It looks as though Dan Brown has been acquitted of plagiarizing the central conceit of his novel, The Da Vinci Code, from authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Baigent and Leigh published a book called The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982, new edition out Sept this year). Relief all round, I think. I’m relieved because a conviction would have been – to use a legal term – bonkers. Brown is relieved because the publicity will boost his paperback edition of The Da Vinci Code and Messrs Baigent and Leigh (and the third author of the work, the ‘silent partner’ Henry Lincoln) will be relieved by the explosive inflation of their royalty cheques. It should help Leigh particularly, who has new books to shift. This from his website:
Richard Leigh has recently completed a novel in which an antinomian hermetic numinist confronts the conflict between artistic detachment and political commitment set against the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, the Vietnam War, and the troubles in Northern Ireland.
An antinomian hermetic numinist? Put me down for a dozen.
Oh, God, I can’t hold it in any longer: The Da Vinci Code was fucking awful! Awful, I tell you! Jeeeeez. I mean. Really. You know? Erghf.
I need a cup of tea.
Update: Maxine (over at Petrona) commented on the judge’s remarks, and I hadn’t looked at them. I have now. They’re fairly amusing:
By virtue of various mergers and acquisitions Random publishes both The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code. It is a testament to cynicism in our times that there have been suggestions that this action is nothing more than a collaborative exercise designed to maximise publicity for both books. It is true that the book sales of both books have soared during the course of the trial. I am not in a position to comment on whether this cynical view is correct but I would say that if it was such a collaborative exercise Mr Baigent and Mr Brown both went through an extensive ordeal in cross examination which they are likely to remember for some time.