de-coding Da Vinci

The facts behind the fiction of The Da Vinci Code
Book cover: 'de-coding Da Vinci: The facts behind the fiction of The Da Vinci Code'
Author(s): 
Amy Welborn
Copyright: 
2004
Publisher: 
Our Sunday Visitor
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
124 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

The 2003 release of the novel The Da Vinci Code created one of the largest literary crazes in recent history. With sales of almost 6 million in its first year, the novel gained a cult-like following. Author Dan Brown's ability to blend fact and fiction left many readers questioning what they really knew of the origins of Christianity. News is now out that we can expect to see the story in theaters in about a year. Certainly viewers will come away with many of the same questions readers had as to how much, if any, of the story line is factual, and how much is fiction.

Fortunately for those who want to sort out the facts, Amy Welborn has written decoding Da Vinci: the Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code. Welborn covers everything from the marketing of the book to the sources of information presented, and ultimately reveals a "startling number of blatant, glaring errors on matter great and small that should send up red flags to anyone reading the novel as a source of facts, rather than just pure fiction" (decoding Da Vinci p. 10). She also helps explain why this confusion over fact versus fiction is occurring when she states:

Historical fiction is a very popular genre, but in writing historical fiction, the author makes an implicit deal with the reader. He ... promises that while the novel concerns fictional characters engaged in imagined activities, the basic historical framework is correct. [Readers] trust the author is telling the truth about history. In The Da Vinci Code, imaginative detail and false historical assertions are presented as facts and the fruit of serious historical research, which they simply are not. (p. 21 italics added)

decoding Da Vinci is handily divided into a preface, a section entitled "How to Use this Book", an introduction which provides a plot synopsis, ten chapters (each addressing one key issue of the book), and an epilogue. The plot synopsis is thorough enough that you need not have read the novel to make use of this book. Each chapter also ends with further reading suggestions and questions for review and discussion. Readers can thus study particular issues in more depth on their own, or even use the material for a group study. The book is a quick read from cover to cover, but also organized so that each chapter stands on its own for easy reference.

Throughout her book, Welborn uses a tone readers will be familiar with from her Prove It series and other writings. Straightforward and to-the-point, she is never condescending or preachy. The book thus becomes a powerful tool to help counter the myths Brown has presented in his original work.

The up-coming movie release makes this book an important and timely choice for adults and older teens to read.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
2-22-05
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