Dan Brown's mega bestseller The Da Vinci Code sold more than 40,000 copies during the week of Thanksgiving, the official launch of the holiday buying season. That's the highest number for any fiction title in the last five years for that time period. What makes this even more fantastic is that the book is in its 37th week on the national charts. Even more incredible is that two backlist titles are enjoying bestsellerdom because of Da Vinci connections: Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Woman in the Alabaster Jar both landed on PW's December religion bestseller list. The latter title, from Bear & Co., published in 1993, is recommended in Brown's book; that mention alone sold more than 35,000 copies in the last six months or so (only 20,000 were sold in the 10 years before that). The 1982 Holy Blood, Holy Grail made controversial assertions about the relationship between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. An ABC special last month (November 3) on the scholarship behind The Da Vinci Code featured an interview with Henry Lincoln, one of Holy Blood, Holy Grail's authors. Since then, sales have increased each week by 20% to 30%. Currently, after 29 trips to press, the Dell book has more than 500,000 copies in print.

With reporting by Dick Donahue