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Dan Brown’s Enemies List

The Church isn’t the only one with a beef.

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Lewis Perdue, author of the novels Daughter of God (2000) and The Da Vinci Legacy (1983). Plagiarism: After the release of The Da Vinci Code, Perdue wrote to Doubleday citing similarities between his novels and Brown’s. When Doubleday preemptively sought a ruling against his claims, he countersued for $150 million. Brown told Matt Lauer on Today that he had never heard of Perdue. “It’s just one of these dubious badges of honor you wear once you hit the best-seller list, I guess.” Brown: The court ruled that the similarities between The Da Vinci Code and Daughter of God did not “represent any original elements of Perdue’s work.”
Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of the 1982 alternative history Holy Blood, Holy Grail. More plagiarism: In 2006, Baigent and Leigh sued Random House in Britain, claiming that The Da Vinci Code had taken the “architecture” from their book. Brown called the claims “simply untrue.” Brown: The court ruled against Baigent and Leigh, terming their work “pretend historical,” and stuck them with a $5.89-million legal bill.
Ross Douthat, New York Times columnist. Undercutting old-time religion: In a May column, Douthat argued that Brown’s popularity was a symptom of America’s wishy-washy “do-it-yourself spirituality.” No public response from Brown. This Times commenter: “Relax, Mr. Douthat. Those of us with brains aren’t taken in by Dan Brown.”
Bart D. Ehrman, professor of religious studies, UNC-Chapel Hill. Historical inaccuracy: In Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, Ehrman writes that most of Brown’s descriptions of ancient documents and events—from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Council of Nicea—are “part of his fiction.” Brown has claimed that “all the history, artwork, ancient documents, and secret rituals in the novel are accurate.” Ehrman: At a rare public appearance in New Hampshire, Brown backed off of his historical claims, saying: “Let the biblical scholars and historians battle it out.”
Salman Rushdie Bad writing: In 2005, Rushdie called The Da Vinci Code “a novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name.” Best-selling defense writer Nelson DeMille blurbed The Da Vinci Code as “many notches above the intelligent thriller … pure genius.” Rushdie: DeMille later admitted to the Times that his first response to The Da Vinci Code was “This is ridiculous! It makes no sense.”


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