In the July issue of Vanity Fair, Seth Mnookin raises new questions about the originality of The Da Vinci Code and takes up the cause of Lewis Purdue who lost a court case against Brown in the US courts earlier this year. Purdue claims that Brown's book was a rip-off of his own novel, Daughter of God. (I hadn't realised before this that the publisher Random house was suing Purdue, and not the other way around.)
According to The Age, The Vanity Fair article lists several points of similarity between the two books, among them:
... the key to the mystery is hidden in artworks, there are Swiss bank accounts, and there is a shadowy group in the Catholic Church. In Perdue's book, an art collector is murdered to protect the secret. In Brown's book, a curator is murdered to keep the secret.
When Ed Condren, an English professor at UCLA, performed a textual analysis of Perdue's work and The Da Vinci Code for Vanity Fair, he concluded:
I didn't think there was any question the one borrowed from the other. Daughter of God and The Da Vinci Code employ identical narrative strategies. These novels share the same background story, not only in the personages and events they refer to, but more important, in the identical ways they distort these historical events to support their nearly identical stories.
John Olsson, the director of Britain's Forensic Linguistics Institute, says of the book:
This is the most blatant example of in-your-face plagiarism I've ever seen. It just goes on and on. There are literally hundreds of parallels. And it also looks as if Brown lifted an exact passage from Leonardo's Lost Robot, written by academic and robotic expert, Mark Rosheim.
There's also the suggestion that Brown's wife, Blythe, who did much of her husband's research may have sent Purdue mysterious e-mails under the name Ahamedd Saaddodeen. Quite what these e-mails were about I haven't been able to find out online.
But as they say, the plot thickens.
*Picture nicked from Florence Photo Gallery.