using some elements at least grounded in historical reality. The various secret societies such as the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei make an appearance here, as do various historic sites, such as the Rosslyn chapel.
Not surprisingly, the book raised some serious controversy due to its subject matter, which was not terribly kindly disposed toward the Catholic church. Many believers took issue with some of the claims, not just that Jesus Christ had descendants, but also that Constantine, rather than being a true believer, was simply a good politician and incorporated pagan or polytheistic practices and traditions into mainstream Christianity (nascent though it was at the time) simply for salesmanship.
As a historian, I agree that much of the content entails a "warped" presentation of fact, but it's clearly not a history book. I also agree that authors have a sense of responsibility to present materially factually and accurately, and, if not, to be forthcoming about the aspects of their work that they alter, fabricate or skew, for the purpose of "artistic license." My one complaint is that problems arise when people think they're reading a history book and start mistaking fiction for fact, which is often difficult to dispel, even with actual facts. I run into this kind of thing occasionally, with people literally arguing with a professionally trained historian that Dan Brown is right and people who have studied church history and early Christianity for decades are "wrong" because they have no basis for reference other than these Dan Brown books. Kind of freaks me out that most people can't tell the difference, honestly, having no notion of the idea of primary or secondary sources, or what constitutes legitimate evidence other than what some fringe scholars have suggested.
Overall, it's an entertaining, quick read, if you can get past the rather banal prose... just don't mistake it for a history book!
I do not have the cover for this book. The pages are great shape. The outside shows some discoloration due to the fact no cover though. That doesn't hurt the book at all if you are wanting to read it, if collecting, then that's another story.
I remember a time when this book was the absolute talk of the town and I wondered what was so revolutionary about it that it had people split into camps either rejecting or embracing its ideas. I haven't even heard of Dan Brown back then and only became interested enough in his work to wishlist the book on PaperBackSwap after watching the movie by the same name with Tom Hanks playing Robert Langdon. When it arrived it was no mere mass market paperback. It was an illustrated special edition hardcover with glossy pages and color pictures of the things and places described in the book. It was fascinating. It was like reading a history book that actually did something other than bore me to the point of stupidity. I blew through the thick volume in no time at all, immediately wishlisted the other books by Dan Brown and went back to savor the illustrations one more time - I have to admit, they added to the experience.
One thing about Brown's Langdon and the rest is that they are likable. Even the villains are sympathetic because they are misguided in one way or another but for the most part they are motivated by faith or thirst for knowledge as opposed to greed or prestige. I actually felt sorry for Silas, the albino priest, because he really believed that he was doing God's work and suffered for it.
What wasn't very apparent when I first read the book but is more so now that I've read two more by Brown is that strong female leads are a staple in his novels. While Langdon is the fount of knowledge who comes up with ideas as for the location of the subject of their search and can gain access to otherwise off-limit places because of his renown it is the women who protect the professor and figure out the logistics of getting him out of jams. Sophie Neveu is no exception and it was great fun reading about a woman with such an unusual profession and life.
Pacing in this book is characteristic of other Brown's work - Langdon and Neveu are always on the go in their mad race against time and the police and that's a lot of action even for a hefty volume such as this. It sucks you in and I haven't met a person yet who hasn't been reading faster than usual to get to the bottom of the mystery, impatient to find the characters at their destination. Because of this there isn't too much character development but we do get a sense of who these people are when the events happen, what motivates them and what their backgrounds are, which is more than adequate for an action thriller.
The only thing that slowed down the story were the explanations connecting the pieces of the puzzle into one whole. While necessary, they sometimes went on for too long and kept me from finding out the location of the Holy Grail and I was really tempted to skip over those passages but read on because I didn't want to miss anything important.
As far as the controversial subject goes I really didn't see what all the fuss is about. Yes, it is a very non-traditional take on Jesus and his disciples and it is very convincingly written but this is a novel and anyone who starts taking it particularly close to heart should remember that a novel is by definition fiction, make-believe if you will, and has no claim on historical accuracy. Its purpose is entertainment and here it is masterfully fulfilled. Thumbs up to Dan Brown for writing a book I couldn't put down.
The illustrations add quite a bit to the story, especially for those not familiar with the famous artworks. I originally read the regular book, before all the hype about it - I think this version is better.
This was a really good book. It took a little bit longer for me to get into than its prequel (Angels & Demons), but once I did, it was definitely just as much of a page-turner. The fact that Dan Brown uses historical controversies, real pieces of art, and actual locations just makes the book that more interesting. In reading it, I could see where Catholics & Christians could have issues with this book, but I found the controversial issues really furthered the story.
One of the best books I've ever read. Because of this and Angels & Demons, I am currently reading Dan Brown's other two novels and eagerly anticipating the release of Brown's third Robert Langdon novel in September.
Great, edge-of-your-seat story! I loved all the clues and code deciphering. I didn't want to put this book down. I even read it while I was working...very risky, but it was sooo worth the trouble. The movie was very good, but I think the book was so much better. Read the book if you haven't seen the movie, and you will appreciate the movie so much more when you do see it because you'll have all the extra history and back story.