Wednesday, 1 March 2006

da Pinchi?

By chance I have read both of the books in the current London trial about the Da Vinci Code, as well as Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail named Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln contest Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code as having many similarities with their work. They describe a secret society identified by Sauniere known as Priory of Sion dating back to the first crusade and creation of the Knights Templar. The assertion in the Leigh Teabing (sic) book was that the Merovingian dynasty were descendants of Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene. They used a cliffhanger episodic ending to chapters and say their style has also been pinched.
Rennes-le-Château, France is a key location in these conspiracy theories and secrets about the foundations of Catholicism. Rennes-le-Chateau involves claims about the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, Priory of Sion, the Rex Deus, the Holy Grail, the treasures of the Temple of Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant, ley lines, geometric alignments and is even site of the Gabriel Knight computer game.

Elements of the Jesus/Magdelane ideas were also incorporated into Umberto Eco's 1989 novel Foucault's Pendulum.

So, did Dan Brown like the ideas in the other books (some of which have been popular 2am coffee conversations, in any case), did he invent it all, drive his own separate investigation? or what?
When I read Da Vinci Code, I enjoyed it as an adventure yarn and enjoyed some of the references, such as the Louvre pyramid (where I have stood and passed my hand into the mystic point of pyramid focus, well before I read da Vinci) and I've also reflected briefly on the correlation between the various stories - not as 'theft' more as parallel musings on a related topic.

In my opinion, Dan Brown's earlier book Angels and Demons, may be his best defence. It was written years earlier and has some elementary plot similarities with the later novel. I read it and considered it as a test bed for the da Vinci novel. I read the demons book after da Vinci Code (like most people) and I'm sure I can't be the only one to spot thematic and plotline similarities.

And then, still in 2am coffee mode, there's the origin of Tarot cards, maybe as a catechism to pass on the secret messages?

Another one to watch for the next few days.

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