Tag: Illuminati

Dan Brown – The Da Vinci Code | Review

Title: The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 605

Rating: 7/10

 

Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown – The Da Vinci Code

 

It’s time. It’s the best-selling novel of one of the world’s best-selling authors. It’s The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the book that made a star of the writer and which went on to become a Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. Odds are that if you’re a reader, you’ve read it. And if you’re on this site in the first place, you’re probably a reader.

Dan Brown’s tale of the Illuminati follows Harvard professor Robert Langdon and symbologist Sophie Neveu as they struggle to decipher an ancient mystery – it’s a typical Dan Brown novel, really. Langdon’s background as a symbologist is a necessity – the path is strewn with puzzles hidden in artwork, and it’s through this that Langdon has the symbologic savvy to understand how each of the pieces of the jigsaw fits together.

And, like all of Brown’s novels, there’s a twist – see, it turns out that Jesus had a ‘thing’ with Mary Magdalene, and after his death his bloodline continued throughout the ages. Problem is, certain people don’t want that to become common knowledge, and Langdon and Neveu need to stay alive for long enough to figure out what it is that they’re sitting on and to make it public.

 

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

 

Another central plot line is the eventual discovery of the Holy Grail, the wooden cup that Jesus drank from at the last supper. Except, that’s not actually what the Grail is – but I’ll be quiet, I don’t want to spoil it for you all. It’s one of those books that you ought to read anyway, just because of its popularity.

It’s not a bad book though, and it’s one of only two Dan Brown novels that I could actually recommend. As much as we all love to hate him, Brown is still a master wordsmith and a man who literally taught on the subject. He started writing much later than most as well, after dabbling as a musician.

Predictably, the book managed to draw attention to the Opus Dei and to come under fire from Christian associations across the world – many called for the book to be banned. Ever heard of the Streisand Effect? It’s a phenomenon that’s named after Barbara Streisand, who tried to suppress aerial photographs of her house. This attempt at censorship alerted people to the problem in the first place, driving the whole thing to much greater heights than it could previously have reached. In part, the book’s success is surely down to the right-wingers who tried to censor it, thus increasing the desire to read it in the first place.

 

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa

 

As for the conspiracy element of the story, well – we all love a good theory, don’t we? I find conspiracy theories as interesting as the next man, but I’m slightly hesitant to believe them. I’ve seen too many low-budget documentaries to believe everything that I see and hear.

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether you believe it in the long run – you just need to suspend your disbelief for long enough to sit out the story. That’s pretty easy, because Brown’s writing is lucid and communicative – he’s not a bad writer, despite the occasional scientific and historical inaccuracies.

Overall, it’s a recommendation from me, ’cause it’s the kind of book that anyone can enjoy. It makes you feel clever, too – I have a feeling that that has something to do with the book’s popularity. It’s the kind of book that people read to complete their quota of a book a year.

 

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

 

Click here to buy The Da Vinci Code.

 


Dan Brown – Angels and Demons | Review

Title: Angels and Demons

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 620

Rating: 7/10

 

Dan Brown - Angels and Demons

Dan Brown – Angels and Demons

 

Oh boy, 620 words – where to start. Alright, well first off, I’d like to explain – I don’t hate Dan Brown. Oh sure, I’ve complained about him before, notably in an essay I co-wrote with a friend called ‘(The Lack of) Originality in Modern Literature‘ in which we slated his formulaic writing style.

But having said that, his novels actually aren’t that bad – they’re like fast food for the brain, the type of book that people read because it’s easy despite having plenty of pages. And they have a plot-line, too – in fact, this has one of the better ones.

That said, the novel does still have its fair share of irregularities, stuff that’s explained scientifically but still doesn’t sound legitimate, like when Robert Langdon dives out of a helicopter and survives the fall. All of the stuff about antimatter is difficult to believe at times, too – it’s cool, but is it realistic?

 

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

 

Well, luckily for you, I’ve done some research and discovered that it isn’t – antimatter takes more energy to create than to produce, which would cripple our ability to manufacture it, and over the last twenty years, only 10 billionths of a gram of antimatter has ever been produced at CERN, the equivalent of a firecracker in explosive strength.

I’ve never found Langdon likeable, either – don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the antagonists, although it’s interesting to see how deviously their plans are woven, but I often find that the protagonists are one-sided and often sanctimonious.

Now that the negativity is out of the way, let’s explore why it still received  a 7/10 rating. For a start, the hassassin and the disguised character of Janus are terrifying, there’s a sinisterness about them that leaves an uneasy feeling in your stomach as you tentatively turn the pages.

 

Vatican City, where much of the action takes place...

Vatican City, where much of the action takes place…

 

And in places, the characterisation of the extended cast of characters, those who don’t really fit in to the classic ‘good‘ and ‘evil‘ categories, is actually impressive, and each has their own eccentricity.

Take, for example, Maximilian Kohler, the Hawking-esque director of CERN who, confined to a wheelchair, relies on an extensive array of electronic gadgetry including a computer, a telephone, a pager, a video camera and a gun. With added depth, he also blames religion for his paralysis because his pious parents refused to seek treatment for his condition.

And in a cool case of self-reference, the novel features ambigrams that were created by a man called John Langdon, a typographer. One can’t help but wonder whether a little of Robert Langdon’s character is based upon his namesake.

 

Found this on Google, seems legit...

Found this on Google, seems legit…

 

I’m not sure how much I buy in to the Illuminati, though – sure, I know that the Illuminati existed, but I’m not convinced that they still exist today, secretly manipulating the movements of the world’s major players from behind the scenes. I doubt that Brown does either, using them as a plot device, but I know a few people who genuinely believe (and fear) the Illuminati, and I blame the book for their ignorance.

That said, it’s one of those books that’s worth reading just to find out what the fuss is about, and it is enjoyable up to an extent – it’s certainly the best Dan Brown book, although that’s not necessarily saying much. It’s also well worth reading if you’re thinking about starting with his new one – if you’re going to read about Robert Langdon, you might as well know his history.

Just make me a promise not to tell me what happens in Inferno – I might dislike Dan Brown on principle, but I’m still going to go read it and review it.

 

Dan Brown - Inferno

Dan Brown – Inferno

 

Click here to buy Angels and Demons.