Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally fascinating, but largely flawed attempt to cash in on the novel, 12 July 2011
This review is from: Secrets of the Code (Paperback)
Burstein introduces the book by saying that the Da Vinci Code may be full of "cardboard characters, ham-fisted dialogue and improbable plot elements, but it is a novel of large complex ideas". A fair summary. This is an attempt to flesh out some of those ideas - what do we really know about Mary Magdalene, the misogyny of the early Christian church, the Gnostic gospels, the secret societies such as the Knights Templar, the symbolism of Leonardo da Vinci - via extracts from some of the books which inspired Dan Brown in his research and interviews with their authors and other experts in the field.

It's an excellent idea, but the execution is disappointing and clearly rushed. The first part of the book, focusing on Magdalene, is powerful (although the frequent references to the Nag Hammadi texts are somewhat frustrating since you are a quarter of the way through the book before they are discussed in any detail). After that though it becomes increasingly superficial. Opus Dei and the Templars are rushed through in just a few pages; the discussion of Da Vinci's paintings is impossible to follow without any illustrations of them included in the book (apart from the Last Supper itself); and there is an interminable section on plot mistakes within the book (including dozens of utterly pointless examples of Brown not having much of a sense of direction where Paris is concerned).

I enjoyed this book, but I'd recommend simply reading the original texts included in Dan Brown's bibliography on the topics that most interest you, rather than settling for this mostly unsatisfying anthology.
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K. Ennis
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Location: Essex

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