It’s enough to “decode” Dan Brown’s fiction…

The creation of Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code has experienced large commercial success, gaining a spot on modern literature lists in a world hungry for cheap thrills. Through the use of tested and proven literary tactics, skillfully enclosed in a story line, the writer makes money. The measures of Brown’s success are the millions of copies sold to readers who only understand the questions raised by the text at the surface. Without the historical knowledge, nor theological know how, the reader freely absorbs Hollywood’s approach to explaining the aspects of our existence. It is so predictable and always bought into, as long as the plot is full of mystery and conspiracy, at the same time not lacking in explosions and passionate love. These stories are a quick read, which is an accomplishment in today’s times, and where skillfully created intrigue pulls the reader from the beginning into the middle of an extensive plot in conflict with historical facts. The phenomenon is based on the moment when the reader, guided by the author, stops raising the necessary questions and no longer tries to counteract the absorbed ideas with historical facts.

The whole book, among the evident lack of author’s educational background where rubbish follows rubbish, is held together by his animosity towards the Catholic Church. Brown states that he is recording historical facts, but majority of them are made up with numerous spots where the author contradicts himself. The historical reports, which were supposed to bring the world to its knees, are only believable in fairytales or folk tales. A question may be raised if Brown’s work can be classified as historical novel. But at a high level, the book does not meet the requirements for this status. Historical novels combine the author’s imagination with historical knowledge and must meet very specific needs. Brown confuses facts, dates, people, and places. If the places described in the book are real, then their presentation is not clear or logical. However, crystal clear are the fictitious characters taking part in the story. Fabrication surrounded by untrue historical facts turns into lies, where for example the author groups together two organizations: the true institution of the church Opus Dei, which has nothing to do with cults, and presents it in critical sense with a fully fictional organization, the order of Zion. As a historical

novel, the Da Vinci Code does not respect any norms and creates chaos. It is apparent that the author is no expert in the field of Catholic Church’s history, nor in traditions or religion, and completely foreign are to him theological truths. The story is full of his incompetence, as Brown’s allegations have no basis. The author appears to be aware of his ineptitude and thus he hides behind the conspiracy theory, thus remaining without blame for any of the book’s content. His interpretation of historical and religious facts contradicts common sense and proves the author’s ignorance in the field of history, Christianity, and evolution. But undoubtedly, Brown knows what is trendy in today’s world and what sells well – All one needs is to destroy the image of the Roman Catholic Church by presenting it in a negative and critical light. It is impossible to represent all of the falsehoods backed by Brown’s “educated” reasoning, but for example, the topic of the cross (in ancient history texts, the hanging on the cross is mentioned, and if Brown did not ignore or would have know this, he would not have stated that it was invented by the Romans), the order of Templar, or the deity of Christ. Here it makes sense to note his insensitive inconstancy with facts, as it is absurd to state that Jesus is not God. Brown implies that Caesar Constantine made Jesus so in Nicea in 325 AD. In fact, Christ was acknowledges as God long before (Romans 9,5). Brown claims that with few votes the council made Jesus God with 2 votes against versus 298 for! As one can see, his historical math is quite interesting…

In the context of the few sample revelations presented here, what could happen with an average reader of this book? What emptiness in one’s soul can create a super bestseller for this American author? How is one’s being changed? In other words, what impact can this one novel have on the reader? The book is meant for relaxation. The story is easy to comprehend, full of action and intrigue, typical of thrillers, bit it does not leave one’s mind without impact. Its success lies undoubtedly in its ability to manipulate the reader with literature and pull into the plot where with the main characters of the story one discovers a different, better, secret, and enticing world. This new world is full of spicy truths. Suddenly the eyes are “opened”… A modern person starts to wonder why they exist, what are they trying to accomplish, what is the truth? The book brings emptiness, especially since we live in the world where truths are relative. Today people search for any justification, as long as they don’t feel entrapped in religion, tradition, or a way of looking at the world. At the moment when the author starts to manipulate with inconsequential knowledge and offers the reader a full explanation for existence, one starts to wonder if up to this point he or she has been a naïve follower? The book justifies this ignorance.

Many readers have been “scared’ by Da Vinci Code, but the more people with strong foothold in the truth, the stronger the fight against this “contagious” fiction. A proper reaction towards this mind polluting, trendy and cheap work of Don Brown is necessary.

Agata Foremska
Translated by Monika Glazar

Forum, 7-8/2006