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Winner, 2004 Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction
The Da Vinci Code is not only ‘popular’, compelling, and contemporary story-telling at its very best—it is also a highly original and provocative work ideal for a wide variety of classroom discussions.
Deftly woven into this original story are highly controversial, provocative, and lesser-known aspects of the Western tradition which have all been written about before, but which have never been presented in such a way. Author Dan Brown manages to craft a story that is engaging, creative, and lively as fiction in its own right, while also bringing to the surface radical considerations of the true (and oft-misrepresented) role of women in religious and art history, the dialectic of the sacred and the political as portrayed in art, and the ingenuity (and political leanings) of Renaissance artists that are all sure to engage readers of nearly any interest and level.
Specifically, Brown’s story touches on: the Catholic Church's agenda to demonize the feminine and the pagan, the true character and import of Mary Magdalene, and the secret Church societies that have continued to beguile the theologian and lay person to this day, among many other topics. Brown’s ‘popular’ treatment of these complicated topics has produced a highly original and thought-provoking story. And just what is the story per se?...
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.
In sum, The Da Vinci Code is contemporary fiction at its most intriguing – an inventive and original story anchored by real and controversial aspects of religious, art, and cultural history -- that is sure to engage not only hesitant student readers, but is also bound to provoke classroom discussion among all who grapple with its more controversial points.
"This masterpiece should be mandatory reading. Brown solidifies his reputation as one of the most skilled thriller writers on the planet with his best book yet, a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense. Highly recommended."