It doesn't seem to be generally recognized, but The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is in fact the second novel to be largely inspired by Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. The first, as RAW fans will know, is The Widow's Son.
Without giving too much of the plot away for people who have not read the book yet, the Merovingian bloodline and the mythology of the Holy Grail play a large part in The Widow's Son. I looked through The Widow's Son after I finished reading it Sunday, and there are references to Holy Blood, Holy Grail in 11 different footnotes. In some of those footnotes, Holy Blood is cited more than one time.
Considering the amount of attention that The Da Vinci Code attracted, it seems odd that so few people have noticed that it is actually the second work of fiction to draw inspiration from Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The Wikipedia article does not even mention The Widow's Son. Perhaps this was a missed opportunity for Wilson?
[What does one make of this? - michael]
Brown's Angels and Demons came out three yrs before DaVinci Code. (2000 and 2003)
Dan Burstein or Arne De Keijzer: What do you think of Dan Brown's suggestion that the Illuminati was originally made up of scientists, rationalists, and freethinkers, some of whom adopted violence and terrorism?
RAW:It seems plausible, but unproven. Variations of it appear in my historical novels, especially The Widow's Son...(160)
Q: You're familiar with the plot of Angels and Demons. What sort of fictional or conspiratorial sources do you detect in it?
RAW: Immodestly, I see a lot of my own influence. And a lot of the books (allegedly nonfiction) about the Priory of Sion.(162)
Q:What do you think of the overall storyline that Dan Brown seems to buy into, connecting seven thousand years of secret knowledge handed down through a succession of secret societies?
RAW: The happy live in a happy universe, the sad live in a sad one. Materialists in a material one, spiritualists in a spiritual one. "Facts" adjust to the filing and filtering system of the observer's brain. At seventy-two, I assure you there's a hell of a lot more of what I don't know than there is of what I still think I do know. I suspect Dan Brown has as much sense of humor as me, but chooses to hide the fact. I'd like his books better if the professor came from Miskatonic instead of Harvard. (164)
-from Secrets of Angels & Demons: The Unauthorized Guide To The Bestselling Novel, ed. by Burstein and De Keijzer (2004). See the interview with RAW, "I Didn't Go Looking For The Illuminati; They Came Looking For Me," pp. 157-164
I always try to push people to read the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles when the Dan Brown films come up in conversation. I think the Bob should have got more credit for his influence. Especially at that time in his life. Over the years The Widow's Son has become my favorite book. Although the other books in the trilogy are right up there. Absolutely amazing.
I wish I knew more about how his translation of the gospel according to Mary Magdalene came about. It's the source of my favorite version of "Jesus".
Love this quote from The Widow's Son:
"This is where the invisible forces come into play. These occult powers are unseen because no man looks at them. People search for heroes and heroines and villains; they do not recognize the causes that actually propel events." - Luigi Ducci
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