Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent are suing Dan Brown for plagiarism, alleging that Brown stole much of their 1982 book in his construction the plot of The Da Vinci Code.
I’m not normally one to defend Dan Brown’s “work,” but I wonder why the authors waited so long to bring it up. I’ve seen one of them, I know, on Da Vinci Code specials on TV. I smell a money issue. I think perhaps they feel they aren’t getting a big enough piece of the pie.
Brown openly acknowledged the work through the character of Leigh Teabing, whose name is a combination of Leigh’s surname and Baigent’s in the form of an anagram. I have to wonder how many copies of Holy Blood, Holy Grail were sold as a result of The Da Vinci Code’s popularity. I would never have read that farce of scholarship myself if not for Dan Brown’s novel. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a new hardcover version of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, complete with illustrations, appeared in October 2005?
If you ask me, this lawsuit is a case of biting the hand that feeds you. If I were one of the authors, I think I’d be grateful for the attention and new readers. I hope Dan Brown wins, because as Random House’s spokesperson put it, “If the claimants win, it’s the end of John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Harris, Helen Fielding—and Shakespeare.”