The Da Vinci Load: Holy Blood! Holy Grail! Holy Plagiarism!

Dan Brown was so busy making the green, that you didn't notice the people who saw red as his bank account soared into the black!


Dan Brown, punk author of "The Da Vinci Code" is finally getting nailed for his crimes. No, he's not being hauled before the Spanish Inquisition for heresy, but before the British bar for plagiarism.

Anyone who has read Brown's book as well as "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" will notice more than a few similarities between the two books. HBHG, written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln, tells a fascinating (though ludicrous) story of the search for the Holy Grail. HLL’s sleuthing uncovered that the grail was not the cup that Christ drank from at the Last Supper -- but a living bloodline. Baigent, et al, claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had at least one child. Following the trail of a number of medieval legends, they claim that the pregnant MM landed in France (of all places) and was the progenitor of the Merovingian dynasty, and then the Carolingians. The "secret" of the bloodline was passed from one genius to another, including Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton. It and is now being slowly dribbled out by the latest in the supposed line of Christ. Spun out over several hundred pages, the tale was fascinating, and touched on the fields of art, history and religion.

I read HBHG years ago, and loved it. It was spooky and sinister and fed into my feeling that history is full of conspiracies and secrets.

Then I grew up. A little late, maybe, but that's another story.

Dan Brown picked up the main line of HBHG, mixed in liberally from other books on the medieval mysteries and wrapped them in a tight little action plot. He even named his all-knowing professor "Leigh Teabing," an evident homage to two of HBHG’s authors.

But now, Brown's creation is turning on him. Leigh and Baigent are suing Random House for stealing "the whole architecture" of their HBHG research. I'm no copyright lawyer, but I suspect they have a case.

I also suspect that plain old greed may have a more than a little to do with the litigation, what with book sales, movie profits and DVD sales being up for grabs.

Oh, that there was a way for both sides to lose !

Baigent received a BA in Psychology from Canterbury University, Christchurch, and is currently pursuing an MA in Mysticism and Religious Experience at the University of Kent.

By the way, when the media speak of Baigent and Leigh as "historians," get out your big grain of salt. According to Wikipedia, Baigent has a BA in Psychology is currently pursuing a masters in "Mysticism and Religious Experience." Random House's own site describes Leigh as "a novelist and short-story writer with postgraduate degrees in comparative literature and a thorough knowledge of history, philosophy, psychology, and esoterica."

"Thorough," it seems, is in the eye of the beholder and need not be tested by any system so disregardlable as a university. By standarsd like those, I should call myself a doctor becuase I can remove splinters, and a naturalist because I have visited the zoo.