Da Vinci Code (Brown)

Book Reviews
A riddle-filled, code-breaking, exhilaratingly brainy.... In this gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he has been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection. Not since the advent of Harry Potter has an author so flagrantly delighted in leading readers on a breathless chase and coaxing them through hoops.
Janet Maslin - The New York Times

Brown keeps the pace fast, the puzzles that lead to the Grail are exceedingly clever, and there is a flurry of surprises and betrayals before the mystery is finally solved. Whatever the reader makes of the religious theories put forth, Brown has a great deal of interest to say about the early days of Christianity, the influence of pagan religions on it and the legend of the Grail. He says the revelations about Jesus — not to be revealed here — have been whispered about for centuries, but have never overcome the opposition of organized Christianity. How much of this is fact and how much is fiction? Read the book and make up your own mind.
Patrick Anderson - The Washington Post

The Da Vinci Code is a dazzling performance by Brown, a delightful display of erudition. Though his mini-lectures sometimes hijack the narrative, they're necessary to keep us informed and occasionally permit us to try to unravel puzzles with Langdon and Neveu. Brown delivers a crackling, intricate mystery, complete with breathtaking escapes and several stunning surprises. It's challenging, exciting, and a whole lot more.
Jim Fusilli - The Boston Globe

What if Jesus Christ had a tryst with Mary Magdalene, and the interlude produced a child? Such a possibility-yielding a so-called royal bloodline-provides the framework for Brown's latest thriller (after Angels and Demons), an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre's chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown's last book. The two find several puzzling codes at the murder scene, all of which form a treasure map to the fabled Holy Grail, where proof of the Jesus bloodline supposedly can be found. As their search moves from France to England, Neveu and Langdon are confounded by two mysterious groups-the legendary Priory of Sion, a nearly 1,000-year-old secret society whose members have included Botticelli and Isaac Newton, and the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. Both have their own reasons for wanting to ensure that the Grail isn't found. Brown sometimes ladles out too much religious history at the expense of pacing, and Langdon is a hero in desperate need of more chutzpah. Still, Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts.
Publishers Weekly

Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist from Brown's Angels and Demons, is back in this amazing sequel. In Paris for a lecture, Langdon is summoned in the middle of the night to meet the head of the French police at the Louvre. The museum's curator has been found dead in a secure section of the gallery, with a message by his body leading to a baffling series of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. In addition, the curator left a specific message to find Langdon. While the police think Langdon is their culprit, he teams up with a French cryptologist to uncover the truth about the hidden messages. The answers lead to discovery of a shocking historical fact, and certain people will do anything to keep it a secret. Brown solidifies his reputation as one of the most skilled thriller writers on the planet with his best book yet, a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense. This masterpiece should be mandatory reading.
Library Journal

When French police discover Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon's name hidden in a strange cipher found next to the body of a Louvre museum curator, he becomes their prime suspect for the brutal murder. The only person who believes that Robert is innocent is French cryptologist Sophie Neveu, who helps him escape from the police. While trying to elude capture, the two struggle to unravel the curator's mysterious message, only to find themselves caught between a centuries-old, secret European society and an extremely conservative, controversial branch of the Catholic Church, each of which is determined to possess the curator's secret, even if it means killing Robert and Sophie to get what they want. Brown's best-selling book, which features the hero from his earlier novel, Angels and Demons (Pocket Books, 2000), is an absolutely addictive thriller that blends fact and fiction with wonderfully creative results. The fascinating references in the plot to Da Vinci, the Knights Templar, the early history of the Catholic Church, and the Holy Grail might push some teens into researching these topics just to see what, if any, possible real historical basis there might be to Brown's story. Suspense-loving older teens, especially those with an interest in history or art, will definitely find this fast and furiously plotted thriller to be superior reading entertainment. (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday. —John Charles

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