Top positive review
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Six million buyers can't be wrong?
on 23 March 2004
There is a certain truth to that. Dan Brown must have done something right when he wrote the book that is the biggest success since Harry Potter.
The first part of The da Vinci Code is brilliant. From page one the story takes a firm grip on the reader and it is difficult or even impossible to put down the book for the first 150 or so pages.
One can raise many objections to the simple prose, the stereotype characters and the unlikely chain of events. But Brown presents a story which is told in a deceivingly simple way, when in fact very few could accomplish it. Coupled with an absorbing game of riddles and codes, and an irresistible two thousand-year conspiracy theory, it is not hard to see why this has become such a success.
Most critics have targeted the revisionist history that is presented. It is true that if this were non-fiction, it would rank as one of the historical pseudo-scientific classics beside the works of Graham Hancock and von Däniken. But this is a work of fiction. Complaining about historic falsehood is like complaining about the physics in Star Wars or the science in the X-Files.
The problem is that about halfway through the story Brown abandons his own recipe for success and the story loses tempo. The many alleged cultural references to the Holy Grail become boring and at some places ridiculous. A bit of the magic is lost, and even though it gets better towards the end it never really catches up again. But you shouldn’t miss this book, it is worth the first part alone. Or read it at least so you know what everybody is talking about.