So Dark the Con of Man
The Priory of Sion—a European secret society founded in 1099—is a real organization. In 1975, Paris's Bibliothèque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.
The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic group that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brain-washing, coercion, and a practice known as "corporal mortification." Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million National Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City.
All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 1
Q: How much of this novel is based on fact?
Dan Brown: All of it. The paintings, locations, historical documents, and organizations described in the novel all exist. Bookreporter.com 3/20/2003
LAUER: How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred? I know you did a lot of research for the book.
Mr. BROWN: Absolutely all of it. Obviously, there are--Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact. The Today Show 6/9/2003
GIBSON: This is a novel. If you were writing it as a non-fiction book, how would it have been different?
Mr. BROWN: I don’t think it would have. I began the research for The Da Vinci Code as a skeptic. I entirely expected, as I researched the book, to disprove this theory. And after numerous trips to Europe, about two years of research, I really became a believer. Good Morning America 11/3/2003
"I began as a skeptic," Brown said, "As I started researching The Da Vinci Code, I really thought I would disprove a lot of this theory about Mary Magdalene and holy blood and all of that. I became a believer." Dan Brown National Geographic 12/17/2004
While the characters and storylines of The Da Vinci Code are manifestly his own contrivances, Brown stresses that all the contextual details about history, biography, location and art are true. "One of the aspects that I try very hard to incorporate in my books is that of learning," he says. "When you finish the book—like it or not—you've learned a ton. I had to do an enormous amount of research [for this book]. My wife is an art historian and a Da Vinci fanatic. So I had a leg up on a lot of this, but it involved numerous trips to Europe, study at the Louvre, some in-depth study about the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei and about the art of Da Vinci."
Weighty as it is, Brown's scholarship never slows down the sizzling action. Edward Morris Bookpage April/2003
While the police think Langdon is their culprit, he teams up with a French cryptologist to uncover the truth about the hidden messages. The answers lead to discovery of a shocking historical fact, and certain people will do anything to keep it a secret. 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. This masterpiece should be mandatory reading. Jeff Ayers Library Journal 2/1/2003 p. 114
Aside from the fact that its fans can claim honorary doctoral degrees in ecclesiastical history, how else does "The Da Vinci Code" weave its magic spell?... THE FEET OF CLAY FACTOR: Want to make a splash, get some attention, sell a few books? Pick on a biggie. Brown's sensational assertion that the Roman Catholic Church has been lying about Jesus and his teachings for 2,000 years is absolute catnip to readers. The novel's popularity, says Nuala O'Faolain, the Irish memoirist and novelist, grows organically from "the scandals" within the Catholic Church. "The reading public has always loved stories that chip away at establishments." Patrick Reardon Chicago Tribune 3/27/2006
In this gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he's been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection... As in his "Angels and Demons," this author is drawn to the place where empirical evidence and religious faith collide. Janet Maslin New York Times 3/17/2003
The story is full of brain-teasing puzzles and fascinating insights into religious history and art. Frank Sennett Booklist 3/1/2003
Readers with advanced degrees in comparative religion, European history, symbology, art and cryptology, will have a grand old time with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. The rest of us stumble through, grasping at this clue and that, gasping in surprise at one or another shadow around the next corner, and likewise have a grand old time. The novel is maddening, scary, complicated and almost impossible to put down once you're hooked. Louisville Voice-Tribune
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. Roz Shea Bookreporter.com
Incorporating massive amounts of historical and academic information is no easy task, but Brown does it in such a seamless fashion that it is almost invisible within the story’s natural narrative. Nadia Cornier The Mystery Reader
Now before you read this as an author's disclaimer for any difference between the book and the movie, let me assure you it's all there --The Louvre, Saint-Sulpice, Chateau Villette, Westminster Abbey, Rosslyn Chapel, the codes, the sacred feminine, and the quiet invitation to think about faith, religion, and history with a fresh, open minded perspective. Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code Illustrated Screenplay (2006) p. 8
My recommendation to those who hold a deep fascination with The Da Vinci Code is simple. Read Dan Brown's novel, then Akiva's screenplay, then see my film version (and then do all three a second time... and tell a friend). It is my hope that all three versions tell a pleasing, slightly different, and worthy version of the same fascinating story. Ron Howard The Da Vinci Code Illustrated Screenplay (2006) p. 13
The "It's Just Fiction!" Doctrine by Carl Olson
But It's Just Fiction! by Mark Roberts