Dan Brown has been lionized, anatomized, criticized, vilified, berated, translated and sued and that's just today.
What if a secret society possessed indisputable proof that Christianity in general—and the Catholic Church in particular—are built on historical error?
ReviewMy overall impression of the novel was that it is a fast-paced, engaging combination of murder mystery and thriller set in the modern day against a background of a secret society that worships the sacred feminine and performs sex rituals, and a set of conspiracies against this society. It includes references to actions by a number of well-known people and groups, including Leonardo DA Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Constantine, the Council of Nicaea, the Catholic Church, Saint Peter, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus Christ.
The story line is excellent, the plot keeps your attention, and the nuggets of historically-accurate details on church architecture, history, and art really help to ground the reader and build interest.
My concern with "historical" novels in general is that to the extent that they are engaging and interesting fiction they tend to stray away from historical accuracy. For stories set in specific times or during specific events (the US Civil War, the Cold War, the Gold Rush), this can be all to the good -- the reader can get the flavor of the times, and having a specific setting adds to the interest without the reader being confused into thinking that the author is asserting that these actual events happened during that time.
For stories tied to particular people or groups, there is the danger that the reader will confuse the fiction of the story with the history of the person or group. Here, the author needs to be very careful to choose either historical accuracy (producing a biography that matches fact as closely as possible) or interesting fiction. If the author is choosing interesting fiction, then it seems to me that the responsible thing to do is to select a fictional character or group rather than a historical one. If an actual person is chosen, then the author is basically using the notoriety of the person to increase interest in the book: playing on the fame of the person for their own gain while saying things about the person that are not intended to be true. Over time, this tends to muddy waters, producing a mix of fact and fiction surrounding the life of the person that is chosen.