The Depths of Dan Brown

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Anyone who knows me, or has heard me talk, knows of my deep, abiding admiration for the writer and, indeed, scholar, Dan Brown. Now the Telegraph has brought together a collection of twenty of his finest moments. I like this one:

Five months ago, the kaleidoscope of power had been shaken, and Aringarosa was still reeling from the blow.

It’s his own fault, he shouldn’t have stood so near the kaleidoscope when they were shaking it. And I enjoyed this:

My French stinks, Langdon thought, but my zodiac iconography is pretty good.

Ah yes, as long as your zodiac iconography is up to scratch, then what does French matter?

You might think that I am just jealous because Dan Brown sells in his squillions while my books sell in their… er… significantly-less-than-squillions. But I am not just jealous. I’m bitter and twisted as well.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the single most stupid line that Brown has ever written:

The Priory of Sion — a European secret society founded in 1099 — is a real organization.

See, I can cope with bad writing, especially if it’s allied to reasonable story-telling. I am a huge fan of comics and some of my favourite comics are excrutiatingly badly written at times. Take Jack Kirby’s Fourth World series; the dialogue is very wooden and clunky and even embarrassing. But the stories have a kind of power to them, a kind of operatic depth, an artistic vision behind them. There’s an original, ambitious mind at work there.

So bad dialogue, 2D characterisation, fine. I don’t mind that. But when that badly-written, poorly characterised novel, claims to be somehow more than a novel, that’s when I get really annoyed. It’s the pretension to depth and scholarship and truth that really ticks me off.

(Well, that and the fact it sells in its squillions…)