49. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Why The Da Vinci Code is so sensational ?


The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery thriller novel by Dan Brown. It is Brown's second novel to include the character Robert Langdon: the first was his 2000 novel Angels & Demons. The Da Vinci Code follows "symbologist" Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu after a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris causes them to become involved in a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus Christ having been a companion to Mary Magdalene.


The novel explores an alternative religious history, whose central plot point is that the Merovingian kings of France were descended from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, ideas derived from Clive Prince's The Templar Revelation (1997) and books by Margaret Starbird. The book also refers to The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) though Dan Brown has stated that it was not used as research material.


The Da Vinci Code provoked a popular interest in speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and Mary Magdalene's role in the history of Christianity. The book has, however, been extensively denounced by many Christian denominations as an attack on the Catholic Church, and consistently criticized for its historical and scientific inaccuracies.


The novel nonetheless became a massive worldwide bestseller that sold 80 million copies as of 2009 and has been translated into 44 languages. In November 2004, Random House published a Special Illustrated Edition with 160 illustrations. In 2006, a film adaptation was released by Columbia Pictures.


I. The Plot

Louvre curator and Priory of Sion grand master Jacques Saunière is fatally shot one night at the museum by an albino Catholic monk named Silas, who is working on behalf of someone he knows only as the Teacher, who wishes to discover the location of the "keystone," an item crucial in the search for the Holy Grail.


After Saunière's body is discovered in the pose of the Vitruvian Man, the police summon Harvard professor Robert Langdon, who is in town on business. Police captain Bezu Fache tells him that he was summoned to help the police decode the cryptic message Saunière left during the final minutes of his life. The message includes a Fibonacci sequence out of order.


Pic : Dan Brown

Langdon explains to Fache that Saunière was a leading authority on the subject of goddess artwork and that the pentacle Saunière drew on his chest in his own blood represents an allusion to the goddess and not devil worship, as Fache believes.

Sophie Neveu, a police cryptographer, secretly explains to Langdon that she is Saunière's estranged granddaughter, and that Fache thinks Langdon is the murderer because the last line in her grandfather's message, which was meant for Neveu, said "P.S. Find Robert Langdon," which Fache had erased prior to Langdon's arrival.



Pic : Louvre Museum, Paris, France


However, "P.S." actually refers to Sophie as the nickname given to her by her grandfather is "Princess Sophie". It does not refer to "postscript". Neveu is troubled by memories of her grandfather's involvement in a secret pagan group. However, she understands that her grandfather intended Langdon to decipher the code, which leads them to a safe deposit box at the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich.

Neveu and Langdon escape from the police and visit the bank. In the safe deposit box they find a box containing the keystone: a cryptex, a cylindrical, hand-held vault with five concentric, rotating dials labeled with letters. When these are lined up correctly, they unlock the device. If the cryptex is forced open, an enclosed vial of vinegar breaks and dissolves the message inside the cryptex, which was written on papyrus. The box containing the cryptex contains clues to its password.


Langdon and Neveu take the keystone to the home of Langdon's friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, an expert on the Holy Grail, the legend of which is heavily connected to the Priory. There, Teabing explains that the Grail is not a cup, but a tomb containing the bones of Mary Magdalene.

Pic : St.Peter's Basilica ( Vatican Church ) , The Capital of Roman Catholic World.


The trio then flees the country on Teabing's private plane, on which they conclude that the proper combination of letters spell out Neveu's given name, Sofia. Opening the cryptex, they discover a smaller cryptex inside it, along with another riddle that ultimately leads the group to the tomb of Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey.


During the flight to Britain, Neveu reveals the source of her estrangement from her grandfather ten years earlier. Arriving home unexpectedly from university, Neveu secretly witnesses a spring fertility rite conducted in the secret basement of her grandfather's country estate. From her hiding place, she is shocked to see her grandfather with a woman at the center of a ritual attended by men and women who are wearing masks and chanting praise to the goddess. She flees the house and breaks off all contact with Saunière. Langdon explains that what she witnessed was an ancient ceremony known as hieros gamos or "sacred marriage."


By the time they arrive at Westminster Abbey, Teabing is revealed to be the Teacher for whom Silas is working. Teabing wishes to use the Holy Grail, which he believes is a series of documents establishing that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and bore children, in order to ruin the Vatican. He compels Langdon at gunpoint to solve the second cryptex's password, which Langdon realizes is "apple." Langdon secretly opens the cryptex and removes its contents before tossing the empty cryptex in the air.

Pic : Swiss Banking and Secrecy, Zurich


Teabing is arrested by Fache, who by now realizes that Langdon is innocent. Bishop Aringarosa, head of religious sect Opus Dei and Silas' mentor, realizing that Silas has been used to murder innocent people, rushes to help the police find him. When the police find Silas hiding in an Opus Dei Center, he assumes that they are there to kill him and he rushes out, accidentally shooting Bishop Aringarosa. Bishop Aringarosa survives but is informed that Silas was found dead later from a gunshot wound.


The final message inside the second keystone leads Neveu and Langdon to Rosslyn Chapel, whose docent turns out to be Neveu's long-lost brother, whom Neveu had been told died as a child in the car accident that killed her parents. The guardian of Rosslyn Chapel, Marie Chauvel Saint Clair, is Neveu's long-lost grandmother. It is revealed that Neveu and her brother are descendants of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. The Priory of Sion hid her identity to protect her from possible threats to her life.


The real meaning of the last message is that the Grail is buried beneath the small pyramid directly below the La Pyramide Inversée, the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre. It also lies beneath the "Rose Line," an allusion to "Rosslyn." Langdon figures out this final piece to the puzzle; he follows the Rose Line to La Pyramide Inversée, where he kneels to pray before the hidden sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene, as the Templar knights did before him.


II. Why The Da Vinci Code is massive success ?


Its stunning approach to the story with mystery, suspense and criptic codes coupled with controversy raised on Christian Belief System and Catholic Church along with Swiss Banking secrecy.


Too many Elements mixed so well in story telling including too much of speed of happening of events with continuous breath taking twists and nerve breaking turns.

Towards the end of the book, anyone's blood pressure will shoot up as how story ends. Its a totally a page turner and brain-teaser Thriller.


It lead to intellectual debate on a lot of historical subjects and religions alike.


III. Book Reviews


Circa, March 2005


Two years ago this month, Doubleday published a historical thriller with an announced first printing of 85,000 and high hopes that a little-known writer named Dan Brown would catch on with the public.


"We surely expected to have a huge success, but I don't think anyone dreamed it would become a historic publication," says Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group.


Circa 2012


The 10 Most Read Books In The World [Infographic]


Given all the hype surrounding E.L. James's "Fifty Shades Of Grey," you might think that's the most popular book in the world. But you'd be wrong. The most read book in the world is the Bible.

Writer James Chapman created a list of the most read books in the world based on the number of copies each book sold over the last 50 years.

He found that the Bible far outsold any other book, with a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years. "Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung" came in second with 820 million copies sold, and "Harry Potter" came in third with 400 million copies sold. Designer Jared Fanning created an infographic (below) on the most read books in the world, based on Chapman's research.

Pic : Books in Million Copies


Circa Feb 2020


Before he became a best-selling writer, Dan Brown was an aspiring musician. In 1989, he self-produced an album of children’s music he arranged on synthesizers, titled “Musica Animalia.” It sold around 500 copies, and Brown soon forgot about it.

He had better luck as a novelist, with page-turners like “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Lost Symbol” and other thrillers that collectively have more than 220 million copies in print.


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Book Reviews....


WOW… Blockbuster perfection. An exhilaratingly brainy thriller. 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


A new master of smart thrills. A pulse-quickening, brain-teasing adventure. – People Magazine


This is pure genius. Dan Brown has to be one of the best, smartest, and most accomplished writers in the country. – Nelson Demille


Thriller writing doesn’t get any better than this. – The Denver Post


IV. Impact of the Novel on Tourism Industry.


'Da Vinci Code' helps Louvre break visitor record


Paris museum passes 7 million visitors


The Louvre Museum in Paris hit record attendance figures of around 7.3 million during 2005. The visitor numbers were boosted by soirees for young people, successful exhibitions, and Dan Browns bestselling 'Da Vinci Code', which features a murder in the famous art museum.


The 2005 visitor numbers compare with 6.7 million in 2004, says administrator Dider Selles. Selles said Dan Brown's mystical thriller "The Da Vinci Code" was in part responsible for drawing fans to the Louvre, though likely "not in gigantic proportions." Some travel companies offer Da Vinci code tours that make stops at the Louvre.


It also lead to improved tourism in Rome, Zurich and Other parts of Europe covered in this Novel.


V. Dan Brown in Brief


Daniel Gerhard Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author best known for his thriller novels, including the Robert Langdon novels Angels & Demons (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2003), The Lost Symbol (2009), Inferno (2013) and Origin (2017). His novels are treasure hunts that usually take place over a period of 24 hours.They feature recurring themes of cryptography, art, and conspiracy theories. His books have been translated into 57 languages and, as of 2012, have sold over 200 million copies. Three of them, Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Inferno, have been adapted into films.


The Robert Langdon novels are deeply engaged with Christian themes and historical fact, and have generated controversy as a result. Brown states on his website that his books are not anti-Christian, though he is on a "constant spiritual journey" himself. He claims that his book The Da Vinci Code is simply "an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate" and suggests that the book may be used "as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith."


A Message from the Author :


My Parents were educators, and so it’s no surprise that I have a fascination with history and research,” says Brown. “In fact, if I weren’t an author, I’m sure I would be a teacher myself. It is my sincere hope that this adaptation of The Da Vinci Code sparks in young adults the same thrill of discovery that I feel while exploring hidden history and the mysteries of the world we live in.”


Conclusion


The Da Vinci Code is a Monumental Achievement of Dan Brown with sales in unpropotional levels . This book has helped publishing industry in a big way as people across world are moving towards digital books.


Dan Brown also decoded recipe for success with his second novel and it stunned the whole world with its sales and made Dan Brown International Successful Author and Celebrity overnight.


The Da Vinci Code also lead to intellectual debate on a lot of historical subjects and religions alike and rightly occupied one of The 10 Most Read Books In The World . in last 50 years.



MM Rao


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Sources :


https://www.businessinsider.com/the-top-10-most-read-books-in-the-world-infographic-2012-12?IR=T

https://www.gradesaver.com/the-da-vinci-code/wikipedia/introduction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Da_Vinci_Code

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/da-vinci-code-just-keeps-on-selling-20050317-gdky0o.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/books/dan-brown-childrens-book-da-vinci-code.html

Source : https://www.cabi.org/leisuretourism/news/15085

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