The Da Vinci Code

by Dan Brown

Paper Book, 2003




Doubleday (2003), Edition: 1st, 454 pages


While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci--clues visible for all to see--yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion--an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret--and an explosive historical truth--will be lost forever.… (more)

Original publication date




0385504209 / 9780385504201




½ (21215 ratings; 3.5)

Media reviews

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Whenever I read a 454 page book in one sitting, it's probably a safe bet for me to think that other people will like the book. Not that my criteria for excellence necessarily matches that of the literary masses -- but the words "breakout thriller" certainly apply here. Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
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is going to make publishing history. Trust me. There are already tables at the local Barnes & Nobles featuring books about the Freemasons, biographies of Leonardo Da Vinci, guidebooks to the Louvre and Renaissance art, all centered around Brown's book. And the book has been out less than two weeks.
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The word for ''The Da Vinci Code'' is a rare invertible palindrome. Rotated 180 degrees on a horizontal axis so that it is upside down, it denotes the maternal essence that is sometimes linked to the sport of soccer. Read right side up, it concisely conveys the kind of extreme enthusiasm with which
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this riddle-filled, code-breaking, exhilaratingly brainy thriller can be recommended. That word is wow.
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The story occasionally strains credibility early on. How could a dying man, one wonders, have time to write out intricate mind puzzles even if as Sophie explains, her grandfather "entertained himself as a young man by creating anagrams of famous works of art." Fortunately, Brown's pacing doesn't
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leave too much time for questions. From the explosive start to the explosive finish, The Da Vinci Code is one satisfying thriller. I see movie rights being sold already. Pick this one up on a long flight home and you'll never know where the time went.
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Den Braun u svom trileru Da Vinčijev kod, kreativno kombinuje mnogobrojne istorijske reference (Da Vinči, Templari, sveti Graal) sa fikcijom. Protagonista romana je, kao i u prethodnom bestseleru Anđeli i demoni harvardski profesor Robert Lengdon . Kada pariska policija otkrije njegovo ime
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sakriveno u šifrovanoj poruci pronađenoj pored tela ubijenog kustosa Luvra, on postaje njihov glavni osumnjičeni za brutalno ubistvo. Jedina osoba koja veruje u njegovu nevinost je francuski kriptolog, Sofi Nevu, koja mu pomaže da pobegne. Bežeći od policije pokušavaju da dešifruju misterioznu poruku i dolaze do zapanjujućeg zaključka. Ključ za rešenje je sakriven u Da Vinčijevim delima, svima vidljiv, istovremeno dobro sakriven. Put im se ukršta sa vekovima starim tajnim društvom, čiji je član bio pokojni kustos, ali i Da Vinči, Isak Njutn, Botičeli, Igo, kao i sa kontroverznim ogrankom Katoličke crkve. Ukoliko Robert i Sofi ne uspeju da dešifruju kod na vreme, drevna tajna, kao i velika istorijska istina, biće zauvek izgubljena.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member atheist_goat
No matter how bad you have heard this book is, it is worse. You cannot actually believe it until you read it. In the spirit of inquiry, I braced myself to do just that.

My husband possibly enjoyed my reading of this book more than I did, because I was soon talking back to it, particularly when the
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Incredibly Indecipherable Riddles started showing up. "Sofia! Alexander Pope! Apple!" I shouted, and then in each case had to slog through forty pages before the Stunningly Brilliant hero and heroine figured it out ("APPLE, morons!").

This book was mind-bogglingly stupid. I had expected it to be silly and fluffy, but the scope of idiocy evident in both the writing and in the assumed audience was far more than I was ready for. Brown is blatantly, openly writing for people who don't know who Mitterrand is, or I.M. Pei, or Saint Paul, or what the Louvre pyramid looks like, or that Leonardo da Vinci wrote in mirror image -- in one scene, I kid you not, two da Vinci scholars faced with the mirror image writing can't figure out what it is. For purposes of exposition, people -- actually just the heroine -- often express ignorance about incredibly basic aspects of the Grail legend, or church history, or basically anything that anyone who's ever seen "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" would know. The heroine is nothing but an audience for the male characters' explanations, and she cries a lot. Also she is a young hot brilliant cryptographer. Who can't figure out these incredibly stupid riddles. Yeah. And the villains are crippled and albino, while the Good Guys are hunky.

It is asinine. It is unintentionally hilarious on every page. I live for the day when it gets bumped off the top slot in my librarything. No, I can't get rid of my copy - have you tried to give a copy to a used bookstore lately? And besides, I keep having to lend it out to people who won't believe me when I say just how bad it is.
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LibraryThing member Terpsichoreus
A thriller devoid of pacing or exciting language. A mystery devoid of clues, foreshadowing, or facts. A tell-all of half-truths based upon a forged document written by a schizophrenic conman. A character-driven modern novel devoid of character. The second draft of Angels and Demons. Page-turning
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action thanks to the literary equivalent of pulling out at the moment of orgasm. A spiritual awakening built on new-age conspiracy theory. This book is many things, and none of them good, new, or interesting. However, it is an excellent litmus test for idealistic delusion.

Upon the first reading, I must admit I found it a bit interesting, but then I turned the final page, and there was no bibliography. No explanation of how the author became familiar with all the concepts he claimed to 'faithfully portray'. He wrote this book and pretended it was a history book, and then refused to support it in any way. And any history you can't check up on is a bad one.

He's no better than James Frey. In fact, he may be worse, since I know people who base their religious beliefs on this book, whereas Frey's only crime was wishing he was Scarface. And really, what Macho thirtysomething male doesn't seem to share that wish?

Brown had good reasons for hiding his sources, namely because they were forged by con-man Pierre Plantard and snuck into the Bibliotheque National in Paris. The artistic 'iconography' is also completely made-up, and was declared ludicrous by an art history professor of my acquaintance.

The rest of Brown's book is filled with the sort of cliched religious conspiracies you get from your first year as a theology student. Not only that, but these conspiracies were already explored by better writers in 'Foucault's Pendulum' and the earlier 'Illuminatus! Trilogy'.

Well, I've already done more legitimate historical research on this review than Brown did in his whole book, so I guess I'll call it a day.
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LibraryThing member Clurb
I think it's important that everyone read this book, just so that we all know how not to write. Poorly written, poorly researched, contrived and unpleasant.
LibraryThing member sirfurboy
This is the worst drivel I have ever read. The author seems to know nothing about European geography or politics. His plot is ripped off from the delusions of someone else. Every time he throws in some little fact or snippet, it is wrong. Guaranteed wrong! He repeats urban legends without so much
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as a google search to verify their veracity, and tries to sell the grand plot as though there might be some truth in it!

The author clearly sees himself in the role of the protaganist. He wants to think of himself as an academic, and his book as some kind of thesis. But the truth is that with the lack of critical thinking presented to us in this novel, Brown would not find himself so much as portering job in any respectable academic institution.

Controversy sells. I read this book because someone said "with all the fuss about it there must be something in it". This book demonstrates ably the fallacy of that way of thinking. Despite all the fuss about this book, it really has no merit whatsoever. Possibly the worst book I ever read.
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LibraryThing member cmoore
1/5. This paint-by-numbers "mystery" is an insult to the intelligence of all bipedal beings on this planet, and I'm including birds in this classification here. TDC is fine as a popcorn, rote, hackneyed, simplistic, tapioca beach book, but this is the worst book in modern memory (save perhaps Snow
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Falling on Cedars) to obtain such widespread reknown for being "literature." If Cold Mountain had actually been popular, it might be in a dead heat with TDC for this honor, but as it stands, TDC is the most overrated book in modern memory and a blight upon our popular culture.

Hula hoops, pet rocks, and TDC.

Here's your book synopsis: stock characters, 4-page chapters (each ending with a "cliffhanger"), Tickle-me-Elmo-level puzzle difficulty, some hokey mysticism, patriarchal nonsense, sexual repression, and link the whole thing to religion and you've got yourself a best seller.

Personally, I think it's the 4-page chapters that did it. This is the beach book for the ADD generation.

If you're going to get into the grail mythology, do yourself a favor and go for Foucalt's Pendulum before diving into this pabulum. If you're just in it for an easy read, it's a fine selection, but no different than the thousands lining supermarket shelves across the US.
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LibraryThing member ReadingHabit
It was with grave trepidation that I picked up The Da Vinci Code. As a general rule, and excluding the classics, I normally refuse to read any books that are so universally praised – there’s bound to be an anti-climax. But after much pressure from my market customers I caved to the persistent
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“You have to read The Da Vinci Code” comments. As most of the literate world has read the book, I’m not going to bore you with the storyline, but I will give you my reasons for thinking it fairly overrated.

For me the book started off well. I was lured into its’ intrigue and enjoyed the ambience that was created by the books’ setting and artistic backdrop. But after the first couple of chapters my concentration wavered as I became increasingly disappointed by the predictable plot. For a book that is described as a brain-teaser and a page-turner with endless twists and turns, I felt incredibly let down. Let’s be honest – do we really need a world-class cryptographer to recognise a Fibonacci sequence? Last time I checked it was part of the NSW High School Maths Curriculum. Nor does it take a Harvard symbologist to recognise Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Add all this to the fact that I knew what was going to happen 10 pages before it actually happened and in my eyes you have a bit of a fizzer that, quite frankly, was a little insulting to the intelligence.

The mundane plot aside, I also found the lead characters lacking any real personality. Dan Brown focuses so much on the plot that he fails to develop either Robert Langdon or Sophie Neveu – they are merely transporters of the story – a way to move the plot along. The real characters of the story are Da Vinci, Opus Dei, The Priory of Sion and religion itself - which is all well and good but hardly groundbreaking. You only have to turn the clock back to the early 1980s and a controversial book called Holy Blood, Holy Grail (by Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln) to see that stories about this very subject matter have been circulating for centuries.

Some might think I’ve been too harsh. So to calm the masses I will acknowledge that the book was competently written and that it’s a much better read than some of the other “crap” out there. But in my view the only thing that makes the book so captivating for readers is the subject matter. People go wild over anything that questions the basis of religion. I guess we have to thank Dan Brown for at least encouraging many people who haven’t read a book for years to pick one up again.
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LibraryThing member Johnny1978
I'd like to go on record as stating that the conspiracy theory underpinning this exceptionally boring novel neither interests, nor offends me: I do not object to this book on any moral or religious grounds.

Nor do I consider the term "popular fiction" an example of invective: I am not a book snob
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and I relish a good pot-boiler.

The alleged lineage of Christ and the book's positioning on the bestseller list are entirely irrelevant to the fact that The Da Vinci Code is earth-shatteringly, mind-numbingly dull.

"Boring" appears a pallid and inadequate adjective when applied to this tepid and ponderous novel. I anticipated this novel eagerly: I was looking foward to a fun, no-brainer, page turner.

What I found was a insipid imitation of the work of better thriller writers: a cliche ridden, interminable piece of tash that wound its way through a leaden plot, to a sluggish climax.
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LibraryThing member tftorrey
This is one of those books that I avoided reading for a long time. Sure, it was popular, and it had an intriguing concept, and a lot of people thought it was very good. A lot of writer people, however, denigrated the book, saying it had too many adjectives and adverbs, among other things. When I
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finally did get around to reading it, I was surprised to find myself drawn inexorably into the story.

The Da Vinci Code begins with Robert Langdon being called to the Louvre museum, where there has been a bizarre murder. Langdon, an expert symbologist, winds up becoming both a suspect in the case and the only investigator who really understands it. Together with Sophie Neveu, a police cryptographer who turns out to be the victim's granddaughter, Langdon sets off on an urgent quest to solve the crime. As Langdon and Neveu race from clue to clue, the plot unfolds to huge proportions, including murderous conspiracies and secret societies, with nothing less than the Catholic church at stake.

As a story, The Da Vinci Code is very well done. It captures the reader's interest from the start and holds it throughout Langdon and Neveu's headlong dash through the night. The characters are well drawn, if awkward in places. The locales are exotic, and the settings intricately detailed. The plot itself is a masterwork. The fact that this book has spawned so many other books to discredit it is testimony to the authenticity and credibility of its voice.

To be honest, there are places in the book where the structure of the sentences falls into a pattern that is humorous and annoying if you recognize it. The vast intricacy of the plot and the convincing detail of the setting, however, more than compensate for any deficiency of character or sentence structure. As a writer, I found much more to covet here than to ridicule.

All in all, I think The Da Vinci Code is a new classic. Many people still discount the work, but I'm not sure how a true bibliophile could justify avoiding it. The book has become a phenomenon, an icon of modern success in the book industry. And, underneath it all, it really is a good story.
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LibraryThing member shrubbery
Brown writes like an over-earnest student doing English homework. There's just no insight, nothing to suggest an interesting mind or an unusual point of view. His style is so superficial and feeble that all suspension of disbelief evaporates after a couple of pages. Chuck in awful characterisation,
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plot holes and rubbish dialogue and you have the Da Vinci Code. I will never read a Dan Brown novel again.
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LibraryThing member chicklit
One star only because giving negatives is not an option.
LibraryThing member ggarchar
This book stinks. The writing is repugnant. I couldn't read beyond the first few chapters. It won't be wasting space on my bookshelf, either.
LibraryThing member sirih
Draft of monumentally ordinary screenplay.
LibraryThing member ellenmarine
Easily the worst "bestseller" I have ever read.

The narrative is disjointed, the vocabulary is drab, and his adherence to cliches is positively cringeworthy. And that's before I even get started on the shoddy "research" and the outright lies in the "all descriptions of art, architecture and
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societies are accurate" disclaimer.

Obviously, as a Christian, it irked me that the "research" was taken as accurate by so many readers of the book; but as someone who is intellectually honest, regardless of religion, I found the poor and inaccurate renderings of some of the most famous pieces of art in the world also to be somewhat irritating.
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LibraryThing member Bjace
Reading this book was like having passionate sex with a creep. I raced through it but I didn't respect myself in the morning.
LibraryThing member auntycaz
no no no no no.
this man cannot be allowed to write anything else.
his writing is appalling. how does no one else see it?
LibraryThing member manque
Absolutely terrible writing--juvenile. A Hardy Boys mystery featuring instead a Harvard professor who is less sophisticated (though slightly better connected) than one of the Hardy kids, and who is given the most inane, expositional dialogue I've ever read--matched in clumsiness only by that given
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to his female counter-part in the novel, a cryptologist/police agent who is sort of a french Nancy Drew. The biblical stuff is interesting, of course--or would be, if it weren't presented in such a condescending, superficial, just plain stupid manner. Worse than crap.
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LibraryThing member nickdreamsong
I thought this book would never end. To call it plodding, superficial, and simpleminded might be to overstate its charms.
LibraryThing member sedelia
I know this is an extremely popular book, but I really, really did not like it. This is the sort of book that you're supposed to sit down and be able to finish in a day -- I get that. However, I can't stand it when a novel with adult content is written at a second-grade level. To top it off, it's
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written in an extremely condescending manner and is full of sexism and antiforeignism. I'm actually surprised it sold at all internationally, especially in France. I wonder if they took out those comments in translation. (Does anybody know?)

The symbolic and religious stuff would have been interesting if they were presented differently. A lot of the novel is Langdon going on and on about some sort of detail they found with someone on the sidelines going, "Interesting. Tell me more." Had it been worked in better, or had it just been described in narration instead of Langdon talking page after page, it probably would have been more interesting to read.

This just wasn't the book for me. A lot of people enjoyed it and consider it one of their favorite books, but I just couldn't get past the writing and the stereotypical comments against anything not American.
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LibraryThing member Jeyra
Bafflingly, Dan Brown manages to be both a great story-teller and a dreadful writer. The characters are flat, the dialog predictable and banal, and frequently, you want to scream at the genius-level PhDs in the story for not making connections you made 80 pages ago, and the research involved in
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writing the book obviously didn't extent further than a quick internet search. But for some reason, you can't put the thing down. He has a knack for moving a plot along, I have to give him that. There is nothing inappropriate in this book, unless you are a reactionary who actually thinks that the poorly researched, semi-logic he uses is some sort of threat to Christendom.
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LibraryThing member surreality
Plot: Completely and utterly predictable after the first chapter. The side plots weren't given enough time to develop in comparison to the central plot, which was an unimaginative connect-the-dots affair.

Characters: Stereotypes. Each and every one of them, straight out of the box. None of them
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develop any kind of depth at any point, some of them don't even get proper motives for their actions. In a few cases characters could be predicted fifty pages before their first mention (must have an eccentric Brit in this kind of story, and he must be a lord because all Brits are).

Style: Sturdy, easy-to-read writing without any complex sentence patterns. The bare minimum of description. There are moments when the dialogues feel good, but usually they are smothered by the need to get to the next plot point in a hurry.

Plus: Mildly amusing introduction to what an American author thinks Europeans are like.

Minus: In Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum almost the exact plot is discussed once and dismissed as far too unlikely for anyone to ever find believable and interesting in a novel. Eco was right.

Summary: The most overrated book in quite a while, with not one thought-provoking moment inside. The only mystery is how this can be considered great literature.
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LibraryThing member libraryhermit
I love it when a book leads to a really good fight breaking out among its readers and the people who did not even bother to read it but who still feel like putting in their two cents worth. Just the entertainment value of that fighting alone makes the book worthwhile.
Personally, I do not think it
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matters at all whether Jesus got married or not. I do not think it makes any difference to his message or to his impact on the world. He is allowed to have his own personal life remain private just like I am allowed to have my own personal life remain private.
I think that Dan Brown did a good thing to open up a number of topics for discussion. It does not matter whether he claimed that the events described in it are true or whether he claimed that the events described in the book were not true. This is because it does not matter whether the events are true or not. (About Jesus.) Life will just go on.
The book is just a diversion like any other book. Like Pete Townsend said about rock and roll, something to the effect that rock and roll is simultaneously the most serious musical genre in the world, and the least serious musical genre in the world. Take your pick. But by taking your pick does not mean that you get to obliterate the existence of the other choice that you did not pick. If you want Jesus to be a God, you do not get to deny his humanity, including the possibility of him having carnal relations, just like any other man (or woman.) And if you want him to be human, then there is no way of ruling out that he might have some element of divinity in him.
This book is a work of imagination and imagination is how humans thrive. The facts in question are secondary in importance to imagination.
Thank you Dan Brown, I am glad you made a number of millions of dollars; you deserved it. Anybody can write any book they want, and they do not have to answer to anybody for it.
Pulp fiction writers starting with Alexandre Dumas and Eugene Sue all understood one thing. Pulp fiction is written on that kind of paper because humans have an endless curiosity and an endless need for new thrills. Print your books on premium paper if you feel like it, but what percentage of books actually get read by the same person a second time--not too many.
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LibraryThing member llasram
Read this a few years ago when I was sick for several days. Spent most of the reading time (what, a few minutes?) yelling at the characters for being beyond implausibly stupid.
LibraryThing member billsrage55
This book will entertaining you the entire time. Keeping the reader interactive with the mystery the entire time, Brown finds a way to intertwine the plot with side stories in a way that doesn't confuse the reader one bit. If you like a good mystery and thrill, this book is definitely for you. The
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chase after a myth that some say still is unknown is full of adventure, clever syntax and diction, and brilliant character development. The characters of this book are all very multi-dimensional and have a lot more to them than you think.
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LibraryThing member jeroenvandorp
Formulaic, cardboard characters, and full of factual mistakes, despite the claims of accurateness by the author itself. Nice fluff. A dime a dozen.
LibraryThing member soybean-soybean
pathetic. the so-called 'intricate codes' were hardly ingenious. i spotted the bloody things a mile off and presolved it before halfway into the book. especially as i'd already read similar such 'codes' in other books by other authors before dan brown even came into the scene. sigh. to this day i
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am beyond flabberghasted that people hailed this as pure genius. for god's sakes READ MORE BOOKS FIRST before deciding. i'm sorry but there it is.
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