Blurb: (Film Trailer)
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. Solving 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…and 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. The Louvre curator has sacrificed his life to protect the Priory’s most sacred trust: the location of a vastly important religious relic, hidden for centuries.
In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who appears to work for Opus Dei—a clandestine, Vatican-sanctioned Catholic sect believed to have long plotted to seize the Priory’s secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory’s secret—and a stunning historical truth—will be lost forever.
Review: (Video review)
This book kept me totally intrigued from beginning to end. It starts with the introduction of a young Parisian girl, Sophie Neveu, that is being taught codes in songs by her grandfather – a curator who was involved in the Priory of Sion, and the story stepped up yet again when her grandfather is brutally murdered. But before he draws his last breath he arranges his naked body in a symbol among other codes as his last message for Sophie to find a hidden holy grail. She contacts Robert Langdon who is an expert in symbols and together they need to follow an old hidden path to solve the ultimate puzzle. Their detective work isn’t without complication as they are followed by other villains who also want to reach the grail first. The information in this story is interesting and the chase is thrilling. The information about the relics and places are based on true facts as well as blended in with fictional creations, which makes it so good. In the end it leaves you unsure of what information is true and what is fictional. The religious interpretation of the bloodline of Jesus could be debated and if there would lie some truth in the interpretation it could perhaps entice the world to look closer at the subject of equal gender rights.
Message & Moral
This book was stirring the catholic world all the way up to the Vatican and the Pope himself. To interpret the Bible so that Jesus had a wife and a female bloodline was highly preposterous. Yet, Dan Brown bravely wrote his book, incorporating facts with fiction, which makes you question if his story could in fact be accurate. If it would be true it delivers a message to the entire religious community of the female worth all the way back to the time of Jesus. It could perhaps spur on the highly debated topic of gender equality. No matter what it true or not, religion should be a thought of love and not argument, where everyone accepts people for who they are and forgives each others’ trespasses. If everyone could live their life showing kindness, the world would be a better place. Because what in this world is actually true and important?
Creatures & Environment
This story has a very personal feel to it since we only really follow the two main characters, Sophie and Robert, as the villain isn’t revealed until the end and is only referred to as the evil power that is Opus Dei. Robert is explained as a Professor teaching at the University, expert of symbols, and otherwise lives a comfortable life after a tailored routine. This is turned on its head when he is called upon to help in the case to solve the crime behind the grand master of the secret society; Priory of Sion. Sophie is a lovely character as well who is caught between the dilemma of wanting to know the reason behind her grandfather’s death and fighting to stay on the right side of the law. You really learn to love these two.
Captivation & Continuity
Sophie being stubborn and Robert being law abiding, they both get chased through Paris whilst attempting to stay clear of both the police and their enemy. They fight their way forward to try to keep at least one step in front of their rival, who always seems to be at their heel. Puzzles and riddles direct their way, where they have to find the next clue before they are hunted down. It is a thrilling chase mixed with genuinely intriguing facts. I could not put this book down.
Language & Flow
The language was correct and straightforward, however not wrapped into an imaginative description. This could be due to the realism in the story and that it didn’t feature any Fantasy elements. The fiction appears to stay on point with regards to facts…or what aren’t real facts, but feels as if they are.
T.M. Caruana’s Royal Castle Award