The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code

4.3 3879
by Dan Brown
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci --… See more details below

Overview

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.

In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can deipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever.

THE DA VINCI CODE heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightening-paced, intelligent thriller…utterly unpredictable right up to its stunning conclusion.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
A murder mystery set against a religious conspiracy theory involving Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, their child and the Holy Grail, The Da Vinci Code mixes page-turning suspense with art history, architecture and religious history. — Ayesha Court
The Washington Post
Brown keeps the pace fast, the puzzles that lead to the Grail are exceedingly clever, and there is a flurry of surprises and betrayals before the mystery is finally solved. Whatever the reader makes of the religious theories put forth, Brown has a great deal of interest to say about the early days of Christianity, the influence of pagan religions on it and the legend of the Grail. He says the revelations about Jesus — not to be revealed here — have been whispered about for centuries, but have never overcome the opposition of organized Christianity. How much of this is fact and how much is fiction? Read the book and make up your own mind. — Patrick Anderson
The Boston Globe
'The Da Vinci Code' is a dazzling performance by Brown, a delightful display of erudition. Though his mini-lectures sometimes hijack the narrative, they're necessary to keep us informed and occasionally permit us to try to unravel puzzles with Langdon and Neveu. Brown delivers a crackling, intricate mystery, complete with breathtaking escapes and several stunning surprises. It's challenging, exciting, and a whole lot more. — Jim Fusilli
Patrick Anderson
Brown keeps the pace fast, the puzzles that lead to the Grail are exceedingly clever, and there is a flurry of surprises and betrayals before the mystery is finally solved. Whatever the reader makes of the religious theories put forth, Brown has a great deal of interest to say about the early days of Christianity, the influence of pagan religions on it and the legend of the Grail. He says the revelations about Jesus — not to be revealed here — have been whispered about for centuries, but have never overcome the opposition of organized Christianity. How much of this is fact and how much is fiction? Read the book and make up your own mind.
— The Washington Post
Ayesha Court
A murder mystery set against a religious conspiracy theory involving Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, their child and the Holy Grail, The Da Vinci Code mixes page-turning suspense with art history, architecture and religious history.
— USA Today
Jim Fusilli
The Da Vinci Code is a dazzling performance by Brown, a delightful display of erudition. Though his mini-lectures sometimes hijack the narrative, they're necessary to keep us informed and occasionally permit us to try to unravel puzzles with Langdon and Neveu. Brown delivers a crackling, intricate mystery, complete with breathtaking escapes and several stunning surprises. It's challenging, exciting, and a whole lot more.
— The Boston Globe
Janet Maslin
… riddle-filled, code-breaking, exhilaratingly brainy.... In this gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he has been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection. Not since the advent of Harry Potter has an author so flagrantly delighted in leading readers on a breathless chase and coaxing them through hoops.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
What if Jesus Christ had a tryst with Mary Magdalene, and the interlude produced a child? Such a possibility-yielding a so-called royal bloodline-provides the framework for Brown's latest thriller (after Angels and Demons), an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre's chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown's last book. The two find several puzzling codes at the murder scene, all of which form a treasure map to the fabled Holy Grail, where proof of the Jesus bloodline supposedly can be found. As their search moves from France to England, Neveu and Langdon are confounded by two mysterious groups-the legendary Priory of Sion, a nearly 1,000-year-old secret society whose members have included Botticelli and Isaac Newton, and the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. Both have their own reasons for wanting to ensure that the Grail isn't found. Brown sometimes ladles out too much religious history at the expense of pacing, and Langdon is a hero in desperate need of more chutzpah. Still, Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts. (Mar. 18) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
When French police discover Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon's name hidden in a strange cipher found next to the body of a Louvre museum curator, he becomes their prime suspect for the brutal murder. The only person who believes that Robert is innocent is French cryptologist Sophie Neveu, who helps him escape from the police. While trying to elude capture, the two struggle to unravel the curator's mysterious message, only to find themselves caught between a centuries-old, secret European society and an extremely conservative, controversial branch of the Catholic Church, each of which is determined to possess the curator's secret, even if it means killing Robert and Sophie to get what they want. Brown's best-selling book, which features the hero from his earlier novel, Angels and Demons (Pocket Books, 2000), is an absolutely addictive thriller that blends fact and fiction with wonderfully creative results. The fascinating references in the plot to Da Vinci, the Knights Templar, the early history of the Catholic Church, and the Holy Grail might push some teens into researching these topics just to see what, if any, possible real historical basis there might be to Brown's story. Suspense-loving older teens, especially those with an interest in history or art, will definitely find this fast and furiously plotted thriller to be superior reading entertainment. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2003, Doubleday, 454p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—John Charles
Library Journal
Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist from Brown's Angels and Demons, is back in this amazing sequel. In Paris for a lecture, Langdon is summoned in the middle of the night to meet the head of the French police at the Louvre. The museum's curator has been found dead in a secure section of the gallery, with a message by his body leading to a baffling series of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. In addition, the curator left a specific message to find Langdon. While the police think Langdon is their culprit, he teams up with a French cryptologist to uncover the truth about the hidden messages. The answers lead to discovery of a shocking historical fact, and certain people will do anything to keep it a secret. Brown solidifies his reputation as one of the most skilled thriller writers on the planet with his best book yet, a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense. This masterpiece should be mandatory reading. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/02.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
The New York Times
...riddle-filled, code-breaking, exhilaratingly brainy.... In this gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he has been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection. Not since the advent of Harry Potter has an author so flagrantly delighted in leading readers on a breathless chase and coaxing them through hoops. Janet Maslin
From the Publisher
"Dan Brown has to be one of the best, smartest, and most accomplished writers in the country. THE DA VINCI CODE is many notches above the intelligent thriller; this is pure genius."
-NELSON DeMILLE, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Intrigue and menace mingle in one of the finest mysteries I’ve ever read. An amazing tale with enigma piled on secrets stacked on riddles."
-CLIVE CUSSLER, #1 New York Times bestseller

"Dan Brown is my new must-read.  THE DA VINCI CODE is fascinating and absorbing — perfect for history buffs, conspiracy nuts, puzzle lovers or anyone who appreciates a great, riveting story.  I loved this book."
-HARLAN COBEN, New York Times bestselling author of Tell No One

"The Da Vinci Code sets the hook-of-all-hooks, and takes off down a road that is as eye-opening as it is page-turning.  You simply cannot put this book down.  Thriller readers everywhere will soon realize Dan Brown is a master."
-VINCE FLYNN, New York Times bestselling author of Separation of Power

"I would never have believed that this is my kind of thriller, but I'm going to tell you something—the more I read, the more I had to read. In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown has built a world that is rich in fascinating detail, and I could not get enough of it. Mr. Brown, I am your fan."
ROBERT CRAIS, New York Times bestselling author of Hostage

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307474278
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/31/2009
Series:
Robert Langdon Series, #2
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
32,516
Product dimensions:
4.42(w) x 7.36(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

1
Robert Langdon awoke slowly.
A telephone was ringing in the darkness--a tinny, unfamiliar ring. He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on. Squinting at his surroundings he saw a plush Renaissance bedroom with Louis XVI furniture, hand-frescoed walls, and a colossal mahogany four-poster bed.
Where the hell am I?
The jacquard bathrobe hanging on his bedpost bore the monogram:
HOTEL RITZ PARIS.
Slowly, the fog began to lift.
Langdon picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Monsieur Langdon?" a man's voice said. "I hope I have not awoken you?"
Dazed, Langdon looked at the bedside clock. It was 12:32 A.M. He had been asleep only an hour, but he felt like the dead.
"This is the concierge, monsieur. I apologize for this intrusion, but you have a visitor. He insists it is urgent."
Langdon still felt fuzzy. A visitor? His eyes focused now on a crumpled flyer on his bedside table.
THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF PARIS
proudly presents
An evening with Robert Langdon
Professor of Religious Symbology, Harvard University
Langdon groaned. Tonight's lecture--a slide show about pagan symbolism hidden in the stones of Chartres Cathedral--had probably ruffled some conservative feathers in the audience. Most likely, some religious scholar had trailed him home to pick a fight.
"I'm sorry," Langdon said, "but I'm very tired and--"
"Mais monsieur," the concierge pressed, lowering his voice to an urgent whisper. "Your guest is an important man."
Langdon had little doubt. His books on religious paintings and cult symbology had made him a reluctantcelebrity in the art world, and last year Langdon's visibility had increased a hundred-fold after his involvement in a widely publicized incident at the Vatican. Since then, the stream of self-important historians and art buffs arriving at his door had seemed never-ending.
"If you would be so kind," Langdon said, doing his best to remain polite, "could you take the man's name and number, and tell him I'll try to call him before I leave Paris on Tuesday? Thank you." He hung up before the concierge could protest.
Sitting up now, Langdon frowned at his bedside Guest Relations Handbook, whose cover boasted: SLEEP LIKE A BABY IN THE CITY OF LIGHTS. SLUMBER AT THE PARIS RITZ.
He turned and gazed tiredly into the full-length mirror across the room. The man staring back at him was a stranger--tousled and weary.
You need a vacation, Robert.
The past year had taken a heavy toll on him, but he didn't appreciate seeing proof in the mirror. His usually sharp blue eyes looked hazy and drawn tonight. A dark stubble was shrouding his strong jaw and dimpled chin. Around his temples, the gray highlights were advancing, making their way deeper into his thicket of coarse black hair. Although his female colleagues insisted the gray only accentuated his bookish appeal, Langdon knew better.
If Boston Magazine could see me now.
Last month, much to Langdon's embarrassment, Boston Magazine had listed him as one of that city's top ten most intriguing people--a dubious honor that made him the brunt of endless ribbing by his Harvard colleagues. Tonight, three thousand miles from home, the accolade had resurfaced to haunt him at the lecture he had given.
"Ladies and gentlemen . . ." the hostess had announced to a full-house at The American University of Paris's Pavillon Dauphine, "Our guest tonight needs no introduction. He is the author of numerous books: The Symbology of Secret Sects, The Art of the Illuminati, The Lost Language of Ideograms, and when I say he wrote the book on Religious Iconology, I mean that quite literally. Many of you use his textbooks in class."
The students in the crowd nodded enthusiastically.
"I had planned to introduce him tonight by sharing his impressive curriculum vitae, however . . ." She glanced playfully at Langdon, who was seated onstage. "An audience member has just handed me a far more, shall we say . . . intriguing introduction."
She held up a copy of Boston Magazine.
Langdon cringed. Where the hell did she get that?
The hostess began reading choice excerpts from the inane article, and Langdon felt himself sinking lower and lower in his chair. Thirty seconds later, the crowd was grinning, and the woman showed no signs of letting up. "And Mr. Langdon's refusal to speak publicly about his unusual role in last year's Vatican conclave certainly wins him points on our intrigue-o-meter." The hostess goaded the crowd. "Would you like to hear more?"
The crowd applauded.
Somebody stop her, Langdon pleaded as she dove into the article again.
"Although Professor Langdon might not be considered hunk-handsome like some of our younger awardees, this forty-something academic has more than his share of scholarly allure. His captivating presence is punctuated by an unusually low, baritone speaking voice, which his female students describe as 'chocolate for the ears.''
The hall erupted in laughter.
Langdon forced an awkward smile. He knew what came next--some ridiculous line about "Harrison Ford in Harris tweed"--and because this evening he had figured it was finally safe again to wear his Harris tweed and Burberry turtleneck, he decided to take action.
"Thank you, Monique," Langdon said, standing prematurely and edging her away from the podium. "Boston Magazine clearly has a gift for fiction." He turned to the audience with an embarrassed sigh. "And if I find which one of you provided that article, I'll have the consulate deport you."
The crowd laughed.
"Well, folks, as you all know, I'm here tonight to talk about the power of symbols . . ."
* * *
The ringing of Langdon's hotel phone once again broke the silence.
Groaning in disbelief, he picked up. "Yes?"
As expected, it was the concierge. "Mr. Langdon, again my apologies. I am calling to inform you that your guest is now en route to your room. I thought I should alert you."
Langdon was wide awake now. "You sent someone to my room?"
"I apologize, monsieur, but a man like this . . . I cannot presume the authority to stop him."
"Who exactly is he?"
But the concierge was gone.
Almost immediately, a heavy fist pounded on Langdon's door.
Uncertain, Langdon slid off the bed, feeling his toes sink deep into the savonniere carpet. He donned the hotel bathrobe and moved toward the door. "Who is it?"
"Mr. Langdon? I need to speak with you." The man's English was accented--a sharp, authoritative bark. "My name is Lieutenant Jerome Collet. Direction Centrale Police Judiciaire."
Langdon paused. The Judicial Police? The DCPJ were the rough equivalent of the U.S. FBI.
Leaving the security chain in place, Langdon opened the door a few inches. The face staring back at him was thin and washed out. The man was exceptionally lean, dressed in an official-looking blue uniform.
"May I come in?" the agent asked.
Langdon hesitated, feeling uncertain as the stranger's sallow eyes studied him. "What is this is all about?"
"My capitaine requires your expertise in a private matter."
"Now?" Langdon managed. "It's after midnight."
"Am I correct that you were scheduled to meet with curator of the Louvre this evening? "
Langdon felt a sudden surge of uneasiness. He and the revered curator Jacques Saunière had been slated to meet for drinks after Langdon's lecture tonight, but Saunière had never shown up. "Yes. How did you know that?"
"We found your name in his daily planner."
"I trust nothing is wrong?"
The agent gave a dire sigh and slid a Polaroid snapshot through the narrow opening in the door.
When Langdon saw the photo, his entire body went rigid.
"This photo was taken less than an hour ago. Inside the Louvre."
As Langdon stared at the bizarre image, his initial revulsion and shock gave way to a sudden upwelling of anger. "Who would do this!"
"We had hoped that you might help us answer that very question. Considering your knowledge in symbology and your plans to meet with him."
Langdon stared at the picture, his horror now laced with fear. The image was gruesome and profoundly strange, bringing with it an unsettling sense of deja vu. A little over a year ago, Langdon had received a photograph of a corpse and a similar request for help. Twenty-four hours later, he had almost lost his life inside Vatican City. This photo was entirely different, and yet something about the scenario felt disquietingly familiar.
The agent checked his watch. "My captain is waiting, sir."
Langdon barely heard him. His eyes were still riveted on the picture. "This symbol here, and the way his body is so oddly . . ."
"Positioned?" the agent offered.
Langdon nodded, feeling a chill as he looked up. "I can't imagine who would do this to someone."
The agent looked grim. "You don't understand, Mr. Langdon. What you see in this photograph . . ." He paused. "Monsieur Saunière did that to himself."
2
One mile away, the hulking albino named Silas limped through the front gate of the luxurious brownstone residence on Rue la Bruyere. The spiked cilice belt that he wore around his thigh cut into his flesh, and yet his soul sang with satisfaction of service to the Lord.

Pain is good.

His red eyes scanned the lobby as he entered the residence. Empty. He climbed the stairs quietly, not wanting to awaken any of his fellow numeraries. His bedroom door was open; locks were forbidden here. He entered, closing the door behind him.
The room was spartan--hardwood floors, a pine dresser, a canvas mat in the corner that served as his bed. He was a visitor here this week, and yet for many years he had been blessed with a similar sanctuary in New York City.
The Lord has provided me shelter and purpose in my life.
Tonight, at last, Silas felt he had begun to repay his debt. Hurrying to the dresser, he found the cell phone hidden in his bottom drawer and placed a call to a private extension.
"Yes?" a male voice answered.
"Teacher, I have returned."
"Speak," the voice commanded, sounding pleased to hear from him.
"All four are gone. The three sénéchaux . . . and the Grand Master himself."
There was a momentary pause, as if for prayer. "Then I assume you have the information?"
"All four concurred. Independently."
"And you believed them?"
"Their agreement was too great for coincidence."
An excited breath. "Excellent. I had feared the brotherhood's reputation for secrecy might prevail."
"The prospect of death is strong motivation."
"So, my pupil, tell me what I must know."
Silas knew the information he had gleaned from his victims would come as a shock. "Teacher, all four confirmed the existence of the clef de voûte . . . the legendary keystone."
He heard a quick intake of breath over the phone and could feel the Teacher's excitement. "The keystone. Exactly as we suspected."
According to lore, the brotherhood had created a map of stone--a clef de voûte . . . or keystone--an engraved tablet that revealed the final resting place of the brotherhood's greatest secret...information so powerful that its protection was the reason for the brotherhood's very existence.
"When we possess the keystone," the Teacher said, "we will be only one step away."
"We are closer than you think. The keystone is here in Paris."
"Paris? Incredible. It is almost too easy."
Silas relayed the earlier events of the evening . . . how all four of his victims, moments before death, had desperately tried to buy back their godless lives by telling their secret. Each had told Silas the exact same thing--that the keystone was ingeniously hidden at a precise location inside one of Paris's ancient churches--the Eglise de Saint-Sulpice.
"Inside a House of the Lord," the Teacher exclaimed. "How they mock us!"
"As they have for centuries."
The Teacher fell silent, as if letting the triumph of this moment settle over him. Finally, he spoke. "You have done a great service to God. We have waited centuries for this. You must retrieve the stone for me. Immediately. Tonight. You understand the stakes."
Silas knew the stakes were incalculable, and yet what the Teacher was now commanding seemed impossible. "But the cathedral, it is a fortress. Especially at night. How will I enter?"
With the confident tone of man of enormous influence, the Teacher explained what was to be done.
* * *
When Silas hung up the phone, his skin tingled with anticipation.
One hour, he told himself, grateful that the Teacher had given him time to carry out the necessary penance before entering a house of God. I must purge my soul of today's sins. The sins committed today had been Holy in purpose. Acts of war against the enemies of God had been committed for centuries. Forgiveness was assured.
Even so, Silas knew, absolution required sacrifice.
Pulling his shades, he stripped naked and knelt in the center of his room. Looking down, he examined the spiked cilice belt clamped around his thigh. All true followers of The Way wore this device--a leather strap, studded with sharp metal barbs that cut into the flesh as a perpetual reminder of Christ's suffering. The pain caused by the device also helped counteract the desires of the flesh.
Although Silas already had worn his cilice today longer than the requisite two hours, he knew today was no ordinary day. Grasping the buckle, he cinched it one notch tighter, wincing as the barbs dug deeper into his flesh. Exhaling slowly, he savored the cleansing ritual of his pain.
Pain is good, Silas whispered, repeating the sacred mantra of Father Josemaria Escriva--the Teacher of all Teachers. Although Escriva had died in 1975, his wisdom lived on, his words still whispered by thousands of faithful servants around the globe as they knelt on the floor and performed the sacred practice known as "corporal mortification."
Silas turned his attention now to a heavy knotted rope coiled neatly on the floor beside him. The Discipline. The knots were caked with dried blood. Eager for the purifying effects of his own agony, Silas said a quick prayer. Then, gripping one end of the rope, he closed his eyes and swung it hard over his shoulder, feeling the knots slap against his back. He whipped it over his shoulder again, slashing at his flesh. Again and again, he lashed.
Castigo corpus meum.
Finally, he felt the blood begin to flow.
From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright© 2003 by Dan Brown

Read More

What People are saying about this

Nelson DeMille
Dan Brown has to be one of the best, smartest, and most accomplished writers in the country. The Da Vinci Code is many notches above the intelligent thriller; this is pure genius.
Robert Crais
I would never have believed that this is my kind of thriller, but I'm going to tell you something -- the more I read, the more I had to read. In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown has built a world that is rich in fascinating detail, and I could not get enough of it. Mr. Brown, I am your fan.
Clive Cussler
Intrigue and menace mingle in one of the finest mysteries I've ever read. An amazing tale with enigma piled on secrets stacked on riddles.
Vince Flynn
The Da Vinci Code sets the hook-of-all-hooks, and takes off down a road that is as eye-opening as it is page-turning. You simply cannot put this book down. Thriller readers everywhere will soon realize Dan Brown is a master.
Harlan Coben
Dan Brown is my new must-read. The Da Vinci Code is fascinating and absorbing -- perfect for history buffs, conspiracy nuts, puzzle lovers or anyone who appreciates a great, riveting story. I loved this book.
From the Publisher
"Read the book and be enlightened."
The Washington Post Book World

“A pulse-quickening, brain-teasing adventure.”
People

“Thriller writing doesn't get any better than this.”
The Denver Post

“Blockbuster perfection.”
The New York Times

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >