A coalition of Nashville Bible publishers is suing Dan Brown, author of the worldwide best seller The DaVinci Code, claiming that Brown has lifted characters and plot elements from the Bible.
Lifeways Publishing, the United Methodist Publishing House and Thomas Nelson Publishers, three of the biggest Bible publishers in the English-speaking world, assert in the suit that Brown’s book relies too heavily on the Bible for its inspiration. They demand a share of Brown’s royalties and that future editions cite their Bibles as source material.
“It’s a ripoff,” says one publishing source. “I’ve read Brown’s book, and believe me, if the Bible didn’t exist, The DaVinci Code wouldn’t exist. He’s taking our stuff, turning it upside down and inside out, and making a fortune.”
The DaVinci Code’s complicated plot involves a murder mystery inside a puzzle that leads to a variety of religious and artistic locations in Europe, and includes a new interpretation of exactly what the Holy Grail is and the lengths to which some secretive religious societies will go to protect that secret. It has a handsome and smart hero, a spunky and intrepid damsel in distress, and truly loathsome villains.
“It’s just like the Bible, only the plot moves faster,” says an editor at the United Methodist Publishing House.
The suit echoes one currently under way in England in which two authors of an early-1980s book called Holy Blood, Holy Grail say that Brown lifted their ideas about the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene for The DaVinci Code.
“Forget that whole marriage thing,” says a Lifeways Publishing source. “That’s a distraction. The larger issue is, we were publishing books with Jesus and Mary Magdalene as main characters before Dan Brown was ever born. That guy really has his nerve.”
Brown responded to reporters’ questions about the Nashville suit by releasing a complicated anagram puzzle, which cryptologists had been unable to decipher at press time.
(The Fabricator is satire. Don’t believe everything you read.)