Monday, April 24, 2006

The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

(pb; 2000: second book in the Robert Langdon series)

From the back cover:

“While in Paris, Harvard symbiologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci – clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

“Even more startling, the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion – a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and da Vinci – and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle – while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move – the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.”


A year after the events of Angels & Demons, Langdon finds himself in the middle of another international conspiracy, one that incorporates everything from Mary Magdalene to Walt Disney. The set-up’s familiar, but author Langdon tweaks it in a refreshing way so that it doesn’t feel like a rehash of Angels & Demons. Most of what held true for the previous book holds true for Da Vinci, but this time around, author Brown has concocted a better tale: while there’s just as many twists in this as the previous book, they’re more effective.

The character of Sophie Neveu replaces Vittoria Vetra as Langdon’s (possible) love interest; in true Bond-style, Vetra is briefly mentioned in a couple of flashbacks (a la Tiffany Case, mentioned in Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love), then forgotten.

The Da Vinci Code, like its predecessor, is a beach-read actioner that ably mixes low- and high-brow humor, though Da Vinci improves the formula.

Followed by The Lost Symbol, which is set for a September 15, 2009 publication date.

The film version of The Da Vinci Code is scheduled for stateside release on May 19, 2006.

Ron Howard is set to direct Da Vinci, from a script by Akiva Goldsman.

Tom Hanks plays Langdon. Audrey Tautou plays Neveu. Ian McKellen plays Sir Leigh Teabing. Jean Reno plays Bezu Fache. Paul Bettany plays Silas. Jürgen Prochnow plays Andre Vernet.

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