Who wrote this book and when?
Dan Brown published this in 2003.

Has there been a film version?
Yes, starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, and Sir Ian McKellan.

Who are the main characters?
Dr. Robert Langdon – a prominent American symbologist who finds himself caught up in a race against powerful enemies in the search for the Holy Grail
Sophie Neveu – a cryptologist whose grandfather has just been brutally murdered, she is instructed by her grandfather to work with Langdon
Sir Leigh Teabing – a Grail expert
Bezu Fache – the French policeman assigned to the murders, he is pursuing Neveu and Langdon
Silas – an albino monk in the order of Opus Dei, he’s also racing for the Grail

What’s it about?
When the curator of the Louvre is hideously murdered and even more grotesquely displayed, Robert Langdon is shocked to find the curator left him a message in his own blood at the murder scene. Now, Langdon is the prime suspect in this murder and four others. The lovely Sophie Neveu, who is also the curator’s granddaughter, arrives on the scene and immediately begins to see codes her grandfather has left both her and Langdon. Sophie realizes the danger she and Langdon are in and together they must race to find the keystone – a key which will lead to a map to the Holy Grail. And they are being pursued by not only the French police, but by an albino agent of the religious sect Opus Dei named Silas, and a mysterious figure known as “The Teacher.” All of them are looking for the Grail and all for different reasons.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It was a bestseller a few years ago because of the whole Catholic Church conspiracy theory aspect and because the Christian community got all in uproar about its heretical ideas.

Do I recommend you read this book?
It’s very good although it suggests some non-traditional ideas about Christ and Mary Magdalene.

How did this book make my list?
It’s a best seller and on the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century list.

Has it won any awards?
Er…I don’t think so.

Favorite quotes:
“Symbologists often remarked that France – a country renowned for machismo, womanizing, and diminutive insecure leaders like Napolean and Pepin the Short – could not have chosen a more apt national emblem than a thousand-foot phallus.” – p 17

Anything else?
The Priory of Scion is actually a hoax invented in the 1950’s. Sorry, Mr. Brown.

Personal thoughts:
I went into reading this book with trepidation. I have no qualms about reading books that are controversial – that’s not one of my weak spots. However, I have heard SO much bad hype about this from Christians and non-Christians alike that I had no idea just how heretical this book was going to be. And I ended up rather enjoying the story. I don’t think that it’s any more heretical than lots of other books that came before it and I’m not quite sure why it was picked as the figurehead for the war against everything non-Catholic. The plot itself was frantic and fast paced – interesting and humorous at times. I enjoyed the characters, especially Sophie, and I think I was adequately creeped out by Silas the albino assassin.

I did have two complaints, however. First – that Brown never had any chapters allowing your mind to rest. Books where the action never stops will tire out my brain in no time flat. There’s always the underlying stress of something coming to get the main characters and it isn’t appreciated on my part. He could have spared five pages out of the 489 to let myself and the characters have a break. Second, I figured out who the Teacher was about half way through the book. And I don’t particularly enjoy it when an author makes it that blindingly obvious who the big bad is.