Book Review: The Da Vinci Code


Photo provided by Taryn Morris

Taryn Morris reads The Da Vinci Code while drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Published in 2003 and having around 80 million sold copies, The Da Vinci Code is one of the best-selling books of all time.

Taryn Morris, Reporter

Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code starts with a murder.

Actually, no. 

It starts with secrets. 

Secrets people will kill to learn, will die to keep. Old secrets, whose truths have been buried for centuries.

And an uncanny corpse on the floor of the Louvre.

You see, the curator of the Louvre is dead. His body lies spread-eagle across the floor with a bullet wound just below his breastbone, a pentagram drawn in blood on his chest and a marker clutched in one hand. He leaves behind the last clues to hidden knowledge of the odd circumstances of his death. His dying wish: for the secret to not die with him.

Professor of symbology Robert Langdon, along with cryptologist Sophia Neveu, are the only ones who might be able to piece together the dead man’s clues. Racing against his murderer and the police, they are led on a chase throughout Western Europe. Secret societies, hidden symbolism and the coded works of Leonardo Da Vinci all play a part in the web of secrets and clues they are trying to unravel in The Da Vinci Code.

The novel is a page-turning thriller that provides a fantastic escape into a world of puzzles and codes. The language is not overly flowery or complicated, which allows the multifaceted, fast-paced plot to shine. It becomes so easy to get lost in the tangled mysteries offered in the novel as each new clue brings into focus a new piece of the puzzle. Readers are always left wondering, “What will happen next?” While not a significantly impactful or poignant story, it is an enjoyable read that proves difficult to put down. It’s a perfect book to unwind with when seeking some escapism.

The author, Dan Brown, is the son of a church organist and a mathematician, and his upbringing is evident in his book. Christian canon is essential to the plot of the book, as are the Catholic Church’s interactions with pagan religions. Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail are often a subject of discussion and are entwined with the plot. Likewise, concepts such as the golden ratio Phi and the Fibonacci sequence play a role in breaking the ciphers and solving the mysteries in The Da Vinci Code.

It is important to remember, though his book is impressively well-researched, it is still a work of fiction. The novel is a magnificent red-string corkboard, a conspiracy theory where fiction masquerades as fact all too easily, and the lines between fact and fiction become blurred. There is speculation on what truly happened during the Council of Nicea, the belonging of historical figures to secret societies and the location of the Holy Grail itself. It creates an immersive and intriguing setting all too similar to our reality, but with facts that should be taken with a grain of salt. It is ultimately up to the reader to believe how much truth lies between the pages of the novel.