I find the trial of Dan Brown very amusing. Not because I consider myself either a fan or a non-fan of his work, I’ve only ever read fifteen pages of anything he wrote (over someone else’s shoulder on an airplane) and found the writing abysmal. The only other book I could compare the prose to would be the Celestine Prophesy, which is stuck in my mind as one of the worst books I’ve ever read. If not the absolute worst.
Where was I?
Right. The trial.
The reason I find the trial so amusing is that we have writers of a supposedly non-fiction history book claiming that Dan Brown has “ripped-off” their idea, and according to financial records seems to be making much more money from it than they ever did. Let’s put aside the notion that in almost all bookstores you can find ‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’ placed directly next to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and many sources claim the book sells nearly as well. Lets just put that aside. Why would that be relevant in a court case? What I find so amusing is that the authors of ‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, are (without actually saying so) admitting that their book was written as a fat work of purely speculative fiction.
The only way Dan Brown could rip-off their idea would be if they invented it. How can you copyright historical fact? If Magdalene really was the wife of the man we now call Jesus, and really really begot his sons, then really really really moved to France, how can the writers of ‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’ think they have some claim on this ‘fact’?
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln might as well admit their book was written as fiction and face the possible James Frey backlash that seems to be the standard way of dealing with these problems, while at the same time bleeding Dan Brown, or they should drop the lawsuit and realize that writers of history are going to have to deal with the fact that writers of fiction will always be using history as a backdrop for their work.
On a related note, if you are interested in the concept of the man we refer to today as Jesus having lived past the crucifiction, married and procreated, then living on in the bloodline of European Royalty I would suggest you hunt down and find “The Widow’s Son” by Robert Anton Wilson, which uses this same concept, is a much better written work from what I have seen of “The Da Vinci Code” and -to boot- was written over a decade and a half earlier.
One wonders if Mr. Wilson sits, awaiting his upcoming lawsuit?