Finished the book, which has given me mixed feelings.
First, I miss Rome. Just like Da Vinci Code made me miss Paris (I read the book shortly after a trip there). Reading about the famous sights – St Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Barberini, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo – made me very nostalgic. I adore the city, so enriched in history and heritage: wish I could be there now.
Second, the twist in the end was ludicrous (the Pope was killed by his own son born of IVF!) – as melodramatic as Korean soap operas. When I read this part on the MTR, I couldn’t help but say aloud, “Come on!" It was utterly unnecessary and ridiculous.
Third, Dan Brown could weave a complex plot, but his writing could be so damn patronising. At times he seemed worried that his readership might have learning difficulties.
Fourth, the plot was vaguely believable and even riveting in the middle part, but with the red herrings such unlikely villains, the mastermind behind the plot was pretty obvious rather early on. An insider with access to the Pope – it was kind of a no-brainer (perhaps my suspicion of all overtly religious people also helped). Maybe the author intended to boost his readers’ ego by making this detective game rather easy.
Fifth, I was rather disturbed by the whole idea of fabricating an apparent “act of God" in order to restore hope and faith. The author almost went as far as to condone it: the hero intentionally kept mum about the truth, that it was all a lie, that several people were murdered and science villainised for the sake of reaffirming the Christian faith. It was disgusting.
And finally, the borderline pornographic denouement was a rubbish way to wrap the novel. Granted, the book was more entertaining than The Da Vinci Code (even though it predates the latter)…