Just finished reading Angels and Demons, the first in the series of Dan’s religious history based novels. The most famous of these, Da Vinci Code, the name that now adores each of his novels’ cover page as ‘From the author of #1 New York Times Bestseller, Da Vinci Code’ was the one I read first.
The funny aspect of marketing a book, how they make novels piggyback on the success of any of the successful ones, (if any, of course!). The funny thing is that the book introduces itself as he pre-cursor of the ‘Da Vinci Code’, however there is very little cross link between them; each of them quite independent in its existence of the other.
Incidentally went to watch the movie in the multiplex near to my house the other day, even as I was struggling to finish his first novel. The movie according to me did poetic justice to the complexity and the dexterity of the plot. By that what I meant is that I always found that a poem unlike prose relies heavily on the intelligence of its readership to read between the words and to be able to visualize the scenario and the circumstances and hence do justice to the message that the communicator wants to put across. The superbly intermingled plot, in terms of the clues, in terms of the background of the various institutions the plot hinges upon, the Church, the Priory and the crusaders on behalf of the church, the Opus Dei, needs some exploring in order to better appreciate the essence of the story. The novel, in its full luxury if its spread was able to enlighten its readers before continuing with its plot, but the movie unfortunately, under the constraints of time, counted on pre-informed viewership. As a whole the movie is a pleasure to watch for someone who has already read the book or has some background information about the fore mentioned societies/bodies, but for a viewer who is new to these, it might be difficult to comprehend the depth of the plot at go #1.
The book, “Angels & Demons” talks about the rift and the differences between the church and the scientific community during the renaissance period. It talks of a secret society ‘Illuminati’ which took upon itself the responsibility to ensure that the light of knowledge is not covered up by the ritual and devotion hungry clergy and the hedonistic and almost autocratic church. This has more than an element of truth about it, though the particulars may be in doubt, but more than some of the brightest scientific minds were at loggerheads with the church which dominated the society to the extent of maintaining a stranglehold on it. Right from Galileo Galilei to Sir Isaac Newton to the master of them all, Leonardo da Vinci. All fought their wars to protect their ideas from the encroaching Papal influences. A book which wonderfully describes this tussle that new though had to endure over dead decayed and resident habbits is ‘Blind Watchers of the Sky’. Though I have not yet had the chance to read this book, I am aware that it presents a very informative and unbiased factual insight into these feuds and others that science had to endure in its quest for survival and proliferation.
The book ‘Da Vinci Code’ however describes the internal rift between two school of thoughts in Christianity, one which believed the Bible verbatim led by the church and its clergymen, whereas other which believed that the bible had been authored by human beings and is more a representation of the facts as they had pleased than that had actually transpired. It talks of the efforts made by the early followers to subjugate the human side of Jesus, the fact that apart from an apostle he was also a loving husband and had fathered an offspring. Mary Magdeliene, was the wife of Jesus, according to the book and carried ahead the bloodline of Christ by having his child, according to a school which had many powerful and influential followers known collectively by the name of Priori of the Sion.
The church in itself was a male bastion and looked at this as a threat to its dominion especially with a woman becoming of such importance. A secret society was formed, funded and aided by the church itself, Opus Dei, with the sole purpose of wiping out the trace of this secret that they held.
Both the books are quite engrossing in themselves and are a recommended leisure time read. But, among them, ‘Da Vinci Code’ is more captivating with the numerous puzzles and corresponding clues that keep surfacing forcing the reader to traverse the expedition mentally. ‘Angels and Demons’ on the other hand is more adventure oriented with garnishing of mystery and suspense.
The comparison between these two creations of the same author are synonymous to the difference between ‘Hardy Boys’ & ‘Hardy Boys Case Files’. Interestingly this was one of my favorites during my teenage days and I spared no effort to lay my hands on the solo copy present in the school library.