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DaVinci, Grade School Mystery Novels and Grues*

The reason I asked about Da Vinci Code is this - I know many people who have read the book. Some view the story as facts wrapped around a neat little fictional tale. Some have read the book and were astounded at the things they didn't know. I know a few people who have questioned everything they knew about their faith after reading The Da Vinci Code. So far - and I'm about halfway through - I have to say that as far as facts go, there are definitely things I'm learning. I've had to run to the computer a few times run Google checks on a few items. For instance, I had no idea that Opus Dei really exists. I know very little about the lives and times of some very famous artists (and, as always, I will obsess about the little things I learn within books; reading biographies of every single person mentioned). As far as the religion aspect, I guess I'm not shocked by anything I've read so far. Mostly because it's hard to tell where Brown's fiction ends and his knowledge of facts begin, but also because I have an inherent distrust of organized religion. Treacher points out in the comments below that the book reads like an Infocom game, which is true to an extent. About fifteen chapters in, I was struck at how much it reminded me of a series of books I read when I was younger, though for the life of me I cannot remember the titles. They were books about three siblings who often stayed at their grandparent's farm over summer vacations, where they always ended up solving one mystery or another. The cool thing about the books (cool to a little kid, I suppose) was how the author wrote out the clues on the pages just the way the kids saw them so you could try to figure it out as well. One story had something to do with an attic. One took place out in the woods. Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about? Keep in mind this was in the mid to late 60's that I would have read the books. Anyhow, that's what The Da Vinci Code reminds me of thus far; half computer adventure game and half grade school mystery book. That's not to say I'm not enjoying it; sometimes an easy read is welcome. And I think I will take in enough of Brown's fact-based lessons in the book to gather reading material to last me through the winter. I suppose it's the religion issue throughout the story so far that I find most compelling. More on that later, but I'm still interested in any thoughts you have. *ok, there were no grues here, but I can't mention adventure games without referring to grues. Update: I found the children's books! They were by Peggy Parish. The one I was specifically thinking of was Clues in the Woods. Now I'm going to have to buy them all. For nostalgia, of course.

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» The Da Vinci Code from Say Anything
If you haven't read this book, you should. If you know people who have not read it, buy it for them for Christmas. Its probably one of the most interesting books I've read in a long, long time. The reason... [Read More]

» Da Vinci Code Reviews from TexasBestGrok
Michele at A Small Victory has posted a review of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. I posted my take on the book and some... [Read More]

Comments

I don't know I'd take the "facts" in the book too seriously. Dan Brown is no Umberto Eco.

But yeah -- you didn't know about Opus Dei? I believe some of those guys (or a related group) tried to recruit my husband and me, but we're not into religion =that= organized. Now, if the Knights of Malta came calling, we'd join up like =that=, because as a Knight of Malta you can ride your horse into church and you get to perform some of the sacraments for guys dying on the battlefield (mainly confessions, maybe extreme unction...anybody can baptize in extreme conditions... the things you learn in RCIA...) I think there are some other perks, but those are the ones I always remembered (we had a friend who was a Knight of Malta).

Dan's basically trying to forge a link, or at least a coherent segue, between Christianity and paganism. It's nothing Marion Zimmer Bradley didn't do in Mists of Avalon and I have no problem with it as a fictional device.

I do have a problem with the part where he writes like ass. I'm not a reader of book critics, I'm not a lit geek, but even I gotta draw the line at sentences like, "He waved quietly."

Try and wave loudly sometime.

Given the time off, money, and research opportunities, I'm like 99% sure you'd have written a better book than Da Vinci Code. You already write better than that guy. You write better when you have mono, for pete's sake.

It was entertaining while it lasted, but I'd been through the quasi-religious ideas before, the dialogue was ranker than a trash can full of gorgonzola, and--okay, you're only half through it. I'll shut up now.

It's an entertaining read not meant to be taken totally serious. There are many things in in it thought that are quite factual and that is where the uproar came in when the book was released.
It's a quick read, fast and light and yes ilyka, sometimes so simple you think you are reading a children s book but go look up stuff that he mentions. Quite fascinating indeed.
Oh and that line that gets mentioned, can be traced. ;)

If Opus Dei worries you consider reading another book, "In God's Name" by David Yallop - then research his credentials and previous books - especially on "The Jackal" : http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=carlos+the+jackal

While I.G.N. is a touch dated, mostly re: specifc incidents it still chills my spine knowing nothing has significantly changed.
For some heavyweight background check out http://www.sedos.org/english/walbert.htm : The New Ecclesiology of Vatican II

Regards ... H

I come from a different religious viewpoint. While I respect Catholicism, I don't believe in very much of its theology.

I am also somewhat familiar with the ideas that the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar protected a vital secret through the ages. I generally think that the Templars actually were protecting some special secret, and that the Freemasons eventually carried on with that mission. Whether it is the secret that Dan Brown proclaims, I don't know. I have some opinions on it, but no knowledge. Actually, Catholics would find my opinions even more heretical than that explained in this book.

A book that came out in 1982, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail outlined a lot of information that Dan Brown used. Again, the conclusions that this book came to seem a little bit contrived.

I think that the best thing that comes from reading The DaVinci Code is discussion. There are a lot of questions, that various people seem more intent on suppressing than discussing, and this book brings some of those questions to the table for discussion.

You should also check out the third Gabriel Knight game, which is based around the whole san greal / sang real thing.

If you enjoyed the DaVinci Code, try Brown's earlier book, Angels and Demons. For the storytelling, I liked it better.

Dan Brown has a serious problem...he is really not a very good writer and he does implausible (in relation to the book) endings. There are far better books along this ilk including some non-fiction ones like Holy Blood & Holy Grail (and the several other books written by the author). I have been interested in this sort of thing since my late teens and continue to read quite a bit about it. Needless to say this sort of thing has a habit of creeping into my writing as well.

Someone I used to work for, and member of the British parliament, had OD meetings at his office once a month or so.

"DaVinci" is like Michael Moore's films - the entertainment value is undeniable, but any attempt to extrapolate it to the real world will just leave you looking stupid. There are several books out that fact-check Brown's ass for that reason.

I mentioned before that I've just finished "Angels and Demons" his first Langdon novel. GREAT story. I googled just about everything in there. It's freaky.

If you go on his webpage, he'll tell you he's writing fiction. Fiction.

And he's all for the "fact checking" and debates going on. I haven't read TDC yet but I'm guessing there's some mention of the worst enemy of religion being apathy?

I've read those books too 'chele...those and Encyclopedia Brown were favorties of mine as a kid but I can't remember the ones you're talking about to save my butt right now. It wasn't "Alfred Hitchcock Presents The Hardy Boys" series was it?

Spoiler alert:

If you have read Angels and Demons you have read The Davinci Code. Change the "facts" for a new mythology, and you have the new book. The outline is identical.

I timed out on this book about half way through. I just found the situations contrived and the plot to be beyond plausible.

The interesting part, to me at least, is that I was baptised a Catholic, went through all the early sacraments (First Communion, Confirmation), and attended Pariochial school through 7th grade (when the school closed down). I was an alterboy, went to church every week, skipped meat on fridays, and did the whole Lent thing every year.

But sometime between 9th and 12th Grade I abandoned all of that stuff. I went through a long period of a-religiousness that took me into my late twenties.

I was offended when the Catholic priest who agreed to co-officiate my wedding (to a Congregationalist) ditched us on our wedding day with some lame-assed excuse that I've forgotten. I was irritated by the Catholic priest who counciled that it was my "duty" to raise my children in the Catholic faith. And it pissed me off when, in order to have our son baptised in the church that married us, we had to endure a lengthy and accusatory lecture on our lack of fealty to Christian religion as demonstrated by our regular absence from Sunday service.

So, I guess I would have expected to be thrilled to embrace the malevolent implications underlying the story in the Da Vinci Code, but I guess I am just more disbelieving of conspiracy theories than I am anti-religion.

Other than that, it's a very popular story. :-)

It cracks me up that people get so bent out of shape over a work of FICTION, and that people go around factchecking and writing lengthy books and treatises debunking a work of FICTION, and that people so visciously attack a guy for writing FICTION. Sheesh. Get over it people.

I LOVED the Peggy Parish mysteries. More than Nancy Drew. We've been having a hard time getting my daughter (2nd grade) to read. She's finally found the genre of books she likes, and surprise, it's mystery-based books. She's ripped through the Magic Treehouse Series. They're okay, but made me think of Clues in the Woods, etc., but I couldn't for the life of me remember who wrote them or even what they were called. Thanks so much! Heading to Borders as soon as I get out of here today!

The books you read as a child, The Bobbsey Twins?

According to imdb.com:

Tom Hanks is leading the way to star in the big screen adaptation of bestselling drama novel The Da Vinci Code. According to trade paper Hollywood Reporter, Hanks is the favorite to land the lead role of art historian Professor Robert Langdon in the big screen take of Dan Brown's book. The Oscar-winning actor is reportedly already in talks with Columbia Pictures studio bosses and director Ron Howard about the coveted role. In Brown's book, Langdon is the man who cracks the mystery of the renowned Holy Grail. The film is expected to begin shooting next year.

I enjoyed the DVC as a light and entertaining read, of course it is fiction. But I really liked the way that he ran the conspiracy theories together, and I certainly wasn't expecting it to be "great literature". After DVC I picked up the Templar Revelation - now that is supposed to be non-fiction, and I'll tell you what, if it's true - well read it for yourself. I t is really unbelievable.

I read the book and read several additional books by Dan Brown. I like his writing as entertaining. I also read several books in reasearch and the best book I found to follow the Da Vinci Code is by Darrell L. Bock PH.D. Breaking the Da Vinci Code (ISBN: 0785260463)

I used to go to a lot of Opus Dei activities when I was in high school.

I went to Opus Dei retreats in Massachussets.

In 1993 Opus Dei paid for me to go spend a month in Spain at a summer camp for high school kids, I was a counselor. It was awesome.

They also paid for me to go to Denver for World Youth Day in 1993, and the head of the Opus Dei Center in NYC (Riverside Study Center) was one of the Pope's assistants during that trip.

I never became an Opus Dei member, but I spent an enormous amount of time at the Opus Dei center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan between the ages of 16 and 20.

I have only positive things to say about Opus Dei. But I do know that Opus Dei has plenty of disgruntled former members.

Opus Dei is not a monastic order, so I have no idea how Dan Brown came up with the idea of an evil albino Opus Dei monk. They're are no monks in Opus Dei.

I personally feel that the Da Vinci Code is just another Catholic Bashing attempt, despite what Dan Brown will say about it.

The new Opus Dei center on 34th & Lex (I've never been there), is a multi-million dollar center, so what? They built it as the new Opus Dei headquarters for the United States. They built it through contributions from Opus Dei members. Did they do anything illegal? Why does Dan Brown make the insinuation that Opus Dei is an evil organization?

Is Dan Brown courageously revealing Truth (and coincidentally netting a zillion bucks in the process), while Thomas Aquinas was just shilling for the Man? Count me dubious about anyone who seems to conclude the affirmative.

Good story? I have no problem with that. I just hate it when I watch people who are so darned skeptical they reject God and the religion they were raised in who suddenly become so gullible they fall for this sort of stuff as a source of revelation.

I suppose I should add that my view of the whole Templar angle is tainted by the fact that I'm a (senior) DeMolay. My father was a 32nd degree Mason.

I can only say that I find the many conspiracy theories... amusing.

Put me into the "facts surrounding a neat little fictional tale" catagory.

Think what fun they'll have with Scientology ten centuries hence. Then again, maybe that's a bad thought.

Anyway, Ludlum wrote a book in the 70's called "The Gemini Contenders" which suggested a more damaging heresy in the last 10 pages. It is, IMHO, Ludlum's best book.

I figure Da Vinci Code is a fictionalised embellishment of Holy Blood Holy Grail, which was a fantasy interpretation of historical fact and conjecture parading as non-fiction. Interesting layers anyway.

DTG
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I was greatly saddened by the number of people who are measuring their 'faith' by such things as the DVC. There IS a conspiracy but THEY are smarter than the people who write things like the DVC and the stuff like Left Behind and other mind benders.

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