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May sees the release of the movie THE DA VINCI CODE, starring Tom Hanks, assuming, that is, that the movie isn't held back by the recent court case involving Dan Brown, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh.THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL was first published in 1982 and raised the suggestion that the Roman Catholic Church had been hiding a fascinating secret for thousands of years, that Jesus was married, to Mary Magdalene, and together they produced a son whose bloodline continues to this day.

The suggestion that a female should be involved in one of the world's biggest organised religions is anathema to the Catholic church, and the books throw up all manner of mysteries involving, amongst others, Leonardo da Vinci, himself apparently an opponent of the church, and his most famous painting, the mural THE LAST SUPPER.

There can't be many people who haven't heard of THE DA VINCI CODE, and May sees the release, by ORION AUDIOBOOKS, of a film-tie-in version of the story, read by Jeff Harding in a special boxed edition with film artwork. You can read my review of the audiobook version of Dan Brown's novel on the Orion page in this issue, of course.

But this month also sees my review of JAVIER SIERRA's THE SECRET SUPPER, set in the time when Leonardo was actually painting The Last Supper. The Pope is convinced that da Vinci has painted into the mural both portraits of the dreaded heretical Cathars, a secret society dedicated to damaging and bringing down the Church of Rome, and cabbalistic messages that support the Cathars and their doctrines. He send a special envoy to investigate. The result is a novel that's as intriguing and fascinating as the Da Vinci Code itself.

I have to say that I don't believe Dan Brown is a particularly good writer, and that it's the content of the book rather than his style that has thrown up the enormous interest in the subject of Jesus and a possible bloodline from his union with Mary Magdalene. There have been many TV programmes investigating the various aspects of The Da Vinci Code during the past few months, even drawing on the expert knowledge of Brian Sewell, who insists that the figure to the left of Christ in Da Vinci's painting is definitely not female, as Brown suggests, and as is also suggested in The Secret Supper.

Finally, from Canterbury Press, there's an equally fascinating book by Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple Church in London, the church of the Templars, which figures so prominently in Brown's book. That's published this month too, and it lifts the lid on most of Brown's theories from a theological point of view, and is well worth a read. You can read my review here.


I say finally, but you may also be interested in THE MAGDALENE CIPHER, CROSS BONES, and THE JESUS DYNASTY. The Magdalene Cipher, by JIM HOUGAN, is a gripping, page-turning novel, in the spirit of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, in which a CIA man goes on the run from a sinister cabal, intent on maintaining the secret identity of the last survivor of the line of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. Kathy Reichs' CROSS BONES is the latest gripping thriller from world-class forensic anthropologist, Kathy Reichs, bestselling author of Bare Bones and Monday Mourning. An orthodox Jew is found shot dead in Montreal, the mutilated body is barely recognisable. Extreme heat has accelerated decomposition, and made it virtually impossible to determine the bullet trajectory. But just as forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan is attempting to make sense of the fracture patterning, a mysterious stranger slips her a photograph of a skeleton, assuring her it holds the key to the victim?s death? The trail of clues leads all the way to the Holy Land where, together with detective Andrew Ryan, Tempe makes a startling discovery - but the further Tempe probes into the identity of the ancient skeleton, the more she seems to be putting herself in danger? Finally, finally, in THE JESUS DYNASTY Real-life Indiana Jones archaeologist and scholar, James Tabor, takes readers on a startling, fast-paced journey that will change Christianity forever. He proves that Christianity as we know it was not moulded by Jesus but by maverick posthumous follower Paul. In fact, Jesus had a very different agenda, one that relied on his own blood relations. Based on hands-on archaeological experience and extensive academic research, Tabor takes readers on an action-packed scholarly adventure in his gripping and controversial book. He proves in his Indiana-Jones-style narrative that whilst Jesus' maverick follower Paul was distorting his teachings into what we know as Christianity today, Jesus' true followers were pursuing a very different agenda.

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Gateway is published by Paul Edmund Norman on the first day of each month. Hosting is by Flying Porcupine at - and web design by Gateway. Submitting to Gateway: Basically, all you need do is e-mail it along and I'll consider it - it can be any length, if it's very long I'll serialise it, if it's medium-length I'll put it in as a novella, if it's a short story or a feature article it will go in as it comes. Payment is zero, I'm afraid, as I don't make any money from Gateway, I do it all for fun! For Advertising rates in Gateway please contact me at Should you be kind enough to want to send me books to review, please contact me by e-mail and I will gladly forward you my home address. Meanwhile, here's how to contact me: Gateway banner created by and © Paul Edmund Norman

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