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Monday, 20 August 2012

My top book picks for fans of 'The Da Vinci code'

As a lover of 'The Da Vinci code' and a few of Dan Brown's other novels, here is my personal list of top book picks for other Dan Brown/history/thriller/mystery fans, from my own collection. I start with a snippet about The Da Vinci code for anyone that hasn't yet read it or seen the film (I would still suggest to read the novel even if you've seen the film as in my opinion the films are always second best to the trusty original books)

 The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown (First published in 2003) is an international best seller, having also been made into a major motion picture, and it's not hard to see why! It's a fast paced whirlwind of a thriller that is perfect for history and puzzle lovers.
I can't imagine that there are many that haven't either read the novel or seen the film, but if you haven't then here's something to whet your appetite...

'Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives a late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes. As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that reveals a mystery stretching deep into the vault of history.
But Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever...'

Firstly, my first recommendations would be Dan Brown's other novels, particularly 'Angels and demons' and 'The lost symbol'. I'm not going to feature them on here, but focus on work from other authors. If you want to check out more of Dan Brown's work then please visit his official website here, which I have to say is a fantastic little site! You select what book you want to view in detail from an ancient looking cabinet, and then you can read reviews, an excerpt, FAQ's plus lots more!

The Shakespeare secret by J.L Carrell (first published in 2007) has been praised by Publishers weekly as having 'Plot twists worthy of The Da Vinci code'. This is another Thriller that is almost impossible to put down. I read this quite a while ago but I loved every second of it. It contains true revelations regarding Shakespeare's life, and the ever present and intriguing theories surrounding him.

'A woman is left to die in a burning theatre. Another woman is drowned like Ophelia, skirts swirling in the water. A doctor has his throat slashed open on the steps of Washington's Capitol building.
A deadly serial killer is on the loose, modelling his sickening murders on Shakespeare's plays. But why is he killing? And how can he be stopped?'

There is also now another book entitled 'The Shakespeare curse' or otherwise known as 'Haunt me still' in the U.S which follows the main character from this story, which can be found on the author's website here.

Sticking with the 'secret' theme the Botticelli secret written by Marina Fiorato is a much loved read of mine and really started my interest in renaissance Italy. Be warned: it has explicit language and sexual themes. This isn't one for the easily offended! Once again this is a race against time story packed to the rafters with adventure, murder, revelations and mystery, with romance thrown in to the mix for good measure.
'In the colourful world of fifteenth-century Italy, Luciana Vetra is young and beautiful, a part time model and full time whore. When she is asked to pose as the goddess Flora for Sandro Botticelli's La Primavera, she is willing to oblige-until the artist abruptly sends her away without payment. Affronted she steals an unfinished version of the painting-only to find that someone is ready to kill her to get it back.
As friends and associates are murdered around her, Luciana turns to the one man who has never tried to exploit her beauty, Brother Guido della Torre, a novice at the monastery of Santa Croce. Fleeing Florence together, Luciana and Guido race through the nine great                
cities of renaissance Italy, desperately trying to decode the painting's secrets before their enemies stop them.'
By following this link to the author's website you can find out more, download the first chapter and buy the book.

Labyrinth is one of my favourite books that I have in my collection, and actually one of my favourite reads full stop. History fans with a sense of adventure will not be disappointed!
Published in 2005 it follows two women from very different times as they both try to uncover the secret of the 'true Grail'.

'July 1209: In Carcassone a seventeen year old girl is given a mysterious book by her father which he claims contains the secret of the true Grail. Although Alais cannot understand the strange words and symbols hidden within, she knows that her destiny lies in keeping the secret of the labyrinth safe...

July 2005: Alice Tanner discovers two skeletons in a forgotten cave in the French Pyrenees. Puzzled by the Labyrinth symbol carved into the rock, she realises she's disturbed something that was meant to remain hidden. Somehow, a link to a horrific past-her past- has been revealed.'
Here is a link to the author's US website and to her UK website

Lastly, I feel I have to add this book as it fits the theme so well. However, I have to confess that I haven't actually finished it. I found the writing style at times difficult to 'get into' and the main character rather unlike-able. But that's for you to judge, most of you will probably love it. I will pick it up again at a later date and try again, as I was intrigued by the idea that the novel brings to readers. Please don't judge on my opinion alone and my inability to see something through to the end!


A sacred brotherhood has sworn, generation after generation, to protect this terrifying truth from those who would use it to unleash doomsday upon mankind.

When the unthinkable happens, and the holy scroll is uncovered, the race is on to reveal the true meaning of the cryptic language. Only one man, Dr. Thomas Lourds, the world's foremost scholar of ancient languages, who we first met in the bestselling novel The Atlantis Code, can safely decipher this most deadly scripture.

Lourds soon becomes the bait in the most lethal manhunt -- knowing he must confront the true face of evil if the world is to be saved...'

So there you have it, my book picks for fans of historical thrillers such as 'The Da Vinci code'. I hope you enjoy them!

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