List of Da Vinci Code book reviews starting with Q

Questions your line of faith

Product: Book Paperback
Title: The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Authors: Carl E. Olson, Sandra Miesel
Rating: 4/5
The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code
"To deceive the elect--if that were possible!" (Mark 13:22)

It's an odd day when a non-fiction thriller needs rebutting. But the consternation brought about by Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" made a response necessary. In "The Da Vinci Hoax," authors Carl Olson (Catholic author and editor) and Sandra Miesel (a Catholic journalist who writes on history, art and hagiography) go head to head with the assertions in Brown's book, demonstrating one inconsistency or egregious error after another.

Olson and Miesel use historical fact, scholarship and logic to demonstrate that many of Brown's assertions about the Church and its history are wrong or misconstrued. Belief in the divinity of Christ, for instance, goes back to the 1st century -- not the 4th as Brown asserts. The Council of Nicaea was not manipulated by Emperor Constantine to decree that Christ was divine. It definitively settled the argument about the *nature* --not the fact -- of his divinity. Also, it was long-standing Christian practice, not a Constantinian edict, that had Christians worshipping on Sunday. The authors also share scholarly consensus on the late dating of gnostic writing, which Brown falsely treats as contemporaneous alternatives to the canonical gospels. Olson/Miesel *facts* trump Brown *fancy* every time.

"The Da Vinci Hoax" also makes clear Brown's more-than-strong reliance on "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" and "The Templar Revelation." Rather than doing his own research, it seems that he not only lifted these books' spurious conclusions, but their verbiage as well.

"The Da Vinci Hoax" very occasionally suffers from a defensiveness evident in Roman Catholics who see their Church under constant attack. The book would have been stronger, for instance, if it distinguished "feminists" who are hostile toward the Church from those who properly seek to challenge the flawed logic that underpins some longstanding and non-dogmatic "certainties." In my experience, very few feminists are incipient or actual goddess worshippers.

Carping aside, "Hoax" is an important effort to counteract the body blow that some peoples' faith took from reading Brown's book. The assertions in "The Da Vinci Code" should have been met with raucous, dismissive laughter. That they were met with stunned silence and even acceptance should alert pastors about serious shortcomings in religious education. I recommend "The Da Vinci Hoax" strongly to these pastors and to all who want or need an antidote to the falsehoods that Brown is passing off as truth.

Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 3/5
The Da Vinci Code
Promising start, stumbling finish

Dan Brown has written an immensely enjoyable thriller that will grab your attention on the opening pages. Blending vivid characters with fact, fiction, history, speculation and myth, The Da Vinci Code takes the reader on a fast paced search for the identity of a murderer. The victim is the renowned curator of the Louvre, a man of diverse interests who uses clues originally planted by Leonardo Da Vinci and others, to protect and preserve an ancient secret.Rousted from his hotel bed by the French Police; Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor and symbologist is brought to the galleries of the Louvre to witness and interpret the scene of the crime. Clearly the victim intended to communicate a message, however the meaning of it is as mysterious as the motive behind his murder. Aided by the granddaughter of the victim, a trained cryptologist, Langdon is thrust into a frenzied search for a killer; a search that might also lead to the answer of Christendom's most revered mystery, the Holy Grail itself!Nothing is ever quite what it seems, as each puzzle unfolds to reveal yet another question to answer. Doubt regarding allies and enemies persists as agents from French and British law enforcement, religious historians, the Vatican and Opus Dei jockey with the protagonists for the possession of a secret maintained by the mysterious Priory of Sion for almost two millennia.What sets this novel apart from the usual murder/pursuit genre is Mr. Brown's ability to merge details from art history, symbology, mathematics, forensics and theology into such a readable story. Descriptions like "page-turner" and "couldn't put it down" are more than appropriate for The Da Vinci Code. You'll find yourself racing the characters to interpret the various clues and puzzles, while breathlessly awaiting each turn of the plot. Upon reaching the end, the only question that might remain is "exactly how much is true... and how much is fiction?"

Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 3/5
The Da Vinci Code
Oh, puhleeeese

There is no doubt that this is a good read - fast paced with intrigue and lots of red herrings. However, I cannot understand why it has attained cult status and why so many people want to "believe". Knowing even a little about history and a little critical thinking will put this novel where it belongs, strictly in the realm of fiction. Enjoy it for what it is. Don't read into it any more than a good story.

Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 4/5
The Da Vinci Code
Breaking the code...

I carried a copy of this book with me to the seminary one day and was asked by one of my fellow students, 'How can you read that? It is so anti-catholic, isn't it?'Yes, there is an anti-catholic undercurrent here. It is part of the artistic license of an author to be able to get away with such things -- is it the author, or the stories and characters in the plot that are to blame? In fact, without the anti-catholic strand running through this novel, it loses some credibility; just as a show without the character you-love-to-hate would be diminished, so too would this novel. And that is how I have treated this (given that I generally have an anti-anti-catholic bias) -- it is a piece of the novel, and thus a piece of fiction. Often the pieces of history that would support this anti-catholic bias are historically inaccurate, and any good editor could catch them -- this is part of why I must view it as intended to be part of the fiction, rather than an essential element of the author's intention. As a diatribe against Catholicism specifically or religion generally, it would be a failure.As it is, The Da Vinci Code is an intriguing mystery novel with interesting characters and fascinating plot development. It reminds me in certain respects of Umberto Eco's 'The Name of the Rose', with intricate plot developments that hinge on history, art, symbols, and mystery that might never be discerned. We have secret societies and great historical secrets here. The Priory of Sion (an actual ancient society) is featured, being the same society to which the murder victim (an art historian and museum director at the Louvre) and Da Vinci both belonged -- the secrets are handed down from age to age, and yet, appear in plain sight (through art work of Da Vinci, no less) for those clever enough, or with sufficient initiation into the gnostic knowledge, to understand.Age-old mysteries such as what exactly the Mona Lisa is smiling at, and what is the secret of the Holy Grail, get intertwined as the deepening mystery takes our hero Robert Langdon and heroine Sophie Neveu through Europe past and present. There is an element of Indiana Jones here, too, who had his own secret society trying to protect the secrets of the Grail. Also, the authorities are after the duo becomes the object of suspicion (due to Langdon's name being found in the final message of the murder victim, Sauniere) in addition to being the ones sorting out the mysteries.Again, reminiscent of Eco, there are multiple mysteries in multiple layers here. Symbols, language and linguistics, codes, and historical mysteries crop up on a regular basis as the chase commences in Paris and proceeds apace to London. There have been other murders! There are other issues involved! Is history about to be rewritten? Just what is history?In classic style, the real mystery is not who did the killing (although I'm not going to tell you that here, anyway), but rather why the murder (and the other murders) took place. This is the kind of book that draws one in and asks to be read again to make sure clues were not missed and dropped along the way. There is a relatively tight weave here, without too many loose ends. A good read, an intelligent mystery -- just remember, this is a work of fiction.
Four and a half stars.

Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 4/5
The Da Vinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition
The Publishing Phenomenon of the Century...So Far

If you haven't read "The Da Vinci Code" yet, you may as well get started now to find out what all the fuss is about. First published in 2003, TDVC is still on the New York Times bestseller list an amazing 112 weeks later. Now this illustrated edition adds to the buzz. Doubleday gets my vote for the best book marketing department on Earth. Hands down.

Why has this book been so successful? Why has it spawned an entire cottage industry of follow-on books? The writing is OK, not great. The plot is fun to follow, but nothing like the masterful work of Harlen Coben or Dennis Lehane. And the character development is only average. So what's the big deal?

Let's see: Murder in the Louvre. Tantalizing artistic clues propel our American hero and French heroine in search of the truth -- not just about the murder, but also about the "true" lineage of Jesus Christ. Religious fanatics (bad guys) try to stop them. And the chase is on!

Along the way, we learn many disturbing "secrets" that the Catholic Church has been supressing for centuries. Only a shadowy society of geniuses has kept the truth from being wiped away entirely. Thankfully, they've left a coded message for us in Europe's great artwork and architecture. (See the abundant beautiful photos and illustrations in this version.)

Bingo! Dan Brown has discovered the magic formula for a bestseller in the age of religious and political upheaval: Mix one part evil conspiracy, one part fringe theology and one part pseudo-history. Throw in some famous names, then season with the ultimate ingredient: Claim it's all true! People are buying the book in droves. It's a cultural phenomenon like the Beatles first trip to America. And now it's a coffee table book, too.

Of course, Dan Brown's "facts" are mostly nonsense. Anyone who thinks the Vatican has supressed the "Sacred Feminine" hasn't set foot in a Catholic Church recently. (See all those Virgin Mary statues?) But hey -- this is American pop culture. Let's have some fun! Dan Brown delivers that, at least, in spades.

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Top 10 yahoo news about Da Vinci Code

Da Vinci Code no knock-off, court rules (Stuff)
Da Vinci Code effect 'could spell disaster' for Rosslyn (The Scotsman)
'Da Vinci Code' Cleared of Infringement (Austin 360)
'Da Vinci Code' author wins copyright case (
Federal judge rules the Da Vinci Code is no reproduction (Gulf Times)
Judge rules 'Da Vinci Code' is no reproduction (AFP via Yahoo! News)
N.Y. court rules Brown didn't copy 'Da Vinci Code' (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
'Da Vinci Code author innocent of infringing (The Buffalo News)
'Da Vinci Code' Cleared of Infringement (ABC News)
Court Sees No Copyright Infringement by 'Da Vinci Code' (

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