Friday, June 2, 2006

The DaVinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition, by Dan Brown

By Christina VanGinkel

Everyone it seems is talking about the book, The DaVinci Code, by author Dan Brown these days. I had read the book a couple of years ago when it was first released, after reading the first book detailing the exploits of the book's main character, Robert Langdon, in Angels & Demons, several years before that. I have since read and listened to a lot of hype from both Catholics and others offended by some of the mentioned references to past and present church going ons. However, then and now, my main thing that I liked about the book was how it had the sense to draw the reader into the story, with details of famous paintings, sculptures, and architecture around the globe.

The story line itself tells the tale of Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor who teaches on such subjects as religious symbology. When he is awakened by the concierge at his hotel at 2am in the morning, with a request that someone wants to meet with him, he is not at alarmed at first. That is until he realizes the police are who want to talk to him, and the curator of the Louvre, whom he was to meet with earlier in the evening, but had not shown up, is now dead, apparently the victim of a murder. The victim had time before he died though, to leave behind some very cryptic clues that soon have Mr. Langdon on the run, along with the curator's granddaughter, trying to solve both the crime at hand, another one centuries old, and at the same time, prove his own innocence.

Upon my first reading of The DaVinci Code, I can recall pulling out other books that I had on my bookshelf, or turning to my computer's search engine, to look up some of the very paintings and other artifacts that were being discussed and referenced in the pages of the story. I also remember thinking that it sure would be nice if the publishers had included a few pictures of the very detailed subjects that the author delved into, right in the pages of the book itself. Lo and behold, I am now the owner of a copy of The DaVinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition.

This illustrated version has photographs of everything from a chalice belt, a medieval form of self torture to remind the wearer to keep their thoughts pure at all times, to pictures of the Louvre museum inside and out, including the stunning pyramid that was added in the not too distant past. Most helpful to the reader though, are many of the famous paintings and statues that are referenced in the pages of the book. There are snapshots of buildings, line drawings, and more, all lending a layer to the story that was lacking in the version that is not illustrated.

The DaVinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition, is available in both hardcover and soft cover. I opted for the soft cover, paperback version, but for those of you who would prefer a hardcover edition, they would make a fine addition to your personal library, especially if this is a book that like me, you plan to keep. I chose the paperback version simply due to the few dollars that I would save over the cost of the comparable hardcover edition. When one buys as many books a year as I do, and are on as strict a budget as I am, the dollar savings of a soft cover edition over a hardcover can really add up. The best part of this particular book is also that there is not a big enough difference between the two to make it worth paying the extra, beyond personal preference. The paperback edition is made with a sturdy cover with a flap that can be used to mark your page as you read even. It will hold up to repeated readings well, and I imagine that this book will be on my shelf for many years to come.

If you have read The DaVinci Code, and plan to read it again, or have yet to read it for the first time, I would highly recommend that you buy The DaVinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition, as it has a lot to offer the reader visually.

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