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Da Vinci Code
(Dan Brown)

This bestseller is worth reading for many reasons: first, it is an exciting novel blending old myths and contemporary ways of living. Its thesis is polemical and much debated upon, mainly because it deals with the Quest for the Holy Grail and secrets held by the Vatican, and even though not all of its revelations are accurate, the book is rich in historical data that are instructive to the reader, about secret societies, Leonardo Da Vinci and other illustrious characters in western culture.
There is a great deal of nonsense in the Da Vinci Code polemical issues because one must bear in mind that the novel is a fiction, and the author, as a successful novelist, has no pretension as regards factual accuracy whatsoever, yet he has undeniably used a large amount of documentation to feed his plot with reliable elements. He has nevertheless managed to open debates on the true meaning of faith, on occult symbols we are familiar with, and to question the power of the Roman Catholic Church, which has succeeded in remaining unchallenged for centuries.
What is thrilling about this book is that from the first chapters (short, well-balanced, keeping the reader out of breath) the narrator sets the intrigue bluntly: a curator is dead and a murderer is wanted. The book is built so that the reader understands what momentous events are happening at the same time in different places, but the thread linking everything to the dénouement is quite hard to uncover and follow at first. Not until the reader gets familiar with the protagonists and totally absorbed in their nightly adventure will the threads unravel and the number of characters involved in the crime will keep growing. The reader becomes a witness unable to help, and only reading on and on will allow the enigmas? resolution.
The end of the novel is quite unexpected (though hints are given throughout the book) and very ?Hollywood formula?, which is yet another guaranty that the film due in May 2006 (directed by Ron Howard, released worldwide at the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival) will be worth seeing. Read it first!

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