Writing The Da Vinci Code
158. My editor Jason Kaufman, has helped me piece together the dates of various events, from the point that I started writing in earnest, through to my move to Doubleday and the launch of The Da Vinci Code. He prepared for me a timeline, and the dates below are taken from that timeline.
159. In January 2001, I had submitted the Deception Point manuscript to Jason and was in Florida visiting my parents. I remember I was swimming in my parents’ pool when Jason called. He told me that Pocket Books loved my Deception Point manuscript and wanted to sign me up for two more books. Jason told me he would call my literary agent and make the offer. I remember asking Jason not to call my agent quite yet. I had been thinking about my agenting situation for some time now, and I had a decision to make. My original literary agent George Wieser had passed away shortly after Digital Fortress had been published. By this point in my career, I had learned enough about publishing to know that if I were ever going to be a successful novelist, I would need team who could orchestrate a large-scale release of my novels.
160. I had been t inking of getting a new agent for some time now, and I had begun to make some inquiries. One agent’s name – Heide Lange – had come up several times through various sources. Only a day or so after I had spoken to Jason, I remember reading online that Heide Lange recently had signed a new thriller writ Brad Thor to a million dollar publishing deal with Pocket Books. I was stunned. I wondered if Heide could get the same kind of money for my new thriller idea. As I researched Heide more carefully, I became very hopeful. On her website I noticed that she had agented several non-fiction books about art (including the classic bestseller “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain”) as well as books on feminism, (including the famous international bestseller The G Spot, as well as The Feminist Memoir Project.) I recall becoming excited about Heide as a prospect. My new novel –The Da Vinci Code — was all about art and the sacred feminine. Who better to sell it than a woman who had already sold books on these same themes? Then I realized Heide’s last name — LANGE — was an anagram of ANGEL. I am not superstitious, but I recall thinking this was a very good omen.
161. I got Heide’s number off the Internet and phoned her office. I remember leaving her a voice mail that I hoped would persuade her to call me back. Rather than telling her I wanted her to be my agent, I shared with her that Jason Kaufman at Pocket Books wanted to offer me a multiple book publishing deal, and that I needed someone to negotiate the contract. I figured that even a busy agent would jump at the chance to make 15% on a book deal without having to shop the manuscript. Sure enough, Heide called back within a few hours. I was impressed right from the start. In that short time span, Heide had already researched me online and sent her assistant out to buy one of my novels — Digital Fortress. In fact, Heide had already read a few chapters when she called. I was captivated by Heide’s enthusiasm, energy, and motivation. I immediately told Heide not to read Digital Fortress but rather to read Angels & Demons. I told her that the character and settings in Angels & Demons was “what I was all about”– in particular the art and religious overtones. So Heide bought Angels & Demons, read it and loved it (as did her husband, John Chaffee). She signed me as a client immediately, and I had a good feeling that my career was at last going to turn the corner.
162. Heide and I were negotiating with Pocket, a division of Simon & Schuster that had an option on my next novel. As a part of that process, she suggested that I prepare several proposals to put forward in the hope of getting a multiple book deal. In early January 200l, I prepared short proposals for the novel ideas.
163. Heide asked me to expand upon the short outline I had drafted for The Da Vinci Code before submitting it to Pocket, in the hope that with a longer proposal I could get a better deal. I remember being very eager to impress Heide as much as she had impressed me, and so I plunged into writing this new synopsis with lots of energy. Unfortunately, because I was visiting my parents, I had no office space, and the only private place in their house was a tiny laundry room. I remember writing the expanded outline for The Da Vinci Code inside this tiny laundry room, sitting on a lawn-chair that had been set up at a makeshift desk made out of an ironing board. It was in this laundry room that I wrote an extensive 56 page outline, or Synopsis, fot The Da Vinci Code (D.4). I remember trying hard to make the Synopsis exciting and cinematic. I had already written a similar synopsis of Angels & Demons in hopes of selling the novel to Hollywood, but that had never happened. When I finished The Da Vinci Code Synopsis, I sent it to Heide later in January 2001. This was considerably before the Da Vinci Code was actually written.
164. My Synopsis of the entire novel includes an initial bibliography for The Da Vinci Code. The initial, or ‘partial’, bibliography lists the books I used to lay out the rough story line. In this bibliography, Holy Blood, Holy Grail does not appear. That is because when I wrote the Synopsis I did not own a copy of Holy Blood, Holy Grail nor had I, or Blythe, read it. The partial bibliography is limited to 7 books:
(1) The Templar Revelation – Picknett & Prince (D.53)
(2) The Goddess in the Gospels – Starbird (D.58)
(3) The Woman with the Alabaster Jar – Starbird (D.59)
(4) The History of the Knights Templars – Addison (D.23)
(5) The Hiram Key – Knight & Lomas (D.44)
(6) The Knights Templar – Partner
(7) Born in Blood – Robinson (D.55)
165. I have my copies of all of these books, save for The Knights Templar, by Peter Partner which I can’t find. We have moved house three times since The Da Vinci Code research began — and perhaps that book was lost during one of the moves. It is possible we loaned it out or misplaced it travelling. Also, it is possible that the Partner book was damaged and disposed of at the time of the flood.
166. The bibliography is “partial” in the sense that much of the research for the novel came from conversations, research trips, online sources and essentially sources that are hard to cite. I prepared a similar “partial” bibliography for Angels & Demons. This is not an unusual practice in circumstances where it is impossible to be absolutely specific about sources used; as is particularly the case where the internet is concerned and quoted authors are often not referenced.
167. The absence of Holy Blood, Holy Grail in my Synopsis’ “partial” bibliography is in line with my clear recollection of referring to it only at a later time – it was not a crucial or important text in the creation of the framework of The Da Vinci Code.
168. Despite being certain that Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25), was not consulted until long after this outline was written and submitted, I have carefully gone through every point of this outline to ensure that there is nothing in here which suggests that, contrary to my recollection, I had seen Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Certainly no information or themes present in the outline are to be found only in Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
169. In the Synopsis, the murder in the opening scene features a ritualistic Masonic murder, based on that of Grand Master Hiram Abif. This points to The Hiram Key (D.44), which features Abif in its opening chapters. Also, the presence of elements such as the ‘shroud”, Sophia and Atbash in my Synopsis points very persuasively to Templar Revelation (which pays much attention to such topics) being an important source. By contrast, I have been told during the course of this litigation that Holy Blood, Holy Grail, barely mentions the shroud or Hiram Abif, and does not mention Atbash and Sophia. These sort of points illustrate to me that I was using The Hiram Key (D.44) and The Templar Revelation (D.53) as sources at the time (as well as the others in my partial bibliography) and indicate to me that I am correct in my recollection that I did not look at Holy Blood, Holy Grail until much later.
170. In February 2001, my editor, Jason Kaufman, moved to Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. He has told me that he showed my 56 page Synopsis to his boss, Bill Thomas, who loved it. Heide and I, however, were still negotiating with Pocket, who had an option on my next novel. Once the option period was complete, Doubleday made me an offer, slightly lower than that of Pocket, but I decide to accept it. The reasons for this were twofold: firstly, I wanted to continue working with Jason, in whom I have great faith; secondly, I had been so disappointed by Pocket’s promotion of Angels & Demons and Deception Point, I felt I would have better luck starting afresh with a new publisher. I moved to Doubleday in mid-May 2001.
171. Between May 2001 and March 2002, I launched myself completely into the writing of The Da Vinci Code. During this period, Jason was not shown anything and I had very little contact with him or Heide. On March, 15, 2002, I sent Jason a draft of the first. 190 pages of The Da Vinci Code, so that he could distribute it in advance of Doubleday’s in-house pre-launch meeting for books published in Spring 2003. Jason then edited the draft and, after talking to me, distributed it on March 21, 2002.
172. A notable difference between the Synopsis and the final draft I submitted was the murder in the opening scene. In the final version of The Da Vinci Code I used the Vitruvian Man as a model for the opening murder scene (placing a dead character on the Louvre floor in the same body position as Leonardo da Vinci’s the Vitruvian Man.) This idea was in my mind very early as the Vitruvian man has always been a favourite of mine; I even have personal stationery featuring it.The Synopsis, as I have said, features a ritualistic Masonic murder, based on that of Grand Master Hiram Abif, featured at the beginning of The Hiram Key (D.44). The murder is still set in the Louvre, but I was having problems making this work, and I thought the Vitruvian man would be a far better murder victim.
173. Some of the action scenes are also different. For example, in the Synopsis I have Langdon and Sophie escape the assassin by jumping onto one of the Bateaux Mouches, on the Seine. It is here that Langdon reveals to Sophie the bloodline theory.
174. Another difference if that the peripheral characters are not as developed in the Synopsis; many are un-named or have different names. The Albino monk Silas, is a “massive Spaniard assassin” called Oedipus (an anagram of Opus Dei), Fache is the Capitaine of French Securite. In the final version the character of the Consul General does not exist, instead I included the Teabing character for reasons explained below. Aringarossa (spelt Arangirossa in the Synopsis – perhaps a typo) also plays a different role that is omitted from the final version of the novel.
Chapters 37, 55, and 58
175. By the time we obtained a copy of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (0.25), I had already written the Synopsis and the opening of the novel and had in place the themes of the sacred feminine, the bloodline, and secret history.
176. One of my favourite ways in which to share information with a reader is to have Langdon give an “academic lecture” on the topic. Writing one of his academic lectures is always a lot of fun but requires a firm grasp of specifics. Invariably, when I am preparing to write one of these academic lectures, I ask Blythe to collect and compile as much information as possible on the lecture topic. The Da Vinci Code includes lots of lectures – some long, some short -on topics such as Opus Dei (page 50 and see D.96, D.97, D.178 D.383, D.385 and D.387), the Mona Lisa (chapter 26, and see D.188, D.192 and D.338), goddess worship and suppression of the feminine (chapters 28 and 56, and D.174 and D.186), symbology (chapter 56), PHI (page 131), Fibonacci (page 92 and see D.180, D.183 and D.37), hidden meanings in paintings and other art (chapters 58 and 61, and D.189 and D.191), and Rosslyn (chapter 104, and 0.181 andD.349)
177. There are three “academic lecture” chapters of The Da Vinci Code which contain information that is also in Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25). Those are chapter 37, which deals with the Templars, the Priory and the Grail, chapter 55, which deals with Christianity, Constantine and the Bible, and chapters 58, which deals with lost history, Jesus’ marriage and the Grail as bloodline.
178. In each case, we turned to a number of books we now owned on the topics, including The Hiram Key (D.44), The Templar Revelation (D. 53), the Margaret Starbird books (D.58 & D,59), Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25), which –as I have explained above –was suggested reading in The Templar Revelation, and many others and which, by now, we had bought.
Chapter 55 -the origins of Christianity, Constantine, and the Bible lecture
179. Chapter 55 features Langdon revealing to Sophie his ideas about the origins of Christianity, Constantine and the Bible. These ideas also appeared in the Synopsis, and I re-wrote them for the final version of The Da Vinci Code. I was already familiar with much of this information, particularly that about Constantine, the Council of Nicea, and the surrounding politics. In general terms I have been aware of Constantine’s role in the origin of the Bible as we know it for many years. In addition, I researched the topic while preparing the content of Angels & Demons. But I read a lot more about the topic while writing The Da Vinci Code.
180. On reviewing my research materials, it is clear to me that in the context of researching this particular “lecture”, I also looked at The Hiram Key (D.44), The Templar Revelation (D.53), Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25), The Gnostic Gospels (D.51), and he Woman with the Alabaster Jar (D.59).
181. In the preparation of his statement, I have been shown a document entitled “Constantine”. This as produced for me by Blythe (D.177 and D.322). It is obvious to me that the Constantine document is not in her words, but has been taken from other sources. It is not unusual for her to do this when we are working together. I will tell her the outline of a section of a book I have written and then ask her to go away and make a note of more specific information about the topic which I can use to elaborate my text. At this stage both of us will have read a good deal about the topic, but she is better than me at producing a good summary of the material which we have looked at. If she finds a particular source which has many of the relevant facts collected together, she will make her note from that source. Sometimes she combines a number of sources in her notes to me. Sometimes she adds notes to me to look at other sources as well. There is no fixed pattern.
182. Returning to the “Constantine” document, I can tell from the style that it was not written by Blythe. Again, it was not at all uncommon for Blythe to send me text that was not her own (often she would transcribe paragraphs verbatim from sources in an effort to provide me the exact data I had requested). It has been pointed out to me that much of this particular Constantine document came from Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I would have known at the time that this was a summary of research she had prepared for me.
183. I would usually take a document like this, read it, consider it, and blend it in my mind with all the other material that I had read on the topic, I would cross reference or look again at other notes or other source material and then write a draft of my section of the book. There would usually be several drafts before a section was finished and for each draft I might refer again to notes or other source materials.
184. Throughout this exercise, I would sometimes mark up copies of Blythe’s notes to me, and if I did I would often clear my desk of them when I had finished with them. Because many of the notes Blythe was preparing covered topics about which I was (at first) quite sceptical, I usually looked at Blythe’s notes in conjunction with other sources. I was uncomfortable including specific information in the novel unless I could corroborate it in at least a couple of sources. I do not recall precisely how I used the Constantine document, but it is almost certain that I used it in conjunction with other materials.
185. The Constantine document looks to me like a good summary of what I had been reading about Constantine at the time, and the shift from paganism to Christianity.
Chapter 37 -Templars -Priory -Sangreal, and Chapter 58 – lost history, Jesus’ marriage and the Grail as bloodline lecture
186. As I have said, Chapter 37 includes material on the Templars, their history, their connection with the Priory, and the word ‘sangreal’. Chapter 58 features Langdon and Teabing revealing to Sophie the bloodline theory, as well as some of the imagery in Da Vinci’s paintings. Again, these ideas also appeared in the Synopsis, and I re-wrote them for the final version of The Da Vinci Code.
187. I prepared the lecture parts of these chapters in the same general way as I prepared the lecture in chapter 55. A document that I would very likely have looked at while writing such chapters is that entitled “Langdon reveals to Sophie” (D.185 and D.336). Again it was prepared for me by Blythe – she had gotten the material from the sources we were looking at. The first part of the document deals with the history of the Knights Templar and it goes on to give an explanation for what they were looking for under the Temple of Solomon. A lot of this information (including some of the text), I believe, had come from The Hiram Key (D.44), as did some of my research on the Templars. The document then goes on to look at the Priory of Sion, San Graal, and marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene; I understand that this information (and some text) appears to have come from Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25).
188. This document is an example of one in which Blythe adds a number of notes of her own to tell me to keep in mind points in addition to those which she has set out. The document says “keep in mind these important references” and then there is a list of several points or themes and a corresponding source and page number. Holy Blood, Holy Grail is referenced as well as The Templar Revelation (D.53), Born in Blood (D.55) and The Hiram Key (D.44). For points on the Council of Nicea, Blythe has referenced both Holy Blood, Holy Grail and Templar Revelation. I found Holy Blood, Holy Grail extremely detailed and hard to read, and so I usually went to other books, especially Templar Revelation and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, to remind myself what they had to say about the subject (by this stage I had already read these books at least once – I still have not read all of Holy Blood, Holy Grail).
189. There is also a note to the effect that the Priory List of Grand Masters can be found on page 131 of Holy Blood, Holy Grai1. At this stage, I had already seen the list many times (for example, Les Dossiers Secrets are available online and I frequently used the internet as a second or third source) and Blythe would have been telling me a convenient way to access it. I do not recall now whether or not I got the list which is primed in The Da Vinci Code from that in Holy Blood, Holy Grail or somewhere else.
190. A further note to me in the document says: “Throughout my readings of all my books, this smell or perfume for some reason keeps: coming up in relation to Mary Magdalene. I have seen this many times.” Here she is reminding me that during her research she has seen lots of references to a perfume coming up in connection with the Mary Magdalene. However, I did not work this into my book.
191. The “Constantine” (D.177 and D.322) and “Langdon Reveals to Sophie” (D;185 and D.336) documents are just two of the more than a hundred documents which Blythe prepared for me. I have dealt with them because they contain material from Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Lots of the others she prepared contain material from other books, online sources or other texts. I have described above how I used this type of document and I do not believe my methods of writing are in any way unusual. I will be very surprised if Messrs. Baigent and Leigh did not make copious notes from the sources which they consulted.
192. In chapter 58 of The Da Vinci Code I cite a passage from the Gospel of Philip and another from the Gospel of Mary, which both allude to Mary Magdalene’s relationship with Jesus and her important role in his Church. The Gospels of Philip and Mary both come from the Gnostic Gospels and I recall seeing them in many sources. For example, Templar Revelation; The Goddess in the Gospels; and The Gnostic Gospels. Also, one of my research documents “was mm author of 4th gospell_#2849” (D.216 and D.359) includes the passage from the Gospel of Philip.
193. I understand that the same passage from the Gospel of Philip appears in Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I cannot now recall what was my source. I do think that I was aware of the passage from the Gospel of Philip before I looked at Holy Blood, Holy Grail, because the many other sources I looked at which include the Gospel of Philip also include the Gospel of Mary.
194. As I have said, in preparing this statement I have looked back to my research sources, including our books. I see that our copy of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25) is heavily marked up in Blythe’s handwriting in a number of places. I am not surprised -we did use the book as a source, after the Synopsis was written and the writing was well underway. But that is not the only reason why the book is marked.
195. As soon as The Da Vinci Code was published and had become a runaway success, I found myself in a firestorm of controversy. I had never experienced this kind of media attention, and it was very difficult at times (especially the criticism from Christians). Often at my book signings, I found myself interrogated publicly by an angry Christian scholar who quizzed me on details of Bible history from the novel. I remember being attacked by one man over my description of the Council of Nicea (specifically the claim that there had been a vote on Jesus’ divinity), and I recall feeling defenceless because more than a year had passed since I’d researched and written the novel, and the precise names, dates, places, and facts had faded somewhat in my memory. I quickly realized that if I were going to effectively discuss my work on an international stage, I would need something that Blythe termed “a refresher course”.
196. This involved going back to our original resource materials and memorising the details surrounding those ideas about which critics were most upset – the bloodline, the Council of Nicea, Jesus as a husband, etc. Blythe again was on the front lines of gathering information for me. At this time, I know we revisited many of our relevant research materials, including Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and I have little doubt that many of the markings in Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25) were made during this “refresher period” after the novel was published. Blythe’s help refreshing my memory paid off and after it I was more comfortable dealing with journalists or critics.
197. Also, as I have said, I don’t like to write in books, but Blythe writes in books all the time. I know that if she reads a book – that we have bought for research purposes – that has anything to do with any of my novels, she underlines passages as she reads. Blythe is helping me with the research for my new novel, and she is doing just this. So, if she finds a reference to Mary Magdalene, or goddess worship… any of the old subjects, in a new book she still underlines it. She finds this a satisfying thing to do – it reinforces to her that we were on the right track with our earlier research.
198. All of the research books are different pieces of history in theory. Often the books reach the same conclusions – just in a different way. Blythe likes to mark or underline where she finds common links, as it helps her piece the big picture together. Our studies into the origins of the Christian movement and the ancient mysteries continue to this day. Our research and Blythe’s note taking is a continual process.
199. Other examples of Blythe marking books in this way are the books Rule by Secrecy, by Jim Marrs (D.50), and The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall (D.38). Rule by Secrecy was published in 2000, and The Secret Teachings of All Ages in October 2003. My recollection is that I read Rule by Secrecy in Conway one summer and liked it a lot, but hated the conclusion about aliens, which I thought was somewhat silly. I think this was fairly late during the writing of The Da Vinci Code. The Secret Teachings of All Ages was published too late for me to have made use of it in the writing of The Da Vinci Code.
200. However, my copies of both books are marked in many places, including points which Blythe and I were familiar with by the time we read the books. For example, I see that on page 87 of my copy of Rule by Secrecy (D.50), Blythe has annotated the margin next to the words “Arthurian legend concerning the Holy Grail is closely connected to the controversial notion of a continuing bloodline from Jesus – the Sangreal or royal blood”. I can see from one of our documents called “Rosslyn Castle Info” (D.181) that the book appears only to have been looked at by Blythe at the time I was writing the final “Rosslyn” chapters of the book. The fact that Rule by Secrecy (D.50) does not appear in the partial bibliography for the Synopsis supports my recollection. The Secret Teachings of All Ages (D.38) is marked in many places. For example, page 139 is marked despite the fact that the subject matter -the date 25th of December, Constantine and Sol Invictus, is Angels & Demons territory
201. In The Da Vinci Code, in order to amuse myself while writing, and to give added interest to readers, many of my character names are anagrams or are significant in some way.
202. I have played with names in all my books, but I did this a lot in The Da Vinci Code. For example, Jonas Faukman is an anagram of my editor, Jason Kaufman. Silas is a reference to a biblical figure named Silas who was let out of prison by an act of God (The Da Vinci Code, Corgi, page 88). Jerome Collet was inspired by a neighbour of my old pen pal, Sylvie. The Teacher is a reference to Jose Escriva who was the leader of Opus Dei and has often been referred to as “Teacher”. Teabing calls himself “The Teacher” to sound more in tune with Opus Dei and thereby trick Silas.
203. Bishop Aringarosa is a play on words; this character looks like a villain, however this a red herring. “Aringa” is herring in Spanish and “Rosa” in Italian is red. Sister Sandrine Bieil was also inspired by a friend of my pen pal Sylvie. Andre Vernet was a French teacher at Exeter. Rene Legaludec was inspired by the Languedoc region in France. Simon Edwards is a dear friend from England. Pamela Gettum is a town librarian in Exeter. Sir Leigh Teabing is, of course, an anagram of the claimants, Messrs. Baigent and Leigh. The character Colbert Sostaque is based on a young boy Colby, to whom I have been a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the last four years. Jean Chaffee is based on my agent’s husband. Edouard Delaroches is the archivist at Phillips Exeter Academy. Sauniere, as I explain below, is a playful reference aimed at conspiracy buffs, to the mystery at Rennes-le Chateau, which I did not include in The Da Vinci Code.
Sir Leigh Teabing
204. Sir Leigh Teabing, his house, and even his character did not exist in the early drafts of the book. He is not mentioned in the Synopsis. I initially conceived the character because Langdon and Sophie needed somewhere to rest and eat before moving on to London. As well as providing a safe haven for Sophie and Langdon, I needed to create a character who could say some of the more far-fetched and controversial things that I initially had Langdon saying. I wanted to preserve the integrity of my protagonist. I wanted Langdon to be able to stand back, raise questions and play devil’s advocate a little, and also fill in some history. I also did not want Langdon to appear to be too anti Catholic; this is neither the message nor focus of the novel.
205. I included this allusion to Holy Blood, Holy Grail’s authors (as opposed to the other three books I cited, see The Da Vinci Code, Corgi, page 339) in the form of the character, Sir Leigh Teabing (an anagram of Baigent & Leigh) for the following reasons:
Holy Blood, Holy Grail is an older, more traditional book than The Templar Revelation or some of my other sources. It seemed a more fitting match for my Teabing character whom I had crafted as an old British knight.
I noticed that the letters in “Baigent” were anagram of “Begin at” and that the signature “L Teabing” was an anagram of ‘ ‘Begin at L”. That led me to think of a clue which Sophie would decipher -“Begin at L” was to be her clue that L was the first letter of a word and she would go on to decipher that the word she was after was Louvre. As it turned out, I did not use this clue in the book.
In The Da Vinci Code, Sophie’s grandfather called her Princess Sophie, and I thought that calling undue attention to the name “Prince” could be confusing for my readers, so I did not use a Picknett & Prince anagram or reference. I wanted to use the name Starbird, but I thought it sounded too American Indian so decided against it
206. Messrs. Baigent and Leigh are only two of a number of authors who have written about the bloodline story, and yet I went out of my way to mention them for being the ones who brought the theory to mainstream attention. I have been shocked at their reaction: Furthermore I do not really understand it.
207. Over the past ten years, I have placed in my novels the names of more than two dozen close friends and family. The names I choose are always those of people I care for or respect. When I learned that Holy Blood, Holy Grail was the first book to bring the idea of the bloodline into the mainstream, I decided to use the name Leigh Teabing as a playful tribute to Mr. Baigent and Mr. Leigh. I have never once used a novel to denigrate anyone, and most certainly my use of the name Leigh Teabing was no exception, I have seen a document which is entitled “General Statements” and which makes a number of serious allegations against me. The document contains numerous sweeping statements which seem to me to be completely fanciful. It concludes with an assertion that the overall design of Holy Blood, Holy Grail – the design of its governing themes, its logic, its arguments, has been lifted by me for The Da Vinci Code. This is simply not true.
209. There is a huge amount of information in Holy Blood, Holy Grail that I did not look at in any detail and is simply not in The Da Vinci Code. A comparison of the content of the first half of the two books establishes that. And where there is overlap of ideas, the fact remains that I used Holy Blood, Holy Grail merely as one of a number of reference sources for some of the information which The Da Vinci Code sets out. One of the ideas in Holy Blood, Holy Grail – perhaps even the central idea – is advertised on the back of my copy of the book: “Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross’?”. This is not all idea that I would ever have found appealing. Being raised Christian and having attended Bible camp, I am well aware that Christ’s crucifixion (and ultimate resurrection) serves as the very core of the Christian faith. It is the promise of life everlasting and that which makes Jesus “the Christ”. The resurrection is perhaps the sole controversial Christian topic about which I would not dare write; suggesting a married Jesus is one thing, but undermining the resurrection strikes at the very heart of Christian belief.
210. There is a huge amount of information in The Da Vinci Code that is not in Holy Blood, Ho1y Grail, and I find it absurd to suggest that I have organized and presented my novel in accordance with the same general principles as those in Holy Blood, Holy Grail or that I have plundered not only the facts in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, but also the relationship between the facts, the evidence to support the facts. It is simply not true.
211. As well as mentioning Holy Blood, Holy Grail in The Da Vinci Code, I also mentioned by name three other books I used in my research, namely The Templar Revelation (Picknett & Prince) (D.53); The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (Starbird) (D.59); and The Goddess in the Gospels (Starbird) (D.58) (see The Da Vinci Code, Corgi, page 339). I did this as each of the books I mentioned had played a part in the research I did while writing The Da Vinci Code. I have received a letter of thanks from Margaret Starbird, and Blythe remains in friendly contact with her. Margaret’s career has really taken off since publication of The Da Vinci Code. We see her on television specials all the time, and her books are now bestsellers. Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince also sent me a kind letter through their publisher, saying they were very happy with the newfound attention to their books, that they were fans of my work.
212. Henry Lincoln’s name does not feature in The Da Vinci Code. There is no particular reason for this. I remember the “Begin at L” reason for using L Teabing and I also remember that Richard Leigh is the name of a friend of mine (he is a famous song writer), but I do not recall anything about Mr Lincoln. I have read an allegation that I made Leigh Teabing a polio victim and a cripple because it was my cruel way of including Mr Lincoln (who apparently walks with a severe limp) in my anagram. This is both untrue and unthinkable to me. I have never met Mr. Lincoln, and I had no idea he had difficulty walking. If I had known, I definitely would have made a different choice. Also, I did not know that Henry Lincoln had made films for the BBC until told this by my English lawyers. I used the BBC in The Da Vinci Code as a device to give Langdon and Teabing a history together. It was also to raise Teabing’s status so that Langdon would automatically turn to him for advice. I used the BBC in Angels & Demons as well; the BBC is the only British news agency with which American readers are familiar, and it adds credibility.
Promotion of The Da Vinci Code
213. I am quite Sure that a great deal of the success of The Da Vinci Code is down to the excellent promotion the book received. The Da Vinci Code got a huge launch. My first three books were barely promoted. There were more Advance Reader Copies given away for free of The Da Vinci Code than the whole print run for Angels & Demons. I am convinced that The Da Vinci Code would have failed if it had been published by my previous publishers – equally, I think Angels & Demons would have been a big success if published by Random House with as much fanfare as they brought to The Da Vinci Code. Angels & Demons is perhaps even more controversial (it deals with a Pope who had a child), and many people have told me they actually prefer it to The Da Vinci Code.
214. Like The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons also touched on some controversial subjects. Angels & Demons is primarily a thriller – a chase, a treasure hunt, and a love story. It’s certainly not an anti Catholic book. It’s not even a religious book. Much of the novel’s action takes place deep inside the arcane world of the Vatican, and some of the factual information revealed there is startling. But I think most people understand that an organization as old and powerful as the Vatican could not possibly have risen to power without acquiring a few skeletons in its closet. I think the reason Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code raised eyebrows is that both books opened some Church closets most people don’t even know existed. The final message of both books, though, without a doubt, are positive.
215. It is impossible to ignore the fact that The Da Vinci Code launch was one of the best orchestrated in history. It is still talked about in the industry. Articles have been written specifically on The Da Vinci Code launch (0.362). Steve Rubin and his team should get the credit for the success, (Steve is president of Doubleday, which is, part of Random House, Inc.) He made me meet all the booksellers months before the book came out. Many booksellers were in love with the book when they read the ARC. To release 10,000 ARCs is, I understand, unheard of and this was only on the basis of a first draft. I am sure that the publicity would have had the same effect with Angels & Demons.
216. As part of the launch, Jason and I created a web quest.for The Da Vinci Code which is an online treasure hunt to support the book (D.363). This had never been done before in a launch and now all of the big books do it. I must admit, somewhat embarrassingly, that until The Da Vinci Code launch, with the tremendous support booksellers have showed my book, I did not fully understand the role of word of mouth in the process and its power to generate buzz and excitement.
217. The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction. While the book’s characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist (for example, Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, the Gnostic Gospels, Hieros Gamos, etc.) characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and select rituals depicted all the novel all exist (for example, Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, the Gnostic Gospels, Hieros Gamos, etc.). These real elements are interpreted and debated by fictional characters. While it is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit, each in individual reader must explore these characters’ viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations. If you read the “FACT” page at the beginning of the novel, you will see it clearly states that the descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in the novel are accurate. The “FACT” page makes no statement whatsoever about any of the ancient theories discussed by fictional characters. Interpreting those ideas is left to the reader. My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.
218. In closing, I would like to restate that I remain astounded by the Claimants’ choice to file this plagiarism suit. For them to suggest, as I understand they do, that I have “hijacked and exploited” their work is simply untrue.
Statement of Truth
I believe that the facts stated in this Witness Statement are true.
Full name: DAN BROWN
Date 21 December 2005
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