I specifically went out of my way not to read this book, because I'm a book snob that tends to shy away from "supermarket fiction" (as we used to call it when I worked in the bookselling trade). Then I saw a rant in Word magazine by Dave Hepworth and I was suddenly intrigued: what was it about this best-selling tome that had inspired a journalist/magazine guru of Hepworth's standing to write a whole page slagging the book off. I went out and bought it straight away.
I would like to say that I disagree with Hepworth. I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. I would like to say that I have become a Dan Brown devotee. I would like to say I am no longer a book snob. But if I said all that I'd be lying. Through my teeth.
The Da Vinci Code is a rollicking good story - once you get beyond the first 200 pages. The plot's exceptional and the riddles within riddles are very cleverly done. The research is quite outstanding, although this recent article on BBC News suggests that Brown has blurred the lines between fact and fiction just a little too much.
All that aside, the writing, for the most part, is dull and pedestrian. The characterisation is cliched and uninspired. I found some of the twists towards the end of the book over-the-top and sensationalist. The ending, too, was disappointing.
The best way to describe this book? Clever trash. It's a good quick read. No more, no less.
No doubt the film, starring the exceedingly dull Tom Hanks, will be a blockbuster hit - not that I'll be going to see it. I bet you didn't know that I'm a film snob too.