I was recently alerted to two excellent (and entertaining!) pieces of criticism aimed at the work of novelist Dan Brown. And as far as I know, they are both written by non-Catholics, even non-Christians. I mention that, of course, because it has become a common retort that those irritated by Brown's novels (The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons) are merely narrow-minded, reactionary, and frightened Jesus freaks.
Over at "Life Goes Off" ("A Website for the Passionately Cynical and the Politically Agnostic") there is a pointed and quite devastating post by Murph about the literary quality (or lack thereof) of TDVCode (hat tip to Blostopher of RatzingerFanClub.com).
The first sentence filled me with such dread and terror that I almost couldn't bear to continue for another 500 pages, not because it was too thrilling, but because the writing was so horrific that I saw a frightening vision of the thorny, editorless jungle that lay ahead.
Thankfully, he does continue on and his comments are worth reading.
Meanwhile, over at "No Loss for Words," historian Danny Loss has a lengthy and detailed post titled, "Dan Brown is a fraud: A list of errors in Angels and Demons." Be warned that Loss minces no words and uses earthly language from time to time. But his critique is excellent. He prefaces it by saying:
Dan Brown is an awful writer - his language is pedestrian at best, his characters flat, his plots formulaic. But that's not my concern. The problem with Dan Brown's books is that people buy into his claims that they're factually accurate. Call me a pedant, but facts matter, especially when you claim that you get the facts right.
My goal here is convince people that you shouldn't believe any of Dan Brown's factual assertions. He gets some stuff right, but he's wrong just as often as he's right. Go ahead and read his novels for fun. But don't trust a single word he's saying without doing further reading. Brown's either incompetent or careless. In either case, he insults his readers by getting so much wrong. It's amateurish, and he should be castigated for it.
Of course, Murph and Loss could be on the payrolls of Opus Dei, the Vatican, and Ignatius Press. It wouldn't surprise me if some people thought so. But in light of how many people blindly accept Dan Brown's "facts," very little surprises me anymore.