‘The Da Vinci Code’ by Dan Brown is a special book for me. The book was published in 2003 and immediately had trekked the globe to become the bestseller. Everyone around me was either reading the book or had already read this book. I joined the bandwagon; borrowed the book from a friend and was simply bowled over by this book.
A few years back I saw ‘The Da Vinci Code’ at a book sale; nostalgia gripped me and I bought this copy.
The first edition of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ had the picture of Monalisa through a ripped page effect on the cover. The text was in gold and in all caps. The appearance of a torn page to reveal Monalisa underneath is like a hint to the historical cover-ups that form the theme of this book. In Dan Brown books, there is heavy use of hidden words and clues forming puzzle-pieces to unravel a mystery.
‘The Da Vinci Code’ begins with the murder of Jacques Sauniere, the curator at the Louvre. He is killed by Silas, a monk working for someone known as the Teacher and a character obsessed with self-punishment. I think Silas inspired Dan Brown to etch Mala’kh, the antagonist in his next book, ‘The Lost Symbol’.
Sauniere’s body is discovered in the pose of the ‘Vitruvian man’, a reference to one of Dante’s most famous works. Enter Robert Langdon, an American Professor of Symbology. Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist working with the French police is there to assist Professor Langdon in decoding the clues left at the murder scene. Neveu is Sauniere’s granddaughter who was also the grandmaster at the Priory of Scion, a secret religious society. The Priory of Scion protects the secret of the Holy Grail.
The trail leads Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu to the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci from Mona Lisa to the Madonna of the Rocks to The Last Supper. In between, there is the Fibonacci sequence, the Pagan order, and the Templar knights. The central plot is to unearth an alternative religious history where Langdon and Neveu trace the descendants of the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
My copy of the cover has this pastel brown on which there are huge arches and a shadowy figure – perhaps Aringarosa, head of religious secret sect, also Silas’ mentor or it is Silas. The place could also be the Rosslyn Chapel, the final place where Langdon and Neveu are able to find the answer and decipher Rosslyn as Rose Line and the shadowy image just a reference to the past.
Somewhere I read Dan Brown was inspired by Sydney Sheldon’s ‘The Doomsday Conspiracy’ to become a writer of thriller books. It is surprising that Dan Brown started his career with writing humour books under a pseudonym; a fact I still cannot digest. Digital Fortress was Dan Brown’s first book, followed by Angels and Demons and Deception Point. And, I lived under a rock until ‘The Da Vinci Code’ came, Dan Brown’s fourth book.