This book is a foetid mess spewed by accident from the substandard brain of one Dan Brown. It is possible that the following review contains spoilers, although since the book has already been thoroughly spoiled in the writing process it’s hard to see how I could make it worse.
Essentially, the lead character, Robert Langdon, is a symbolologist who is called in to investigate a peculiar murder in the Louvre. Symbolololology, incidentally, is I think one of those subjects they only teach at former polytechnics, like Klingon or horse studies.
Anyway, from this bloody beginning, Langdon is gradually drawn into a vast conspiracy which implicates the entire Catholic church but oddly involves no paedophilia whatsoever. Along the way he meets a Frenchwoman and a cripple who is English (and therefore evil). He also spends a great deal of time spaffing on about symbololololology, all of which finally comes to a head when the grand secret – that people have sex – is finally spilt.
Brown’s prose is so apocalyptically awful that my eyelids nearly glued themselves shut in self-defence. You know the story behind The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, in which tragically-paralysed author Jean-Dominique Bauby was forced to blink out every letter as he dictated the manuscript? Well, Brown appears to have written Code in a similarly laborious manner, by banging his head against the keyboard for fourteen billion hours and then deleting anything he didn’t recognise as a word while still concussed.
The characters, despite what is supposed to be a burgeoning romance between the leads, are as bland and uninteresting as a magnolia urinal. Particularly irritating for me was the man who is English (and therefore evil), who is so massively, unrealistically English (and therefore evil) that you start to wonder whether Brown knows that England is a real country, not some Atlantean Narniaverse full of overeducated, well-spoken people who live in castles and take tea far too seriously (and are evil). And how the hell is it possible for even a writer as dreadful as Brown to make a masochist albino hitman monk boring?
The da Vinci Code is a runny compost heap of a book, to be recommended only to people recovering from traumatic head injuries that have wiped out their critical faculties.