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First, a quick overview of the plot for Da Vinci Code:

A married couple leave their son and daughter at home. The couple is killed when their car plunges into a river. Either the dead man, or the dead woman (it's never revealed in the book which one) has parents, who are the grandparents of the surviving boy and girl. The grandfather is one of a group of four men who are the only people in the world who know where the Holy Grail is hidden. The grandfather is paranoid about how the car accident happened, wondering if the Catholic Church, which has been trying to destroy the Holy Grail, arranged the car accident. So the grandfather takes his wife, the grandmother, and their grandson to hide them in Scotland, where they are left as curators of a church. Then the grandfather takes his granddaughter, Sophie, to Paris, where he lies to the girl by telling her that in addition to her mother and father dying in the car accident, her brother and grandmother were also drowned in the river, but their bodies were washed out to sea and never found. Little Sophie grows up never knowing her brother and grandmother are alive in Scotland, all because grandpa has to be certain grandma and grandson are safe from the Vatican, which may harm them in an attempt to find and destroy the Holy Grail.

So, under this deception about the family, grandpa raises Sophie in Paris. Years later, Sophie returns from college spring break several days early and finds grandpa with a group of Pagans. Grandpa is naked and being fucked by an old fat lady, and they are surrounded by a bunch of European aristocrats in what looks like Halloween costumes. Sophie is so shocked by this sight, that, even though she has grown up adoring her grandfather, she leaves him a note saying she saw the sex scene and therefore never wants grandpa to ever call her or speak to her again. Ten years go by, and despite repeated letters and packages from grandpa (which Sophie never opens), the two never speak or exchange information. Repeatedly grandpa leaves messages asking Sophie to at least let him explain what the sex scene was about, but Sophie never even lets him explain. The whole story hinges on this rather implausible estrangement (I can hear a chorus of soap opera queens already - "But if my grandpa did such a thing, I'd never ever speak to him again either!")

So this is the structural outline around which this novel revolves. You have to pretend this scenario is even plausible (which really, really becomes a stretch) in order to fathom Da Vinci Code.

One day, an Albino monk, who is unwittingly working for a British aristocrat obsessed with finding the Holy Grail, is sent to track down the four old men who are the keepers of the Holy Grail. One by one the monk threatens the four members and asks where is the "keystone" map to the Holy Grail? Since they are the only ones who know, they'd all agreed long ago that if ever threatened, they'd tell the attacker it is hidden in the floor of a church in Paris. But after each one tells this to the monk, he kills them, one at a time. The last one he kills is Sophie's grandpa. THEN the monk goes to the Paris church and finds out the map to the grail is not there. He'd been tricked by the four members, who are now all dead. So again, we have to suspend any sense of plausibility to follow this drama - rather than checking to see if the map is there after he'd killed the first, or second, or even third member of the Grail keepers, the monk kills all four and THEN goes to the Paris church to see that he'd been tricked by them all.

To stretch plausibility even further, after the Albino monk shoots Sophie's grandpa (in the stomach), he leaves the old man to die slowly from the wound, so grandpa has just enough time left to leave a series of cryptic clues that only Sophie, who works for the police as a code-breaker (convenient coincidence), can break the code of grandpa's clues. All the way through this near 500 page story we are led to believe the bizarre and elaborate clues left for Sophie (who enlists the help of an American professor of "symbology" and Grail lore) are step by step directions that are leading to the Holy Grail. When we finally get to the end of the book, we find that grandpa's near science fiction like cryptic riddles, and his machines that conceal each step of the chase, instead lead Sophie to Scotland where she is reunited with her long lost brother and grandma who are still taking care of the old country church. Gee, we disappointedly wonder at the end of it all, wouldn't it have been so much easier and more direct to just leave the girl a phone number? I mean, if grandpa had enough time and energy while dying to concoct a plot that'd put the CIA to shame, you'd think the old geezer could've included grandma's number, it's just common sense.

Anyway, none of the above implausible and elaborate soap opera really matters, because this framework is really just a backdrop for the real meat of this book, which is to showcase a load of previously published theories and interpretations about the meaning of the Holy Grail. And it's here that the controversy, and the connections with Rock Prophecy, begin.

As a writer, the thing that stands out to me about the format of the novel is that one doesn't have to include footnotes to identify where your information is derived from. Whereas in Rock Prophecy (which is not a novel), expecting a challenge at ever statement, I was careful to include nearly a thousand footnotes to show my sources of information. Da Vinci Code, on the other hand, has not a single footnote. The author just proceeds to squeeze in several hundred observations and speculations about the meaning of the Holy Grail legend. As said earlier, much of this information has been published years ago by many different scholars and researchers, but, since there is no bibliography included in Da Vinci Code either, we don't know which books and writers served as source material.

All that said, let's get on with the similarities between Rock Prophecy (published in 1999) and Da Vinci Code (published four years later in 2003).

The subtitle of Rock Prophecy includes the words "Sex In World Religions" - a phrase for which gasps and condemnations greeted my book. Yet sex and world religions is the centerpiece of Da Vince Code (double standard?), now a bestseller book and soon to be major movie starring Tom Hanks. More specifically, Rock Prophecy describes world religions as a conspiracy designed by men with specific intentions to control women, to facilitate access to sex on male terms. And, again, Da Vinci Code also describes world religions as a sexist plot favoring men. But this comparison is too simplistic. Let's detail in relief exactly how much alike the contents of these two books are:

The major common theme is "Sex in World Religions." Both books trace the unraveling of a secret code that bestows religious insight. Both books pivot around the death of the keeper of the secret, death at the hands of foul play...

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Go to page 4 of 16