A lot of people have written a lot of things about this book and some have even wondered how it got published in the first place. Worry not my friends. Because before ascending to his supreme ascension, my very good friend cum greatest golfer, writer, scientist, trend setter, the ruler of the world, Kim Jong Il blessed me through his telepathic powers and as a result I can now look into the future as well as the past. So this gives us the great opportunity to see what really happened when Dan Brown went to see his publisher prior to the publication of “The Da Vinci Code”.
Dan Brown: (entering his publisher’s office) Hi Bill, did you read my final draft?
Publisher (Bill): O hi Dan, come in, come in. I am sorry I was very busy so I might have read a few pages here and there of your latest sci-fi work.
Dan Brown: Science fiction? I write thrillers, Bill.
Publisher: Oh. But.. But wasn’t your last book a sci-fi? I remember there was something called anti-matter in it.
Dan Brown: What’s the matter with you, Bill? Have you taken your meds today?
Publisher: You know I am more punctual than you in taking my meds.
Dan Brown: Ah, nevermind. So, what do you think?
Publisher: Okay, this is what we will do. I will try and remember whatever I read and you fill in whenever I miss something, eh? And let me call my secretary Maggie to take notes. (calls her).
Maggie: (sitting) Sir, should I take this down in short hand or long hand?
Publisher: You are new here, Maggie. So I will say this only one time. I am not interested if you write with your short right hand or long left hand or vice versa or whatever the hell that means!
Publisher: So Dan, in your opening chapter, this poor albino gets shot by this curator fellow named Saunière, right?
Brown: No it’s the other way round. Albino sharpshooter kills the curator of the Louvre in the museum at night.
Maggie: (interrupting) Sir, I think that unfortunately albinos are legally blind or have poor eyesight.
Brown: Albinos like Chihuahuas same as Reese Witherspoon’s character? I didn’t know that! Hey, I can rewrite the character as, “an albino sharpshooter who carries an albino Chihuahua with him wherever he goes”.
Maggie: (interrupting) Not “Legally Blonde”, sir. Blind, legally blind.
Publisher: And this fellow of yours is a sharpshooter?
Maggie: What about the other curators?
Publisher: What other curators?
Maggie: I mean there are up to 60 curators for 8 departments in Louvre. And the museum is guarded 24/7 by guards with the aid of security cameras. The cameras are equipped with proximity and movement detection.
Brown: (interrupting) You mean like curator
(uneasy silence descends.)
Publisher: Maggie, why don’t you get us some coffee? (to Brown) Oh! Uh, let’s continue. So, this albino kills the curator and then gets mowed down by the museum guards, right?
Brown: Did you even read anything from my draft?
Publisher: Hey I am on meds, Dan. Give me some slack. You of all people should know how it is. Anyways, after he gets mowed down, what happens?
Brown: He doesn’t get “mowed down”. He just leaves.
Brown: He leaves the museum after killing the curator.
Publisher: Just like that? And nobody stops him? Do you even know the current value of artwork of Louvre? You don’t. You can’t. It’s priceless! And you are telling me that this albino sharpshooter enters Louvre with a gun and shoots “one” curator and just walks off?
Brown: Yup, and then the curator sets clues to pass on the ultimate secret to her grand daughter in invisible ink all over the museum.
Publisher: Your albino sharpshooter is one of the dumbest characters that I have ever heard of. A gut shot is one of the slowest ways to kill someone. Don’t you know that? And your killer just walks off without finishing him off?! Ahhh.. okay. Let’s just have a time out.
(Pops some suspicious looking pill from a bottle into his mouth. Dan appraises the bottle knowingly.)
(Maggie enters carrying a tray with two mugs full of coffee.)
Publisher: So, then the cryptanalysts get to work on the clues the curator wrote before dying, right?
Brown: No actually this is where our protagonist Robert Langdon, who happens to be a Harvard symbologist, comes in. He along with Sophie, the grand daughter, tries to break the code. And oh, she is also a cryptographer.
Publisher: How convenient.
Maggie: (interrupting) I love code-breaking. And the technology has advanced so much since the Second World War. I am sure sir that you know that even in the 1940’s, Alan Turing designed machines nicknamed “bombes” to break the Enigma codes. So I am really excited to read about the technology your cryptanalysts would use to perform cryptanalysis algorithms.
Brown: (studying the carpet) My codes are not that complex. They are just words and letters rearranged.
Publisher: What?! So here we have the “greatest secret ever” written in “code” and all it would take would be a trainee cryptanalyst with an appropriate program to decode it in no time? Dan, you yourself wrote about a code breaking machine “Trnsltr” in one of your previous books. Don’t you remember?
Brown: But that book was set in the USA!
Publisher: And where do you think is Louvre? Papua New Guinea?
Brown: Hey I know now that it is in Paris, alright? I did my research.
Publisher: You mean you “Googled” it. That makes me wonder, tell me Dan, which was the last book you read?
Brown: Focker’s Pendulum.
Publisher: What?! You call yourself a writer? You disgust me, Dan! “Focker’s” Pendulum! “Focker” is a movie franchise starring Ben Stiller. It’s “Flaubert’s Pendulum” written by the talented Spanish author, Roberto Taco.
Maggie: Umm.. You mean “Foucault’s Pendulum”, written by Umberto Eco, sir.
Publisher: (unmoved) Maybe they called it that originally in Spanish.
Maggie: Umberto Eco is Italian, sir.
Publisher: (glaring) Maybe I am talking about the Spanish translation. Dan are you sure you don't want another cup of coffee?
Brown: No, thanks. Have you read it too, Bill?
Publisher: Nah, I just read some spoiler filled reviews on the internet.
(Maggie squints at Dan. Dan suddenly finds his shoes very attractive and stares at them for a very long time.)
Publisher: So, this French Captain Bezu Fache arrests Langdon because the curator wrote his name on the floor before dying, right?
Brown: No, he photographs his name as evidence and then wipes it off and then brings Langdon to Louvre so that he might confess his crime.
Publisher: (incredulous) Your investigator himself tampers with the evidence? And brings the suspect to the crime scene? Why not just arrest him and interrogate?
Brown: How would I know the internal workings of the French police?
Publisher: (sighs) Okay, then?
Brown: They let him go to the restroom and he escapes with Sophie.
Brown: You see, the rest room is at the end of the museum with no exit. They let him go to the restroom without an armed escort. And they already had Langdon bugged with GPS tracking dot transmitting in HD Graphics. So, Langdon removes his GPS dot and Sophie inserts it in a bar of soap and hurls it out the window in to a moving truck. So, police thinks he jumped from the window and escaped.
Maggie: They only use liquid soap in Louvre.
Publisher: (ignoring Maggie) Okay, he overcomes the rest of guards and then makes a run for it. Then what?
Brown: There are no guards left, remember? They are all chasing the huge truck containing the GPS dot.
Publisher: So you are telling me that Louvre is deserted, again? Even after a murder?
Brown: Hey they still have to break the code the curator wrote, remember? So I have no choice other than emptying the museum for them.
Publisher: (suddenly looks very tired) What happens next?
Brown: They find a key which leads them to a Swiss Bank account which leads them to a box which will eventually lead them to the McGuffin in the box.
Maggie: (Zzz…. Zzzz….. Zzzz… Zz..)
Maggie: (ZZZ… ZZZ… ZZZ… ZZZ.. ZZZ..)
Brown: (continuing) He then decodes the message which points toward the Holy Grail. So they go to a character named Sir Leigh Teabing who is considered an expert on the subject.
Maggie: He is your main antagonist, right?
Brown: (surprised) How did you guess?
Maggie: Come on, he is the only other major character you have introduced since Sophie.
Publisher: Okay okay. Then what happens?
Brown: This is the time of big reveal, you see. Teabing tells them the truth about the Holy Grail. Holy Grail actually refers to the womb of a woman. To be precise, the womb whose identity would shake the foundations of Christianity to its core!
Maggie: (Excited) Oh, tell me! Tell me!
Brown: (smug faced) Jesus had kids. With Mary Magdalene. And their descendants are still among us.
Maggie: (still excited) And?
Brown: That’s it.
Maggie: That’s it?
Publisher: That’s it?
Maggie: Umm.. sir, how are you going to prove that in your book? I mean let us just assume for a minute that all you wrote in your book is true. So, how are you going to prove that Mary Magdalene carried Jesus Christ’s child? And his direct descendants are still among us?
Brown: There are documents.
Maggie: Where? What’s written in them? And without Jesus’s DNA, how are you going to prove that his descendants are still among us? Even if someone had, let’s say, Jesus Christ’s hair or something, how does one prove that that particular hair belongs to him and him only?
Brown: I hate you.
Publisher: Maggie, your point is well taken but you see, here we are concentrating on an adrenaline charged thriller, so overlooking smaller details won’t make any difference.
Brown: But she is right Bill. How do we publicize the novel?
Publisher: I happen to have the perfect idea for that Dan. Remember “Satanic Verses”?
Brown:(smiles fondly) Yeah! I slept for 2 days straight!
Publisher: I will circulate some selected promotional material to some religious zealots and then we would let them publicize our book for us.
Maggie: But they would see straight through your bullshit once they read the book.
Publisher: (smiling) That’s the point Maggie. Zealots of any religion never need to read a book in order to oppose it.
I must confess here one thing I did like the mystery aspect of the book. The writing? Not so much. But hey, at least it beats reading Meyer and E.L. James any day.