The Da Vinci Code vs The Name of the Rose

Did you know?

Jesus was in love with Mary Magdalene – who was not engaged in the world’s oldest profession! – and she gave birth to his posthumous daughter Sarah.

If this was news to you, perhaps you ought to read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Except… er, no, actually, don’t bother. Read The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco instead. It might lack the sensational claims of The Da Vinci Code about Jesus and the symbolism involved in the red hair colour of Walt Disney’s little mermaid Ariel, but believe me, that’s a good thing.

Let’s just make a quick comparison:

I could go on… I could go on, of course, to write a 3000 words essay, taking the two books apart, producing a piece of proper literary criticism here but the truth is it’s going on for 12 pm, I’m damnably tired and I want to publish this piece before I go on holiday. So I’ll be succint:

If you want to read a cheap piece of sensationalist fiction with false historical premises, read The Da Vinci Code. If you’d rather read an intellectual medieval murder mystery with plenty of historical and literary references, read The Name of the Rose.

Picture credits:
1. A scene from the 2006 film The Da Vinci Code.
2. The Sacra di San Michele (St Michael's Abbey) in Piedmont, Italy which inspired the setting of The Name of the Rose. Photo by Elio Pallard via Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 4.0].

3 thoughts on “The Da Vinci Code vs The Name of the Rose

  1. I got the Da Vinci Code for a long flight as it was easy reading, The Name of The Rose like all Umberto Eco books;was entertaining, thought provoking and informative. It was my introduction to his books and I’ve never regretted the extra effort I needed when reading them. That sounds like I find them hard going, on the contrary; it’s because he gives me the desire to find out more about the subjects he writes about, which I could never say about Dan Brown.


    1. I’m in complete agreement. I have to confess that I’m only 2/3 of the way through The Da Vinci Code but its shortcomings are already pretty obvious. I suppose I will finish it, because as you say it’s an easy reading – and in that sense entirely suitable for a flight or similar. For my part, I’m reading it in Spanish to improve my vocabulary. 🙂 But given the hype surrounding this book, I did expect something much better. The writing is mediocre at best, the characters don’t really come alive and the arguments to support the central conspiracy theory are far too flimsy.

      Liked by 1 person

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