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Priest Helps Crack the Code

Theology professor Father Richard McBrien is helping Ron Howard crack the code of next year's biggest movie.

"I think what bothered most critics was the fact that the question [of Jesus being married] was even being raised and that I was open to discussing it," he said in his Dec. 1 column.

Wonder if this appointing of Father McBrien points to a 'softening' of the script on the subject of Jesus being married and having children? Would be a difficult thing to play down, considering that much of the controversial publicity for the book is on that very subject.

The Sauniere Society

The Scotsman has an article about the recent 'Sauniere Society Symposium', a gathering of researchers who are (mostly) dedicated to investigating the Rennes le Chateau mystery and the Priory of Sion, the alleged secret society used by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code. The Sauniere in question, as many now know, was the priest of the enigmatic church at Rennes le Chateau who is said to have stumbled upon some great secret - some say the secret that Jesus married and had children. Dan Brown subsequently named the art curator of the Louvre in TDVC after this priest (although funnily enough, he didn't talk about the RlC mystery).

Essays on 'The Solomon Key'

I've added two essays to the site on the topic of The Solomon Key, which were originally published over the past few months in magazines and websites. "Dan Brown and the Ku Klux Klan" looks at some strange connections between Washington, D.C., Freemasonry and the Ku Klux Klan, and throws up some wildcard ideas which might turn up in Dan Brown's next book. "Dan Brown - The Udjat and The Solomon Key" is probably a lot closer to the subject matter in DB's upcoming novel, as it finds some very strong connections between the Da Vinci Code web challenge, and the likely resources Dan Brown will be using for his research.

Don't forget also, that we have an entire chapter from The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key available online: "Strange Constructions" (see the bottom of that page for viewing options) peruses the location of The Solomon Key (Washington, D.C.) for esoteric and Masonic locations which will probably become the landscape for the plot (as Rome and Paris do in earlier novels). Even better, just buy the book already (details over to the right of this page)!

Something About Mary

Minnesota Women's Press is featuring a short interview with Elaine Pagels, author and Dan Brown-inspirer regarding the 'secret history' of Mary Magdalene (via her books such as The Gnostic Gospels). In the interview, Pagels confides that she doesn't have too much of a problem with Dan Brown riffing on her themes (unlike Baigent and Leigh):

I think that’s one of the ways that scholarly work begins to be known. He’s raising important questions about history, like if we didn’t know Mary Magdalene wasn’t a prostitute, what else don’t we know?

She does point out though, that Brown's portrayal is the flipside to the Catholic view - neither portray her as a leader, instead "they give her exclusively sexual roles".

Da Vinci Code is Fiction?

The UK's Herald has a story titled "Why the Da Vinci Code is just pure and utter fiction", which is actually about a new book by Mark Oxbrow and Ian Robertson, titled Rosslyn and the Grail. This new book is said to be a definitive history of the Chapel, and set to clear up many of the misconceptions about the mysterious 'Christian' edifice. The writer uses the book to bash Dan Brown and TDVC about the head a bit though, which was probably unnecessary. The book sounds worth a look though (we're featuring an essay on Rosslyn by one of the authors, Mark Oxbrow, in the soon-to-be-released Issue 3 of our online PDF magazine Sub Rosa).

The Guide in Australia

I had the pleasant surprise this morning of browsing the shelves of an Angus and Robertson store in my hometown of Brisbane in Australia, and finding six copies of my book The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key (actually my wife saw them, I was looking at another book about 6 inches away and didn't notice them!). I hadn't realised that we had distribution in Australia - I asked at the counter and apparently Banyan Tree Books are distributing to bookstores here. So, if you're an Aussie and looking for a copy - there could well be one in your local bookstore!

Opus Dei Makes Lemonade

The UK's Globe and Mail has an interesting story regarding Opus Dei's concern about how they would be portrayed in the upcoming movie version of The Da Vinci Code:

The New York hierarchy got only as far as an exchange of correspondence with Amy Pascal, chair of Sony's motion picture group (Ms. Pascal insisted Sony simply intended to put out a popcorn-popper movie that offended no one). But Father Dolan got further.

He took a trip to Hollywood and met two people whose names he'd been given by Mr. Levine, and one of them told him, "If someone gives you a lemon, make lemonade of it." And that piece of advice, said Father Dolan, altered his view of the situation.

He now saw the book and the coming film as a wonderful opportunity to talk to people about Opus Dei and explain what it really is about, and let them meet a real human being who belongs to the organization.

Wonder whether we'll be hearing the same sentiments after the movie is released?

Da Vinci on Xbox

Gamespy is reporting that 2K Games has signed an exclusive worldwide deal with Sony Pictures to publish and distribute video games based on Sony's upcoming big screen adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. The games are currently in production at the development studio, The Collective. Both the movie and the game are expected to be released in May 2006.

Dan Brown Bio

Another Dan Brown related book is out, with the release of an unauthorised biography titled The Man Behind The Da Vinci Code, by Lisa Rogak. The official website has more details about the biography, including excerpts from the book. Worth checking the page for alone are the samples of Dan Brown singing, from his musician days (not really to my taste!). You can buy the book from US and UK.

Holy Litigation

TheBookseller.com has an article analysing the merits of the legal battle brewing between Dan Brown/Random House, and (two of) the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh). It's well worth the read, finishing with these comments:

Some 90% of cases like this settle before they go to full trial, but if Leigh and Baigent do succeed, the implications for Random House are grave. The claimants plan to press for an injunction stopping sales of Da Vinci and the UK release of the Sony/Columbia Pictures film scheduled for May 2006...The case would then go to a separate hearing to assess the level of damages, where Leigh and Baigant would seek "proper recognition" for their work, both in terms of acknowledgement and financial redress - most likely a notional royalty which could cost Random House millions.

Will be interesting to see how this one turns out - if Baigent and Leigh are successful, that will be almost front page news (stopping one of the biggest movies of the year).

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