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NEW in Crime and Suspense:
P. D. James with a new Dalgliesh crime novel: The Lighthouse
John le Carré The Mission Song
Ruth Rendell: End in Tears
Ian Rankin: The Naming Of The Dead
Robert Goddard: Never Go Back
John Grisham: The Innocent Man

[05.04.04] Pre-order Deep Black - a new Andy McNab book to be released on November 4th 2004.

[11.01.04] Pre-order The Increment - Chris Ryan's latest book, to be released on June 3rd 2004.



Dan Brown

Title Delivery
By Dan Brown:    
The Da Vinci Code UK US
Angels and Demons UK US
Digital Fortress UK US
Deception Point UK US
By others:
Holy Blood, Holy Grail US
The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ
The Messianic Legacy
The Goddess in the Gospels: Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine US
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene US
The Woman With the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail
Magdalene's Lost Legacy: Symbolic Numbers and the Sacred Union in Christianity
The Temple and the Lodge
Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry
Depth and Details - A Reader's Guide to Dan Brown's the Da Vinci Code
The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Da Vinci
The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code
Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code
Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction
Da Vinci Code Decoded: The Truth Behind the New York Times #1 Bestseller
The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenging Response to the Bestselling Novel
Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts
De-Coding Davinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code
Breaking The Da Vinci Code : Answers to the Questions Everybody's Asking
Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code

has recently made the bestseller lists with his book The Da Vinci Code, a fast-paced thriller. The curator of the Louvre is found dead, and Harvard professor Robert Langdon is called in to help the police. Signs point towards a secret society called The Priory of Sion, and soon Langdon is chased and chasing in a race to solve the mystery and find the Holy Grail before the Church finds it and destroys it.

The book is filled to the brim with arcane lore that we are led to believe are factual, while I believe it is at best a collection of conspiracy legends with some facts thrown in.

Characters are not very well developed, and Brown does anything to create cliff-hanging suspense. He even goes as far as to let his heroes be baffled by phenomena that will be well-known to any bright high school student, and should be obvious to Langdon and his helpers.

If the story told by the signs and the cyphers are intriguing, other books might give a better introduction to the legends. A number of books have been spawned by this book, refuting or telling more about the legends Brown uses as his basis. (See table above/at right for titles, including books that Brown has used as background for his own.)

An earlier book was Angels and Demons, the first novel with Robert Langdon. Someone has stolen a scientific discovery that is also a new weapon of mass destruction. (However, Saddam doesn't enter this story.) A scientist is found dead in Geneva. Signs on his body leaves Langdon to be called in, and soon Langdon finds himself in Rome, following a trail of signs and cyphers all over the city in pursuit of the thief who is threatening to wreak havoc on a Papal election. As in The Da Vinci Code, religious concerns and secret societies lie at the bottom of the conflict, and the tempo is high: the whole book covers less than 24 hours.

In both books a young female relative of the first victim, both pretty, well educated and intelligent, plays awestruck Jane to Langdon's academic Tarzan.

Not having read all Brown's books, I gather they come from the same mould. I understand it, though, that his earlier books contain more modern codebreaking stuff.

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason: The Rule of Four

has been hailed as, among other things, "The Da Vinci Code for people with brains". Possible, I didn't like The Da Vinci Code, neither do I like this one - but for different reasons.

The basis for The Rule of Four is the mysteries and unsolved riddles of an old book, which I find quite interesting. And, contrary to Brown, we get to know the main characters well. However, the book for me has a number of faults: We are not very well involved in the riddles of the book, we are only told about them. While the unity of space and time is well preserved, much of the book is spent on telling about the past, much of which has no discernible interest for the plot. Everything is told in the present tense, even if it conserns the past. The plot is disappearing in verbosity, after 150 pages I started wondering when the story would really begin - had I not had expectations of Brown's pace I might have been more content. Murders are just mentioned en passant and raises no nerves, no discussion, no real emotions. Very much time and words are spent on the main character's love affair, having no bearing on the plot as far as I can tell.

Reading this book might have been more pleasant if it hadn't been likened to The Da Vinci Code - it has no likeness, but for the uncovering of medieval riddles. But not in its plot, in its pace or in its characters, who are much more likable than Langdon.


[30.04.03]A must for the reader of modern crime novels, The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction gives a encyclopedic view of post-war crime fiction. For non-English readers it is a drawback that very little non-English material is included, but it is a great fountain of facts about English language authors. Its scope is strictly crime, leaving thrillers out - it still fills 780 pages, so you'll have more than enough to read.
More Mammoth Encyclopedias or Mammoth Books of a surprisingly wide range of subjects - Erotic photography, Shaggy Dog stories, Murder and Science and so on....

This page was last updated on 05.02.2005.




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