Book Review: The Da Vinci Code

Excellent, Thought-Provoking Thriller

Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon is awakened in the middle of the night in his Paris hotel and begins a wild ride that starts as a murder mystery and soon finds Langdon, with the help of French police cryptographer Sophie Neveau, finding clues and solving riddles, many of which were left by artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci, that promise to unlock one of the greatest secrets in Western civilization.

The Book

I am a huge fan of Dan Brown's writing style. There are some who criticize the short chapters and claim that the character development is lacking. But, I am no English major and I don't care for critics. I just want the book to grab my attention and entertain me, and this book did that.

I find the short chapters in Dan Brown's books enjoyable. I think they make it feel more fast-paced as the chapters quickly jump to different areas of the story. I also like the fact that the frequent chapter breaks make it easy to find a stopping point without having to quit in the middle of a chapter.

This thriller focuses on Robert Langdon, a Harvard University professor of symbology, who is in Paris on a speaking engagement. He is awakened in the middle of the night by the French police and implicated in the murder of the Louvre Museum curator.

With some help from a French police cryptographer, Sophie Neveau, who feels that he is being wrongly accused, he manages to escape and together they embark on a quest to find the real killer.

That quest leads to clues, puzzles, and riddles that link back to an ancient society tasked with protecting the truth about Jesus Christ and unlock the greatest secret in Western civilization.

Plenty To Think About

While the book is a work of fiction, Dan Brown has done an exhaustive amount of research to ensure that his explanations and depictions of history and the ancient societies that are featured in the book are as accurate as possible. I felt like Brown did a good job of researching computer encryption algorithms and network security for his book Digital Fortress, but that research pales in comparison with both the depth and scope of the research for The Da Vinci Code.

There is no shortage of critics of Brown's research or his depictions of events. When you introduce evidence and arguments which, if true, shake the foundation on which the entire religion of Christianity is based, there are bound to be skeptics.

In Brown's defense, he is a writer first and foremost, not an art historian or theologian. In defense of Brown's research, he is not a heretic who thought up the concepts he describes. There are plenty of resources that agree with the version of history and events described in The Da Vinci Code.

Frankly, even an art historian or a theologian, in my opinion, can not state for certain how things are. That is why it is called "faith". Brown's book gives you plenty to think about though in exploring the roots of that faith.