I finally got around to The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. The book has been praised by many and now I can see why. It’s an excellent story. Knowing I would never find the time to read it, I decided to listen to the audio version. This turned out to be a great choice. Paul Michael reads exceptionally well, giving added life to each character by expertly using different voices for each one. This also allows the listener to recognize when characters are speaking, so I could literally hear the voices as I made my way through the book.
Since this is a mystery, I don’t want to give too much away. The hero is Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who finds himself unwittingly pulled into an ancient mystery that he is uniquely qualified to solve. His knowledge of Holy Grail lore, Catholic Church history, and most importantly, the use of symbols in art, religion, and a secret society named The Priory of Sion, make him key to solving the puzzles laid before him by museum curator Jacques Saunière. Joined in the hunt by cryptologist Sophie Neveu and Grail expert Sir Leigh Teabing, the trio trail blaze through France and Great Britain seeking answers. Their quest is made all the more compelling because they are being pursued not only by the French police (Langdon is accused of murder), but also by a fanatical Opus Dei monk named Silas. Further, Silas’ actions are directed by “the Teacher,” a character who stays in the shadows for most of the story.
Brown writes excellent descriptions, delightful dialogue, and maintains an attention to detail that is critical to keeping the plot on track. He moves the plot along at a lightening fast pace. It is easy to miss that the main action occurs in fewer than 36 hours. Robert Langdon is believable as an Indiana Jones style character, albeit more academic and less adventuresome. Like a ballerina whose every move has purpose, each of the supporting characters are included to expand the story in ways that are both ingenious and entertaining.
After reading or listening to The Da Vinci Code, you may wish to check out the library’s copy of Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code edited by Dan Burstein. It can help you sort out which parts of the book are research-based, which are entirely fabricated and which fall somewhere in between. Brown took great care to blur the lines between “truth” and fiction, which again adds to the readers’ experience. The Da Vinci Code is a tightly knit mystery that includes plenty of action, a little romance, and a surplus of puzzles within puzzles.
Check the WRL catalog for The Da Vinci Code