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Where there's a CODE there's a COD ...
In the not so distant past, a man had a Very Cunning Theory which he wrote down in a book, and it proved to be very popular indeed. In the very distant past, a man was born who had a wife, who had a child, who grew up and had children in turn, and so there was a bloodline stretching to today. And Leonardo da Vinci knew all about it and recorded it in a painting for everyone to see, despite lots of Bad People trying to cover up the whole ...
Where there's a CODE there's a COD ...
In the not so distant past, a man had a Very Cunning Theory which he wrote down in a book, and it proved to be very popular indeed. In the very distant past, a man was born who had a wife, who had a child, who grew up and had children in turn, and so there was a bloodline stretching to today. And Leonardo da Vinci knew all about it and recorded it in a painting for everyone to see, despite lots of Bad People trying to cover up the whole thing. And the man with the Very Cunning Theory figured all this out from lots of clues and pictures that Leonardo da Vinci had cunningly concealed, and then published it for everyone to see.
But then it turned out that this Very Cunning Theory was Not So Cunning After All because it wasn't true. Not even remotely. Not even a tiny bit likely. Which is where this book comes in.
Because it turns out that although Leonardo da Vinci didn't know anything at all about a holy bloodline extending to the present day, he knew a very great deal indeed about what cod really are, and that sinister knowledge is only now coming to light ...
This book has not been authorized or endorsed by Dan Brown or his publishers, but it is much, much funnier.
It was well after dark when Robert Donglan, the University of London's foremost anagrammatologist, was woken by the sound of loud banging at his front door. He pulled himself out of bed and glowered at himself in the bedroom mirror. 'Who can that be at this hour?' he asked his reflection.
It was nine pm. It said so on the bedside alarm clock. Robert had had an early night. Lacking anything that might be called 'a life', he had nothing else to do with his time.
His reflection was that of himself, a tall, handsome, kindly-faced man, slightly graying at the temples, or as he put it in his charming English way 'slightly greying at the temples'. The English spell certain words in a different way to Americans, although the fact that they spell gray 'grey' does not mean that they pronounce the word 'gree-y'. I know because I once asked an Englishman, one time when I was staying in London, and he was able to confirm this by repeating the word, at my request, twenty or thirty times. He was a nice man, and I was hoping to jot his name down to acknowledge him in the acknowledgements of my book, but when I started thanking him for repeating the word gray over and over and began asking him another question he, kind of, ran away up Oxford Street. Ah well.
As Professor of Annagrammotology at the University of London, Donglan was a senior and respected academic expert on codes and anagrams. Could that possibly be why the mysterious people downstairs were banging so noisily on his door? Could they want his help in solving some mysterious puzzle or baffling rebus? He would find out in a moment, by opening the door, and entering into a conversation with them, during which many questions would be answered; but first he had to finish looking at himself in the mirror.
If he were to be played by an actor in a motion picture, and I'm not nagging here, just saying, it's only a suggestion, then maybe a young Harrison Ford, possibly Russell Crowe if he could lose some of the weight. Or that chap in Ocean's Eleven and Solaris. Not the original Solaris, of course, not that podge-faced Russian bloke, he'd be no good; he's probably in his seventies now, anyway. I mean the remake. With whatshername, the English actress with the beaky (in a nice-looking way) face, Natasha, Anastacia, something like that. Not her, obviously; she's a female, I mean the man, the leading actor. You know who I mean, very handsome. He could play Robert Donglan. Which I only mention here to help you, the reader, visualise the character, not to try to influence any casting decisions which as yet have not been made, the contracts not even negotiated, and it doesn't have anything to do with this story anyway. He'd probably be too expensive anyhow. Just as long as it's not that hideously ubiquitous Tom Hanks, with his huge sandbag please-punch-me face . . . anyway. Anyway, anyway. Hmm, hm, hoom.
Dr Robert Donglan slipped into an expensive cotton dressing gown, which he had purchased from a chain store, and not stolen from a hotel at all, and padded downstairs. 'Alright I'm coming,' he declared.
He opened the door, made of oak. On the far side was standing Inspector Charles 'Curvy' Tash of the C.I.D. He was accompanied by his sergeant. 'Dr Donglan?' the Inspector asked.
'Yes?' demanded Donglan. 'What do you want? It's gone nine o'clock.'
'I'm sorry to disturb you, sir,' said the policeman, unperturbed. 'But we have need of your expertise. There's been a terrible crime -- a murder -- and you may be able to help us decipher certain incomprehensible messages left at the murder scene.'
'Good gracious!' exclaimed Robert. 'How terrible! I'll get dressed. A murder, you say? Where are we going?'
'The National Gallery,' said Inspector Tash. 'The murder victim, Jacques Sauna-Lurker, has been killed in a most distressing manner.'
In fifteen minutes Robert was fully dressed and sitting in the back of an unmarked police car. They sped through the narrow streets of Old London town, travelling sometimes in the bus lanes (as the police are permitted to do even when not driving buses) to avoid the rather congested traffic. In a short time they arrived at the National Gallery. Inspector Tash helped Donglan out of the car.
There were half a dozen police cars parked outside the august stone entrance portico of the Gallery, some with their lights flashing. Stripey tape had been stretched across the doorway. Several uniformed policemen were standing to attention in front of this tape, wearing the distinctive dark blue costume of the traditional British 'bobby', including the prominent domed hard helmet, which form of hat has led the youth of Great Britain uniformly to refer to their police constables by the nickname 'breastheads'. A small crowd of curious passers-by had gathered, and were gawping, although the police were not, obviously, permitting them inside the Gallery -- for not only was it midnight and long after closing time, but the gallery was now a murder scene.
'This way, Dr Donglan,' said Inspector Tash, helping Robert duck under the tape, and leading him up the wide stone stairway and into the gallery.
Donglan, Tash and the sergeant made their way through the echoily deserted, cavernous atria of the Gallery. It was eerie to be in such a large space at night, with only occasional pools of electric light marking the way, and shadowy darkness all around. But, unsettling as this was, it was as nothing compared to the lack of settle that Robert felt when he saw the dead body of Jacques Sauna-Lurker for the first time.
'Oh my God!' Robert gasped.
'It's not a pretty sight, is it, sir,' said the Sergeant, grimly.
'It is a sight for sore eyes,' said Robert. 'It makes my eyes sore, seeing the sight. This is a sight that sores up the old eyes and no mistake.'
Excerpted from The Da Vinci Cod by Don Brine Copyright © 2005 by Don Brine. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted March 18, 2008