If you’ve not read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you’re in a shrinking group. More than 7 million hardback copies of the novel are in print, and it has by the publisher’s count been translated into more than 40 languages. It has remained at or near the top of most bestseller lists since its appearance a year ago. The second in a planned trilogy, the novel builds on the characters introduced in Angels and Demons.
The plot involves a quest for the holy grail that begins with a bizarre murder in the Louvre, races through the streets of Paris and the surrounding countryside, and eventually moves to the streets and churches of England. It involves the work of two sleuths: Robert Langdon, a Harvard academic who holds a chair of symbology (the author’s neologism), and Sophie Neveu, a beautiful French cryptologist whose encrypted name means “venue of wisdom.” Brown fills the book with such riddles.