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The Da Vinci Code: A 2003 Controversy


Symposia : 7.8/10 

Goodreads : 3.8/5

Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’, is a fast paced mystery revolving around an age-long conspiracy involving the Church and a secret society named the Priory of Sion. Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, is called to the Louvre to help decrypt the peculiar murder of the museum’s curator, Jacques Sauniere, by a member of the Church. Langdon and police cryptographer, Sophie Neveu, decipher a trail of hidden riddles that unravel an enigmatic secret about Christianity. The Church is portrayed to keep this secret, referred to as ‘The Holy Grail’, undisclosed at all costs, through the actions of the Opus Dei organization. However critiqued extremely harshly due to his controversial stance, Brown’s take at religious mysticism is greatly compelling. 

‘The Da Vinci Code’ is a heavily plot driven novel, relying on several epiphanies rather than character background. Brown maintains a pulse quickening tone throughout the story, keeping the reader on their toes. The plot twists are all unexpected and will keep you questioning the intentions of the characters. I was incessantly invested in all the characters' unique agendas specifically due to the author’s use of multiperspectivity. A mix of this and Brown’s well known cliffhangers made the book a hard one to put down for me. 

If you are fascinated by conspiracies, you should give this book a read. Hidden messages in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Sir Isacc Newton and Botticelli make up a large part of the storyline. ‘The Da Vinci Code’ will leave you curious about everything from secret societies, to the alignment of the stars in the night sky. It really makes you believe that there’s far more than what meets the eye in the field of arts and sciences. 

On the other hand, Brown’s opinionated and passionate approach at writing about religion brought him intensive criticism from some readers. The Church suppressing ‘The Holy Grail’, and other references to Paganism, can often seem to overpower the actual plot which leads the reader to question Brown’s intentions with ‘The Da Vinci Code’. The book was even banned in Lebanon as it was so frowned upon by Catholic readers. Hence, if a reader is sensitive to contentious references t0 religion, this could be the real deal-breaker for them.

Since the story is so reliant on scientific and religious propaganda, the reader expects connections between provided information which are unfortunately, often missing. At times, this information is not even parenthetic to any aspects of the plot, which takes from the story’s action and leaves the reader confused. This slightly tangential way of writing occasionally makes the plot difficult to follow, which is a shortcoming to consider as a reader.

Despite these drawbacks, the author’s form of narration remains engrossing throughout the book. All in all, if you like a gripping thriller filled with conspiracy and detective fiction, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is the book for you.

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