Just finished reading the book 'The DaVinci Code' by Dan Brown. A very good book - I read the whole book in a single sitting - just could not put it down. A good read - even though the underlying theories are quite hollow and far-fetched.
Traditionally I am very much against conspiracy theories - yes, man did land on the moon - and no, the government is not covering up alien landings. And this theory is just like any other conspiracy to me. I generally don't argue with people who want to believe in a particular conspiracy - but let me just make a few points.
The secrets hidden in Leonardo da Vinci's works.
Many 'secrets' were not actually there - they were the results of imaginative minds. A good example for this is 42. Don't know what 42 is? Shame on you! 42 is the ultimate inside joke of this generation. Douglas Adams introduced 42 in his book 'Hitch-hiker's guide to the Galaxy'. In this book a computer was asked to find the answer to life, the universe and everything. After a million year of processing by the computer it gave out the answer - 42. Most of the readers of this book thought there was a reason why the author chose the number 42 - there are a lot of theories floating around on the net about this. Some are very convincing. But Douglas Adams himself said that he had chosen a random number - no special meanings for it. The point of this story is that if a person is looking for something believing that there is something there, he will find something even if there is nothing there in the first place.
Even if there are secrets in the works of da Vinci, it don't mean anything. We all like to include small secrets in our works - some call it secrets, other call it inside jokes and we programmers call it easter eggs. I have encoded a lot of secrets into my site's logo...
To get a detailed explanation of them, click here.
That said, let me say that I believe in a theory that some might consider to be a conspiracy theory - Creationism or Intelligent Design as it is known now. But as far as I am concerned, this is not conspiracy theory - but rather an alternative scientific theory. Conspiracy theory involves secrets, government cover ups, murders and what not - non of these are are a part of the Intelligent Design theory. But still some think of it as a conspiracy theory. I have no idea why that is so.
About the book - this is a very good book. I found the authors style of jumping around a bit distracting. For example, this main character is taking about an idea of his and suddenly the book goes into a flash back to the incident when the character got that idea. Stream of consciousness, I believe it is called. I found this to be a little distracting - but others may not think so.
The only thing I really disliked about the book was the author's method of misleading the reader. Misleading is an art perfected by Agatha Christie. Her methods were very subtle and undetectable. But Dan Brown was nothing of that sort. What he did was take some conversations out of context and presented it in another context - thereby giving the reader a wrong impression. I think this will qualify as an instance of the author 'cheating the reader'.
But all in all, it is a good read.