Da Vinci Code Of Honour
I continue to be fascinated by the ongoing lawsuit which pits two of the greatest fraudsters against one of the greatest fabulists. What I find most amusing is how both Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Leigh/Baigent, coauthors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail are sticking to their guns. Both books are largely woven from whole cloth, dyed in the ink of centuries of anti-Catholic conspiracy theories and coming apart at the seams. Yet both have sold millions of volumes using the premise that the facts at the heart of the story are true. This is hardly the case. There are already hundreds of books and websites debunk The Da Vinci Code, while several central players in Holy Blood, Holy Grail admit to generating a hoax around the Priory of Sion.
So, the HB, HG team is claiming plaigarism because Brown "stole their ideas." Keep in mind that if the "ideas" are facts, as the HB/HG fellows claim, then they have no case. But if they admit the book is fiction, they have a leg to stand on. They also ruin their reputation and jeopardise future sales of the book. So what to do? Obviously they're over in England walking a fine line.
Personally, I'd love to see Dan Brown taken down a few notches. I was lucky enough to discover him before Da Vinci Code, and enjoyed his other books. (Digital Fortress was my personal favourite.) But then came DVC and along with it came the new, pompous Dan Brown. Instead of admitting that he wrote a fun beach read based on a few clever hypotheses, he came out as an anti-Catholic crusader for the Truth. There are countless interviews with him touting the book as based in fact. It reminds me very much of the James Frey debacle, without any nasty dressing down from Oprah. When you write, the truth is either your friend, your foe or of no consequence. If you are writing fiction, then obviously you don't need factual truth. (Fundamental truths boost the quality of fiction work, but aren't as agonising to check.) If you are writing a story based in truth, you better have your facts sewn up. Both Frey and Brown are proof of this.
In the larger sense I think Brown should prevail, because ultimately one can't really copyright ideas. If so, every story of adultry would be actionable by the King James Bible. All fiction is semi-derivitave. But in the meantime it can't hurt for the truth about both Christ's Bloodline books to come to light.