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1,599
3.5 out of 5 stars
The Da Vinci Code
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2007
I missed the hype so read this book without any particular expectation. Some of the pseudo history gave my eyebrows exercise but I enjoyed it as an adventure yarn. However on a closer look I realised that the book is a bog standard story of the genre with a clever wee construction that has been spectacularly successful at the cash register. The story has the usual pieces, an unlikely hero who just happens to be honest, clever and handsome, and a beautiful woman he just happens to click with. They are drawn into a violent and mysterious event and are forced, in the face of unknown and multifarious enemy, to solve the mystery themselves. Naturally the blundering authorities have got the wrong end of the stick and are trying to pin the crime on our handsome and moral hero. It all comes out in the wash in the end, villain vanquished, hero and girl triumphant. Dan Brown's trick has been to hang a series of historical "factoids" on the plot to give it body and purpose, letting the reader in on apparently revelationary secrets from the past. Well done Mr Brown, but let's not take it seriously, it's fiction guys.
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118 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2005
Very enjoyable. However it should be noted that this is an abridged version. It dosen't tell you that in the details.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2004
I finally gave in to all those telling me this was the best book ever written. Well, it isn't. It's just another crime fiction with a bit of religion/mythology/art information set in the scene. It holds your attension while you are reading it but it doesn't leave anything behind. Although I must say that I enjoyed the theological ideas represented, but that's just because of my intrest in mythology and religions. Other than that, it's just another crime fiction, a nice thing to pack while traveling or something, if you want an easy read.
The writing is tolerable, the characterization is poor; the characters are cliché and predictable.
But it is entertaining while reading it and easy to digest and then you can move on to forget all about it...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2004
I enjoyed this book and part of the enjoyment was that it was so predictable and ultimately disposable. The story reads like a "how to write a sensational thriller"; intellectual hero, beautiful girl, crazy killer and, of course, a secret society.
Interestingly I read Brown's earlier book, "Angels and Demons" after I had read "Code". It is almost identical... in the first two pages someone is horribly murdered (by the crazed killer) and within five pages Langdon meets the victim's beautiful daughter. Glorious romp, very enjoyable and you don't feel bad about never seeing the book again when you leave it on the train or lend it to somebody.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2005
Whilst I certainly found The Da Vinci code entertaining, what lets it down for me is the way it is written. I felt the writing was on a level with some of the books I was reading back at school. The basic plotline keeps you turning pages, but I would class this as mildly diverting pulp rather than a masterwork.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The fictional part of Dan Brown's story is okay, but it's impossible (I found) to stop thinking about what is apparently the truth behind it all. I have to admit that this was the first time that I had read anything to do with Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion or Opus Dei, but as a devout agnostic I found the "revelations" about Jesus - who, it seems, was quite the family man! - most welcome. I think that the allegations are highly credible and at least more so than the story spun by the Catholic Church for the past 2000-odd years. Now I know I was right to be a non-believer, and the Bible is just a work of fiction. It just had better marketing, that's all!

As for the actual story as a whole, it's well paced and although I wouldn't go so far as to classify it as a thriller, there is a reasonable degree of suspense. While some of the characters are rather absurd - not least front-man Robert Langdon - they are nevertheless quite well drawn, and there is a mild emotional attachment for the reader inasmuch as you want the baddies to be caught and the good guys to win. In other words, the reader might actually care what happens, which is more than I can say about a lot of others in books I have read recently. It's silly but interesting, a curious mixture of slightly teenage writing skills aimed at a presumably older age group. The prose rarely gets any better than bland, the author's writing skills are modest at best but he does know how to tell a story. In this tale, the story is everything, while the prose and characterisations take a distant back seat.

Anyway, if you want an alternative suggestion to what REALLY happened, buy The Da Vinci Code. For me that's probably the most intriguing part of the tale, and the main element that will stay long in the memory - despite it being supposition on the author's part, it's a twist to traditional religious beliefs that I did rather like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2005
I will be totally honest and confess that all the hype about this book put me off reading it for a long time. However, it was given to me as a birthday present and it would have been rude to not give it a try. Well, I've read it and I really can't see what the fuss is all about.
The writing style is stilted and clumsy. There are many errors and don't get me started on the way in which Mr Brown continually manufactures cliff-hangers for almost every chapter.If that is the only way he can make his readers want to read on then so be it, but it annoyed me beyond measure. I mean, how many times can someone open a box, gasp in disbelief at the contents and then not describe them for another three chapters?
My favourite spate of bad writing comes quite early on, during the drive from the Louvre to the American Embassy. Sophie has been thinking back about "the terrible thing" she saw her grandfather doing without ever letting the reader in on the secret. However, the moment she decides to think about it is when she is trying to escape the police in a high speed chase. She is driving and I'm pretty sure she would be better off concentrating on the road.
Best of all though is the drive from the Louvre to the embassy. On page 190, Sophie sets off, knowing that it is less than half a mile to get there. On page 192, after driving directly towards the embassy, she sighs with relief as now there is less than a mile to go. I've never been to Paris but the authorities really should do something about the spatial rift that apparently exists there. Generally, when I drive towards something, I get nearer to it, not further away.
The ending is very weak too but I won't spoil it for you. The author has already done that.
It's not a terrible book but it could have been so much better. Read "The Name Of The Rose" if you want an intelligent thriller. If you must read this then at least see the flaws and appreciate that they stretch into the supposed revelatory theories as well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2008
This was a truly dreadful book that I struggled to finish as part of a book club selection and the awful time I had is indelibly etched into my brain.
Poorly drawn characters, artificial dialogue, obvious plot twists and gaping inconsistencies you could drive a truck through.
I thought it was awful though it seems sacrilege to sya it when so many people love it but that doesn't make it a good book.
It may ahve sold millions but it doesn't mean that everyone who bought a copy liked it.
I hope never to read one of his books again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2007
When my mother told me about this book that my sister was reading my immediate reaction was that it was the same story as the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, a book I had first read after seeing it presented on a BBC Horizons programme when it school. Knowing the story to be interesting and presented as a historical argument in that book, if not one that stands up to scrutiny, I was amazed at the hype generated by Dan Brown's book.

I liked Angels and Demons, a much better book in my opinion, and Robert Langdon as an intelligent if slightly unbelievable hero and did enjoy the story of The Da Vinci code though found the pace somewhat difficult. There is literally no time to think during the course of the book and for those who enjoy thoughtful books this will be a real disappointment. The fact that the book is too fast-paced is reinforced by the film which must be impossible to follow if you have not read the book.

Overall, the book is an entertaining read and one that should be read in that spirit. There is too much inaccuracy to have justified the worldwide interest generated and the premises have been disproved previously, most notably the hoax around the Priory of Sion. The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail brings more mystery into the story and would be a better read than The Da Vinci code if you did want to follow up on the origins of the fiction.
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