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The Da Vinci Code: A Controversial but Enduring Best-Seller

Daniel Gerhard Brown, photo courtesy of the author

Daniel Gerhard Brown, or Dan Brown, is an American author who has penned best-selling novels which brought worldwide controversy. Of all his written works, none had such a strong impact as his mystery thriller, “the Da Vinci Code.”

The plot of the book:

Jacques Saunière is a Louvre curator and Priory of Sion grand master who was fatally shot during the night at the museum. An albino Catholic monk named Silas is the shooter, working on behalf of a person he only knows as “Teacher.” Silas wishes to discover the location of the keystone, which will aid in his search for the Holy Grail.

Saunière’s body is discovered and posed like Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man.” The police summons Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor who is a symbologist. Langdon was summoned to decode the message that Saunière had left during his final moments.

Saunière’s granddaughter, Sophie Neveu, is a cryptographer who aids Langdon in deciphering the series of codes. Many of the clues are hidden throughout many of Da Vinci’s works. Some of these works include the Mona Lisa and the Madonna on the Rocks.

Through clues and hidden messages, Langdon and Neveu realize that the Holy Grail is not the cup of legends but is connected to a crucial figure in Christ’s time.

Why Was the Da Vinci Code Controversial?

The Da Vinci Code is a worldwide best-seller but not without its fair share of controversies. Many Christian denominations denounced the misrepresentation of Christianity in the novel, including the Catholic Church.

Aside from religious criticisms, the author himself has been accused of plagiarism. Lewis Perdue sued Dan Brown in 2005, citing that his work greatly likens to his books, “The Da Vinci Legacy” and “Daughter of God.” Despite the lawsuit, the courts dismissed the suit, citing that Brown’s Da Vinci Code did not infringe upon copyrights.

Another issue with the book is that author has prefaced his novel and cited that many elements in the story are accurate and factual. While the main plot is fictional, he claims that much of the historical information is correct.

The Bottom Line:

Love it or hate it, Dan Brown managed to create a ripple of discussion between believers and non-believers alike. While it’s important to note that the Da Vinci Code is entirely fictional, we cannot dismiss that many actual figures served as essential elements of the story. Nevertheless, reading a controversial book now and then is necessary to help people develop critical thinking skills and literary analysis.


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