The search for the Holy Grail is one of the most intriguing enigmas of history, art and fiction. Speculation as to its location, its meaning, even its existence have fueled the imaginations of artists, writers, rulers and clerics for centuries. Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE is a stunning new thriller that presents a new slant on the meaning of the very nature of this vessel, which was purported to hold the blood of Christ.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is in Paris on business when he receives an urgent midnight call at his hotel from the Paris Judicial Police. The man he had planned to meet with the next day, a curator of the Louvre, has been found murdered in the Grand Gallery of the world's most famous art museum. Langdon has been summoned apparently because of his connection to the victim and his knowledge of ancient symbols.
He is rushed to the scene to find Jacques Sauniere's body lying spread eagled and naked with a pentagram painted on his torso. He is told that Sauniere apparently painted the symbol on his own chest and arranged his body in the bizarre position before he died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Langdon's expertise in symbology and his acquaintance with the curator are called upon to help decipher the motive and help police find the killer.
Police detective Sophie Neveu from the Paris police cryptology division arrives on the scene; she and Langdon embark on a dangerous and frantic search for the murderer. They soon discover that Sauniere's message was not a clue to the identity of his killer, which is what the police believe, but instead holds a much deeper and significant message to mankind. The connections to the murderer reach into the very depths of some of the highest authorities of Europe.
Langdon and Neveu are ensnared in the ever-tightening mesh of this deadly triangle of power, as Langdon seeks to clear himself of suspicion of his colleague's murder. The desperate battle between The Priory of Scion, Opus Dei and the Vatican in the search for the Holy Grail airs one of the most fascinating theories on the Holy of Holies published in a very long time.
Dan Brown's extensive research on secret societies and symbology (he wrote ANGELS AND DEMONS, a bestseller about secret Italian religious societies) adds intellectual depth to this page-turning thriller. His surprising revelations on Da Vinci's penchant for hiding codes in his paintings will lead the reader to search out renowned artistic icons as The Mona Lisa, The Madonna of the Rocks and The Last Supper. The Last Supper holds the most astonishing coded secrets of all and, after reading THE DA VINCI CODE, you will never see this famous painting in quite the same way again.
Brown has given us a controversial subject wrapped in thriller clothing that will provoke debate in the circles of religious and secret societies --- and among readers. Curl up on the couch and dive into a title filled with speculation, action and intrigue.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 21, 2011