Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code is receiving renewed interest in Rome with the death of John Paul II:
Two novels by American mystery writer Dan Brown, "Angels and Demons" and "The Da Vinci Code," are big sellers here in Italy, just like in the United States.
"They are the books of the moment,'' said Ray Esteves Nepomuceno, the manager of a bookstore in Rome's main train station.
They are also the first thing his customers see when entering his shop - a huge pile of the two books by Brown, including an illustrated Italian edition of "The Da Vinci Code."
It's hard to find Romans who have not read his best-selling works, and sales have been boosted by a recent condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church.
Massimiliano Mariani was on an airport shuttle bus last week with a copy of "Angeli e Demoni" tucked under his arm. The book revolves around murder, a secret society of scientists sent underground by the church some four centuries ago, the kidnap of cardinals and the threatened destruction of the Vatican.
But not everyone likes it, of course:
Last month, Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone used a Vatican Radio broadcast to urge all Catholics to boycott "The Da Vinci Code," becoming the highest-ranking member of the church to condemn it.
"My appeal is as follows,'' he said. "Don't read and don't buy 'The Da Vinci Code.' "
Just last week I finished my thrift store copy (Dan Brown ain't gettin' my money) of The Da Vinci Code. It's a decent thriller, but a historical and theological disaster. Theosebes recommends Ben Witherington's The Gospel Code for much needed balance. More about both books soon.