...which isn't such a bad thing, really. It covers similar ground (approximately) but lacks the others depth, genius and complexity (and it's glorious final twist). What the Da Vinci Code does offer, however, is a great fun fast occult conspiracy thriller, with engaging characters, smart action and a good easy reading style. Take everything it contains with a fistful of salt, however - Mr Brown doesn't do a very good job of deliniating fact from fiction, tending to blur real and fictional figures easily. The most annoying point of the novel occurs right at the beggining, oddly, when he presents a page of "facts" outside the fiction to validate his work - but at least one of them is discredited beyond being taken seriously. In the end, this book isn't half as deep, philosophical or revolutionary as it thinks it is is - but as a good fun holiday read its worth a look. And regarding Mr Brown's supposed great historical research, most of it seems cribbed from one or two sensationalist books (Holy Blood Holy Grail, for example) - most of the mythology and legend I was already familiar with and I'm certainly not a world famous symbologist....
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