Dan Brouwn’s mystery/detective novel “The DaVinci Code,” published in 2003, has sold more than 40 million copies and its narrative was made into a script for the needs of the recently released Columbia Pictures film carrying the same title. This worldwide bestseller has been translated into 44 languages and is currently the sixth biggest selling book of all time. Can you imagine which one holds the first place on that bestseller list? Well, it is the Bible.
By examining Christianity and traveling through history, Brown’s book invites the reader to reconsider what is firmly believed for centuries now in relation to Jesus Christ’s deeds and life choices. Offering a conspiracy theory, which is headed by the organization of Opus Dei belonging to the Catholic Church to cover up the “true” story of Jesus, the plot of the novel has helped generate popular interest in speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and the role of Mary Magdalene in the history of Christianity.
But regardless of the glowing reviews it received from the New York Times, People Magazine and the Washington Post, the book has been heavily critiqued by many as poorly written, inaccurate and a source of confusion between speculation and fact. The criticism generated focuses on the speculations made to base the story’s plot and the misrepresentations of core aspects of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church history and the numerous descriptions of European art forms, historical facts and architectural designs. Brown was accused apart from actually copying the facts of the 1982 published book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, to distort and fabricate history so as to serve the story’s purpose.
But isn’t that exactly what a novel does? Although I have not been a student of any professional writing classes up until now, I believe, and that is because I have read a variety of fiction novels, that the writer creates art by writing a story and art can take any form. The art form of literature has many focal points, one of them being fiction. High-fantasy stories that do not portray real-world historical facts, although very often the writer is based on them, do not have to suffer that kind of negative criticism.
Although Brown’s book is not one of my favorites, I was astonished to discover how many people have been attacking the author for writing a “fake” story, what is known as fiction. It is generally agreed that it is much more interesting when one relies on facts, to portray them as they really were recorded by historians and experts, but this decision belongs to the writer and has to be taken while writing the story.
Regardless if one disagrees with Brown’s theories or finds his book amusing, the criticism should not be directed, at least in my opinion, on whether or non professor Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu took the right road towards the French country side, but whether or not one likes the story and finds the language used and the arguments made by the author accurate and constructive. Of course, it is always nice to know exactly which road one should take in order to escape from the Louvre Museum in case of an emergency, but I will agree with a famous quote that is accredited to Buddha that “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way and not starting.