Warning: lots of spoilers
So, I’m currently reading The Da Vinci Code, the second book in Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series and I wanted to write a quick thing on the similarities I am finding with regards to plot and characters.
Both books start with Robert Langdon asleep. In Angels & Demons, Langdon is woken up by a mysterious caller and he hangs up on them because it is too early. In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon is woken up by the front desk saying someone is there to see him and he hangs up on them because it is too early.
Then, he’s given a photograph of a murder victim with weird symbology. He is faxed a photo of a man branded with Illuminati symbol in Angels & Demons. He is given a photo of a man with a pentagram drawn in blood on his chest by a police officer in The Da Vinci Code.
Then, he goes there commenting both times, “Only 20 minutes before, he had been asleep in his bed.”
So he sees the body and has a bunch of random facts about different things. The history of the Illuminati in Angels & Demons vs. the symbol of femininity in The Da Vinci Code.
Soon after seeing the body, he meets the female protagonist of the story. She’s a glass-ceiling breaker who deals with sexism. Vittoria in Angels & Demons (Henceforth, I will call this A&D) is a scientist at C.E.R.N. and Sophie Neveu is a cryptologist in the French police in The Da Vinci Code (DVC). She joins him on the rest of the action-puzzle adventure.
Langdon figures out a clue that acts as a treasure map and the description given by characters observing him seems to me that he is nerdgasming. The first Illuminati Alter in A&D and the Mona Lisa in DVC.
A&D takes place over the course of about 24 hours. DVC takes place over the course of about 24 hours. This is used as a way to make a “race against time” narrative as well as add to the sheer exhaustion the characters (and readers) feel.
One of the more fascinating parts is the use of misdirection. In A&D, it’s implied that the 11th hour Samaritan (Koehler) is the Illuminatus that is behind everything. It’s done by a secret phone call that we know a character got, but don’t know what that phone call actually said. It’s done by misdirection. DVC does this as well with Faust. He is often indisposed making calls at the same time as the Teacher.
Now, the characters are interesting because there are a lot of similarities, besides the fact that Robert Langdon is the same character.
Hassassin vs. Silas
Both the Hassassin and Silas have troubled pasts that involve killing others. They both were given a purpose by clergy (Hassassin: Camarlengo vs. Silas: Bishop Aringarosa). They were also manipulated in the cause of that purpose (Hassassin: Camarlengo vs. Silas: Leigh Teabing).
Vittoria vs. Sophie
Langdon falls in love with Sophie just like he did with Vittoria. The things he notices about both upon initially meeting them is that their skin and bodies are beautiful. Throughout the night, they grow closer and closer until they either explicitly or implicitly have sex.
Both are in high-tech fields and are sort of proverbially breaking the glass ceiling.
Both are related to the victim, who served as their father figure. They are nearly killed constantly, but still find the wherewithal to fall in love with Langdon.
Maximillian Kohler vs. Sir Leigh Teabing
Both are physically disabled and despise being treated with pity. Both are manipulative in unique ways. Both are essential to the plot.
Now, I am not saying that these are carbon copies of the same story because they really aren’t. I think it is a blueprint that Brown uses and writers can use if they want and add in their own plot. The two story’s plots beyond these obvious similarities is drastically different as well as the writing style.
The writing style in DVC sees Brown begin to add details more seamlessly into his narrative, which adds a lot more weight and awesomeness to its story.
That’s just what I was thinking about right now, so I’m done now.