This is a great page turner and some interesting information that I did not know about art history. I was a little disapointed in the ending but well worth the time and great fun.
I had a hard time putting this one down - it is filled with multi-layered intrigue. The characters were nicely defined over time, the overall mystery was paralelled by other related mystereis, the reader was taken behind the scenes into areas long known to the world to be secret but to a select few, the pace was wonderful. I might have given this 5 stars, but for the predictable love story. In all fairness, I'm not sure how that element might have been done differently, and while predictable the love element was quite beleivable. An excellent read, with impressive use of different accents by the narrator.
I had heard good things about the book, so I picked it up to see what I thought of it. My gauge for enjoyment is how quickly I turn my iPod back on when I get into the car to pick up the story, and the first third or half of the book did that. At the turning point, however, the story started to become less of an interesting collection of new facts, explanations, and ideas about symbology and art history, and more of a fantasy novel that stretched way too much.
I finished the book because I was interested enough in finding out what happened, but I can't help but think I would have enjoyed the book far more if it the plot didn't wend its way into the unbelievable coincidences and paths that crossed. Suspension of disbelief can only go so far.
So I gave it 3 stars. I'd have given it 4 if realism governed the latter half instead of the quick barrage of amazing incidents, and I'd have given it a 5 if I had twice as many interesting factoids to walk away with. Now, how many of those are true, and how many were created to fit into the story of the book....
In Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps," Robert Donat wakes up in his London flat to find a young woman fatally stabbed with Donat's kitchen knife. Before she dies she tells him that a vital secret is about to be taken from the country and shows him a map where the villain can be found in Scotland. Soon, Donat is heading north to find the secret and the police are chasing a murderer -- Donat. Soon, the bad guys are also after Donat. Hitchcock used this formula again and again as did many other directors. Dan Brown uses this reliable formula in The Da Vinci Code.
For Hitchcock, the details of the secret were not very important. For Brown the details share the stage with the exciting story. I found the details about the Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene to be fascinating and as I listened I frequently used the internet to learn more. I was surprised to find how much information there was to support Brown. In short, this book was interesting, educational and well-read.
Unfortunately, fairly early on in the story it was obvious how the story would unravel. After an exciting start, the rest of the story was a let down.
After reading Angels & Demons, I found this book extremely disappointing. I was never caught up in the plot, which was frankly stupid. Everyone was running around killing and dying for a meaningless "secret" that was in history books anyway.
This book was extraordinary! I am amazed at how Brown can intertwine religious history, action/adventure and international plottings by European 'power-players' into one non-stop text. This book was seamless. It's likely the negative reviews come from people who are unhappy about some of the 'history' revealed herein regarding Jesus Christ, Mary Magdeline and the Catholic church. As a Christian, I don't know how historically correct it is(if at all). But I can see how many would say anything to keep people from reading the book because it conflicted with what they learned in Sunday School or Masses. If you are one of those people, find something else. This book did not change my core beliefs and I was more than able to enjoy every minute. The narrator did an extraordinary job too!
This was the most disturbing novels I have read in a long time. The author presents many things as factual in this fiction book, that are not factual at all. He has a obvious hatred towards the catholic church, and has deliberately distorted many "facts" in this book. His writing style is terrible, and he continually repeats himself. He distorts the facts, and did I mention that he keeps repeating himself? Don't waste your book credits on this one.