The Da Vinci Cod: A Fishy Parody

Don Brine, Author . HarperCollins $11.95 (180p) ISBN 978-0-06-084807-1

The unexplained and sinister popularity of the millennium's second biggest literary sensation is probed in this funny spoof of the Dan Brown bestseller. A London curator is found dead with a cod shoved down his throat beneath the mysterious message, "THE CHATHOLIC [sic] CURCH HAD ME MURDERED!" Applying his brilliant code-breaking skills, "anagrammatologist" Robert Donglan rearranges the letters to get "H! THE CCC COME HARD, HURDLE A COLT," a clue that entangles him with French secret agent Sophie Nudivue; a priest-cryptographer; a brutal killer known as the Exterminator; and the suppressed works of Leonardo da Vinci's more talented sister, Eda. Brine, aka London University literature prof Adam Roberts, tweaks many of The Da Vinci Code 's conceits to preposterous effect as his characters puzzle out an all-embracing super-plot, trace the ominously fish-shaped layout of London's streets and discover a mytho-historical counternarrative that makes Catholic dogma seem eminently reasonable. But he also uncovers and parodies a startling pattern of bad writing—involving sloppily redundant dialogue; pointless, factoid-filled digressions; and tiresome red herrings—that appears again and again in seemingly unrelated Code -style thrillers. Coincidence? Or does it point to a hidden conspiracy in the publishing industry to pad potboilers with overstuffed filler in order to justify high prices? Readers will laugh at Brine's revelations but may not easily be able to dismiss them. (Oct. 18)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!