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The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective fiction novel written by Americanmarker author Dan Brown. It follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris'smarker Louvre Museummarker and discovers a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus Christ of Nazarethmarker having been married to and fathering a child with Mary Magdalene.

The title of the novel refers to, among other things, the fact that the murder victim is found in the Denon Wing of the Louvre, naked and posed like Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man, with a cryptic message written beside his body and a pentacle drawn on his stomach in his own blood.

The novel has provoked a popular interest in speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and Magdalene's role in the history of Christianity. The book has been extensively denounced by many Christian denominations as an attack on the Roman Catholic Church. It has also been criticized for its historical and scientific inaccuracy.

The book is a worldwide bestseller that had sold 80 million copies as of 2009 and that has been translated into 44 languages. Combining the detective, thriller, and conspiracy fiction genres, it is Brown's second novel to include the character Robert Langdon, the first being his 2000 novel Angels & Demons. In November 2004 Random House published a Special Illustrated Edition with 160 illustrations. In 2006 a film adaptation was released by Sony's Columbia Pictures.

Plot summary

This book describes the attempts of Robert Langdon, Professor of Religious Symbology at Harvard Universitymarker, to solve the murder of renowned curator Jacques Saunière of the Louvre Museummarker in Parismarker. A baffling cipher is found near his body. Saunière's granddaughter, Sophie Neveu and Langdon attempt to sort out the bizarre riddles and are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The unraveling of the mystery requires solutions to a series of brain-teasers, including anagrams and number puzzles. The ultimate solution is found to be intimately connected with the possible location of the Holy Grail and to a mysterious society called the Priory of Sion, as well as to the Knights Templar. The story also involves the Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei.


The story starts off with the murder of Jacques Saunière (the Grand Master Of Priory of Sion, although virtually no one knows that at the time) by Silas (acting on behalf of someone known only as The Teacher) to extract the location of the “keystone,” an item which leads to the Holy Grail. The police summon Robert Langdon, who is delivering a lecture in Paris, to the murder scene and ask for his help in deciphering the code Sauniere left on and near his body. Bezu Fache, the head detective, believes Langdon is the prime suspect in the murder.

Sophie Neveu shows up at the murder scene as a police cryptographer and quickly gains Langdon's trust. Jacques Saunière was Neveu's grandfather and they were very close to each other until she discovered him participating in a pagan sex ritual (Hieros Gamos) at his home in Normandy, when she made a surprise visit there during a break from boarding school. (That she had observed something is mentioned and hinted at several times throughout the story, but what it is that she saw is revealed to no one, including the reader, until near the end when she tells Robert).

Langdon and Neveu find a baffling cipher near Saunière's body. These clues were meant to lead to a second set of clues. By deciphering her grandfather's clues, Neveu finds the painting which had a key hidden behind it and an address and symbols of the Priory of Sion were written on the key. Working together, Langdon and Neveu trick the police, flee the scene and figure out the secret of the key.

The key opens a safe deposit box at the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. Saunière's account number at the bank is a 10-digit number listing the digits of the first eight Fibonacci numbers: 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21.

Inside the safe deposit box they find the keystone which is actually a large cryptex, a cylindrical device supposedly invented by Leonardo Da Vinci for transporting secure messages. In order to open it the combination of rotating components must be arranged in the correct order. If the cryptex is forced open an enclosed vial of vinegar ruptures and dissolves the message, which was written on papyrus. The rosewood box containing the large cryptex contains clues to the combination of the cryptex, written in backwards script in the same manner as Leonardo's journals.

The instructions that Saunière revealed to Silas at gunpoint are actually a well-rehearsed lie, namely that the keystone is buried in the Church of Saint-Sulpicemarker beneath an obelisk that lies exactly along the ancient "Rose Line" (the former Prime Meridian which passed through Paris before it was redesignated to pass through Greenwich). The message beneath the obelisk simply contains a reference to a passage in the Book of Job (38:11a, KJV) which reads in part "Hitherto shalt thou go and no further." When Silas reads this, he realizes he has been tricked.

Still being chased by the police, Langdon and Neveu take the keystone to Sir Leigh Teabing (an expert in the Holy Grail and Langdon’s friend). They flee the country in Teabing's private plane, and on the plane figure out how to open the cryptex, but the large cryptex actually contains a second smaller cryptex with a second riddle that reveals its combination. The riddle, which says to seek the orb that should be on the tomb of "a knight a pope interred," refers not to a medieval knight, but rather to the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton, who was buried in Westminster Abbeymarker, and was eulogized by Alexander Pope (A. Pope).

It turns out that Teabing is the Teacher who assigned Silas to kill Jacques Saunière and he also had information on the identities of the leaders of the Priory of Sion who then bugged their offices and had Silas assassinate them. Rémy is his collaborator. It is Teabing who contacted Bishop Aringarosa, hiding his identity, and tricked him into financing the plan to find the Grail. He never intended to hand the Grail over to Aringarosa but is taking advantage of Opus Dei's resolve to find it. Teabing believes that the Priory of Sion has broken its vow to reveal the secret of the Grail to the world at the appointed time. He plans to steal the Grail documents and reveal them to the world himself. It was he who informed Silas that Langdon and Sophie Neveu were at his chateau. He did not seize the keystone from them himself because he did not want to reveal his identity. He summoned Silas to seize the keystone in his house, but himself thwarted Silas, in order to gain Langdon and Sophie's further help with decoding the cryptex. Subsequently, the police raid the house, having followed the tracking device in the truck Langdon had stolen while escaping from the bank. Teabing led Neveu and Langdon to the Temple Churchmarker in London, knowing full well that it was a dead end, in order to stage the hostage scene with Rémy and thereby obtain the keystone without revealing his real plot to Langdon and Neveu.

In order to erase all knowledge of his work, Teabing kills Rémy by giving him cognac laced with peanut powder, knowing Rémy has a deadly allergy to peanuts. Thus, Rémy dies of an anaphylactic shock. Teabing also anonymously tells the police that Silas is hiding in the London headquarters of Opus Dei.

In a showdown with Teabing in Westminster Abbeymarker, Langdon secretly opens the second cryptex and removes its contents before destroying it in front of Teabing. Teabing is arrested and led away while fruitlessly begging Langdon to tell him the contents of the second cryptex and the secret location of the Grail.

Bezu Fache finds out that Neveu and Langdon are innocent after Bishop Aringarosa contacts him privately to confess. Fache then cancels the warrants for the arrest of Neveu and Langdon.

Silas accidentally shoots Aringarosa outside the London headquarters of Opus Dei while fleeing from the police. Realizing his terrible error and that he has been duped, Aringarosa tells Bezu Fache to give the bearer bonds in his briefcase to the families of the murdered leaders of the Priory of Sion. Silas dies from his fatal wounds.

The final message inside the second keystone actually does not refer to Rosslyn Chapelmarker, although the Grail was indeed once buried there, below the Star of David on the floor (the two interlocking triangles are the "blade" and "chalice," i.e., male and female symbols).

The docent in Rosslyn Chapel is Sophie's long-lost brother. Sophie had been told as a child that he was killed with her parents and grandmother in a car accident.

The guardian of Rosslyn Chapel, Marie Chauvel, is Sophie's long-lost grandmother, and the wife of Jacques Saunière. She is the woman who participated in the sex ritual with Jacques Saunière. It is revealed that Sophie is a descendant of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. The Priory of Sion hid her identity in order to protect her from possible threats to her life.

Even though all four of the leaders of the Priory of Sion are killed, the secret is not lost, since there is still a contingency plan (never revealed) which will keep the organization and its secret alive.

The real meaning of the last message is that the Grail is buried beneath the small pyramid (i.e., the "blade," a male symbol) directly below the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvremarker (i.e., the "chalice," a female symbol, which Langdon and Sophie ironically almost crashed into while making their original escape from Bezu Fache). It also lies beneath the "Rose Line," which is similar to "Rosslyn." Langdon figures out this final piece to the puzzle in the last pages of the book, but he does not appear inclined to tell anyone about this. See La Pyramide Inverséemarker for further discussion.


These are the principal characters that drive the plot. Some have names that are puns, anagrams or hidden clues:

Secret of the Holy Grail

In the novel Leigh Teabing explains to Sophie Neveu that the figure at the right hand of Jesus in Leonardo da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper" is not the apostle John, but actually Mary Magdalene. In the novel, Magdalene was the wife of Jesus Christ and was pregnant with his child when Jesus was crucified. Leigh Teabing says that the absence of a chalice in Leonardo's painting indicates that Leonardo knew that Mary Magdalene was the actual Holy Grail and the bearer of Jesus' blood in the form of the child she was carrying. Leigh Teabing goes on to explain that this idea is supported by the shape of the letter "V" that is formed by the bodily positions of Jesus and Mary, as "V" is the symbol for the sacred feminine. The absence of the Apostle John in the painting is explained by knowing that John is also referred to as "the Disciple Jesus loved", code for Mary Magdalene. The book also notes that the color scheme of their garments are inverted: Jesus wears a red blouse with royal blue cape; John/Mary wears a royal blue blouse with red cape — perhaps symbolizing two bonded halves of marriage.

According to the novel, the secrets of the Holy Grail, as kept by the Priory of Sion are as follows:

The secrets of the Grail are connected, according to the novel, to Leonardo Da Vinci's work as follows:
  • Leonardo was a member of the Priory of Sion and knew the secret of the Grail. The secret is in fact revealed in The Last Supper, in which no actual chalice is present at the table. The figure seated next to Christ is not a man, but a woman, his wife Mary Magdalene. Most reproductions of the work are from a later alteration that obscured her obvious female characteristics.
  • The androgyny of the Mona Lisa reflects the sacred union of male and female which is implied in the holy union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Such parity between the cosmic forces of masculine and feminine has long been a deep threat to the established power of the Church. The name Mona Lisa is actually an anagram for "Amon L'Isa", referring to the father and mother gods of Ancient Egyptian religion (namely Amun and Isis).

A number of different authors also speculate about the possibility of Jesus becoming a father. There are at least three children attributed to him, a daughter Tamar, born before the Crucifixion, and two sons Jesus (the Jesus Justus from the New Testament) and Josephes, both born after the Resurrection. Although their names are now part of the common culture of conspiracy writers, only two decades ago, when The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was written, the names were not mentioned. The royal descents that lie at the heart of The Da Vinci Code mystery centre on the family of Josephes, who is supposed to be the grandfather of Aminadab del Graal, first of the "Fisher Kings". However the genealogies that are quoted in Grail lore appear to record too few generations, with children regularly being born to fathers in their 40s.


Brown's novel was a major success in 2004 and was outsold only by J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It won Book Sense's 2004 Book of the Year Award in the Adult Fiction category. It spawned a number of offspring works and drew positive reviews from The New York Times, People, and The Washington Post. Additionally, The Da Vinci Code has inspired a number of novels very similar to it, including Raymond Khoury's The Last Templar and Steve Berry's The Templar Legacy. In a 2008 survey of more than 15,000 Australian readers, the book came in fourth in a list of the 101 best books ever written.

The book was not generally well received by critics, however, and it has been the subject of numerous negative appraisals concerning its literary value and its portrayal of history. Its writing and historical accuracy were reviewed scathingly by The New Yorker, The New York Times, and, among others.


Historical inaccuracies

The book generated criticism when it was first published, due to its inaccurate description of core aspects of Christianity, the history of the Catholic Church, and descriptions of European art, history, and architecture. The book has received mostly negative reviews from Catholic and other Christian communities.

Many critics say that Brown should have done much more research before publishing this book. On February 22, 2004, an article titled "The Last Word: The Da Vinci Con" appeared in the New York Times by writer Laura Miller. Miller attacks the Da Vinci Code on multiple levels, referring to it as "based on a notorious hoax", "rank nonsense", and "bogus", as she points out how heavily the book rests on the fabrications of Pierre Plantard (including the Priory of Sion which did not exist until Plantard created it) who in 1953 was arrested and convicted for just such frauds.

Critics accuse Brown of distorting and fabricating history. For example, Marcia Ford wrote:

Richard Abanes wrote:

The book opens with the claim by Dan Brown that "The Priory of Sion — a European secret society founded in 1099 — is a real organization". The Priory of Sion itself was actually a hoax created in 1956 by a Mr. Pierre Plantard. The author also claims that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents … and secret rituals in this novel are accurate"; but this claim is disputed by almost all academic scholars in the fields the book discusses.

Numerous works have been published that explain in detail why any claim to accuracy is difficult to substantiate, while two lawsuits have been brought alleging plagiarism in The Da Vinci Code. The first suit for copyright infringement was filed in February 2006 in a British court by the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a purportedly nonfiction account of Mary Magdalene's role as the wife of Jesus of Nazareth and the mother of his child, was found in Dan Brown's favor. No verdict has yet been rendered on a second suit, filed in August of the same year, in the United States by Jack Dunn, the author of The Vatican Boys.

A third author, Lewis Perdue, alleged that Brown plagiarized from two of his novels, The Da Vinci Legacy, originally published in 1983, and Daughter of God, originally published in the year 2000. He sought to block distribution of the book and film. However, Judge George Daniels of the US District Court in New York ruled against Perdue in 2005, saying that "A reasonable average lay observer would not conclude that The Da Vinci Code is substantially similar to Daughter of God" and that "Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalised or otherwise unprotectable ideas." Perdue appealed, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, saying Mr. Perdue's arguments were "without merit".

Dan Brown himself dilutes the suggestion of some of the more controversial aspects being fact on his web site: "The "FACT" page makes no statement whatsoever about any of the ancient theories discussed by fictional characters. Interpreting those ideas is left to the reader". However, it also says that "these real elements are interpreted and debated by fictional characters", "it is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit." and "the secret behind The Da Vinci Code was too well documented and significant for me to dismiss." It is therefore entirely understandable why there would continue to be confusion as to what is the factual content of the book.

Brown's earlier statements about the accuracy of the historical information in his book, however, were far more strident. In 2003, while promoting his novel, he was asked in interviews what parts of the history in his novel actually happened. He replied "Absolutely all of it." In a 2003 interview with CNN's Martin Savidge he was again asked how much of the historical background was true. He replied, "99% is true ... the background is all true". Asked by Elizabeth Vargas in an ABC News special if the book would have been different if he had written it as non-fiction he replied, "I don't think it would have." More recently Brown has avoided interviews and has been rather more circumspect about the accuracy of his claims in his few public statements. He has also, however, never retracted any of his earlier assertions that the history in the novel is accurate, despite substantial academic criticism of his claims.

In 2005, UK TV personality Tony Robinson edited and narrated a detailed rebuttal of the main arguments of Dan Brown and those of Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, "The Real Da Vinci Code", shown on British TV Channel 4. The program featured lengthy interviews with many of the main protagonists cited by Brown as "absolute fact" in The Da Vinci Code. Arnaud de Sède, son of Gérard de Sède, stated categorically that his father and Plantard had made up the existence of the Prieuré de Sion, the cornerstone of the Jesus bloodline theory - to quote Arnaud de Sede in the program, "frankly, it was piffle". The program also cast severe doubt on the Rosslyn Chapelmarker association with the Grail and on other related stories like the alleged landing of Mary Magdalene in France.

Portrayal of early Christianity

According to The Da Vinci Code, the Roman Emperor Constantine I suppressed Gnosticism because it portrayed Jesus as purely human. The novel's argument is as follows.Tim O'Neill. "Early Christianity and Political Power". History versus the Da Vinci Code. 2006. 16 Feb 2009> Constantine wanted Christianity to act as a unifying religion for the Roman Empire. He thought Christianity would appeal to pagan only if it featured a demigod similar to pagan heroes. According to the Gnostic Gospels, Jesus was merely a human prophet, not a demigod. Therefore, to change Jesus' image, Constantine destroyed the Gnostic Gospels and promoted the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which portray Jesus as divine or semidivine.

In fact, Gnosticism did not portray Jesus as merely human.Tim O'Neill. "Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls". History versus the Da Vinci Code. 2006. 16 Feb 2009> Some Gnostic writings do depict Jesus interacting with his disciples in a wholly human way, one example being the Gospel of Mary, but the general Gnostic depiction of Jesus is not clear-cut. Many Gnostic writings depict Christ as purely divine, his human body being a mere illusion (see Docetism).John Arendzen. "Docetae." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 16 Feb. 2009>. Arendzen writes: "The idea of the unreality of Christ's human nature was held by the oldest Gnostic sects [...] Docetism, as far as at present known, [was] always an accompaniment of Gnosticism or later of Manichaeism." Some Gnostic sects saw Christ this way because they regarded matter as evil, and therefore believed that a divine spirit would never have taken on a material body.Tim O'Neill. "Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls". History versus the Da Vinci Code. 2006. 16 Feb 2009> The Da Vinci Code also portrays the Council of Nicaea's decision to recognize the fully human and divine aspects of Christ as being a close vote, while some authors dispute this.

Literary criticism

The novel has also attracted criticism in literary circles for its alleged lack of artistic or literary merit and its allegedly stereotyped portrayal of British and French characters.

Salman Rushdie claimed during a lecture, "Do not start me on 'The Da Vinci Code,' A novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name."

Stephen Fry has referred to Brown's writings as "complete loose stool-water" and "arse gravy of the worst kind." In a live chat on June 14, 2006, he clarified, "I just loathe all those book[s] about the Holy Grail and Masons and Catholic conspiracies and all that botty-dribble. I mean, there's so much more that's interesting and exciting in art and in history. It plays to the worst and laziest in humanity, the desire to think the worst of the past and the desire to feel superior to it in some fatuous way."

In his 2005 University of Mainemarker Commencement Address, best-selling author Stephen King put Dan Brown's work and "Jokes for the John" on the same level, calling such literature the "intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese." The New York Times, while reviewing the movie based on the book, called the book "Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence". The New Yorker reviewer Anthony Lane refers to it as "unmitigated junk" and decries "the crumbling coarseness of the style." Linguist Geoffrey Pullum and others posted several entries critical of Dan Brown's writing, at Language Log, calling Brown one of the "worst prose stylists in the history of literature" and saying Brown's "writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad." Roger Ebert described it as a "potboiler written with little grace and style," although he did say it did "supply an intriguing plot."


The book was parodied by Adam Roberts with The Va Dinci Cod, and by Toby Clements with The Asti Spumante Code.

A telemovie spin-off of the Australian television series Kath & Kim parodied the film version as Da Kath and Kim Code in late 2005.

The BBC program Dead Ringers parodied the Da Vinci Code, calling it the Da Rolf Harris Code.

Popular South African political cartoonist Zapiro published a book collection of his strips entitled Da Zuma Code which parodies the former deputy president Jacob Zuma.

The book was parodied in the South Park episode "Fantastic Easter Special" and Robert Rankin's novel The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code.

The characters Lucy and Silas are parodied in the film Epic Movie. The movie starts with a scene similar to the opening of the The Da Vinci Code, with Silas chasing the orphan Lucy, a parody of Sophie Neveu, in a museum. Throughout the movie, Silas speaks in Latin. However, the translations for his speech are intentionally false for the sake of parody (e.g. Silas says "Et tu, Brute?" to Aslo, when the film translates it as "I'm Rick James, bitch!").

Szyfr Jana Matejki (Jan Matejko's Cipher) is a Polish parody by Dariusz Rekosz. Sequel Ko(s)miczna futryna: Szyfr Jana Matejki II (Co[s]mic Door-frame: Jan Matejko's Cipher II) was released in 2008. Main character is inspector Józef Świenty who tries to solve The Greatest Secret of Mankind (Największa Tajemnica Ludzkości) - parentage of Piast dynasty.

In 2008 it was parodied in the second series of That Mitchell and Webb Look as "The Numberwang Code", a trailer for a fictional film based on a recurring sketch on the show.

Also in March 2008, the Irish blogger Twenty Major, parodied elements in his first book The Order of the Phoenix Park

Inspiration and influences

The novel is part of the exploration of alternative religious history. Its principal source book is listed as per the court case, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince's The Templar Revelation, as well as the books by Margaret Starbird. An earlier novel had already used the theme of a Jesus bloodline: The Dreamer of the Vine, by Liz Greene, published in 1980 (Richard Leigh's sister and Michael Baigent's girlfriend at that time). The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (which is explicitly named, among several others, at the beginning of chapter 60), was stated by Dan Brown not to be amongst his primary research material for the book.

Having paid acknowledgement to the above books as sources of inspiration, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code contains the overriding salient point in its plot: that the Merovingian kings of France were descendants from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.

In reference to Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent (two of the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail), Brown named the principal Grail expert of his story "Leigh Teabing" (an anagram of "Baigent Leigh"). Brown confirmed this during the court case. In reply to the suggestion that Lincoln was also referenced, as he has medical problems resulting in a severe limp, like the character of Leigh Teabing, Brown stated he was unaware of Lincoln's illness and the correspondence was a coincidence. After losing before the High Courtmarker in July 12, 2006, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh appealed, unsuccessfully, to the Court of Appealmarker.

Following the trial, it was found that the publicity had actually significantly boosted UK sales of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

Release details

The book has been translated into over 40 languages, primarily in hardcover. Alternate formats include audio cassette, CD, and e-book. Most recently, a Trade Paperback edition was released March 2006 in conjunction with the film.

Major English-language (hardcover) editions include:
  • (US) The Da Vinci Code, April 2003 (First edition), Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-50420-9.
  • The Da Vinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition, November 2 2004, Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-51375-5 (as of January 2006, has sold 576,000 copies).
  • (UK) The Da Vinci Code, April 2004, Corgi Adult. ISBN 0-552-14951-9.
  • (UK) The Da Vinci Code: The Illustrated Edition, October 2 2004, Bantam Press. ISBN 0-593-05425-3.
  • (US/Canada) The Da Vinci Code (Trade Paperback edition), March 2006, Anchor Books.
  • On March 28 2006, Anchor Books released 5 million paperback copies of the book, and Broadway Books released 200,000 paperback copies of The Da Vinci Code Special Illustrated Edition.
  • On May 19, the day of the film's release, Doubleday and Broadway Books released The Da Vinci Code Illustrated Screenplay: Behind the Scenes of the Major Motion Picture, by screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, with the introductions by Ron Howard and Dan Brown. It included film stills, behind-the-scenes photos and the full script. There were 25,000 copies of the hardcover, and 200,000 of the paperback version.


Book jacket

Part of the advertising campaign for the novel was that the artwork in the American version of the bookjacket held various codes, and that the reader who solved them via the author's website would be given a prize. Several thousand people actually solved the codes, and one name was randomly chosen to be the winner, with the name announced on live television, Good Morning America, in early 2004. The prize was a trip to Paris.

The five hidden puzzles reveal:
  • That the back of the book jacket conceals latitude and longitude coordinates, written in reverse, light red on dark red. Adding one degree to the latitude gives the coordinates of the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Northern Virginia, which is the location of a mysterious sculpture called Kryptos. The coordinates were taken from part of the decrypted text of part 2 of the sculpture (part 4 has never been solved). When Brown has been asked why the coordinates are one degree off, his reply has been, "The discrepancy is intentional".
  • Bold letters are present on the book jacket. There is a secret message hidden in the text of the book flaps. The message: Is there no help for the widow's son (a reference to Freemasonry).
  • The words "only WW knows" can be seen on the back cover. It is a phrase printed invertedly, in the torn part of the book cover. This too is a reference to part 2 of the Kryptos sculpture.
  • A circle with numbers, between the Doubleday logo and the barcode, reveals a secret message. These are the chapter numbers where the initial letters are arranged in Caesar box format.
  • There is reverse writing on the cover of the book, which is the riddle for the first cryptex.

Brown, both via his website and in person, has stated that the puzzles in the bookjacket give hints about the subject of his next novel, The Lost Symbol. This repeats a theme from his earlier novels. For example, Deception Point had an encrypted message which, when solved, said, "The Da Vinci Code will surface".

In the simplified Chinese version of The Da Vinci Code, the cover has a secret text; however, this text can be easily seen. It reads:"13-3-2-1-1-8-5O, Draconian devil!Oh, Lame Saint!P.S. Find Robert Langdon."This is the multiply encrypted clue written in invisible ink next to the dead body in the museum which kicks off the plot of the entire novel.


All of the puzzles listed below can be found within the page headers in the Mass Market US Paperback edition of The Da Vinci Code.

  • Page 60: "Ankh Fendile" (anagram of "knife handle") in place of "Dan Brown"
  • Page 95: "De Lancs" (anagram of "candles") in place of "Da Vinci"
  • Page 138: "Das Brilli" (anagram of "billiards") in place of "Dan Brown"
  • Page 141: "La Sufrete" (anagram of "true/false") in place of "Da Vinci"
  • Page 155: "sos" in place of page number
  • Page 192: "Reon Tigaldo" (anagram of "Golden Ratio") in place of "Dan Brown"
  • Page 217: "De Ysosy" (anagram of "odyssey") in place of "Da Vinci"
  • Page 262: "Mer Reve" (anagram of "Vermeer") in place of "Dan Brown"
  • Page 322: page number replaced by three asterisks

Also in the body text on page 138, the word "numbers" in the sentence "Tearing it open, she found four Paris phone numbers" is printed in a bold medieval typeface, instead of the typical serif typeface used throughout the rest of the book.


Columbia Pictures adapted the novel to film, with a screenplay written by Akiva Goldsman, and Academy Award winner Ron Howard directing. The film was released on May 19 2006, and stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, and Sir Ian McKellen as Leigh Teabing. The film had an opening weekend gross of $77,073,388 and grossed $217,536,138 in 2006, making it the fifth highest grossing movie of 2006. The film did very well overseas, grossing over $758,239,852 worldwide. On November 14, 2006 the movie was released on DVD.

See also


  2. New Yorker review
  3. Miller, Laura (December 29, 2004). "The Da Vinci crock". Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  4. BBC News, August 6, 2005. Author Brown 'did not plagiarise'
  5. BBC News, April 21, 2006. Delays to latest Dan Brown novel
  7. Hughes, Philip. The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, 325–1870. 1964
  8. [1]
  9. Originally mentioned on episode of QI.
  10. Interview with Douglas Adams Continuum
  11. Stephen King address, University of Maine
  12. New York Times review
  13. Language Log, The Dan Brown code (also follow other links at the bottom of that page)
  14. Roger Ebert's review
  16. "Authors who lost 'Da Vinci Code' copying case to mount legal appeal" , Associated Press, July 12, 2006
  17. [2]
  18. World editions of The Da Vinci Code, Official site of Dan Brown
  19. Harry Potter still magic for book sales, CBC Arts, 9 January 2006.

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