The Real History Behind The Da Vinci Code

Written by Sharan Newman
Review by Trudi E. Jacobson

Sharan Newman brings her extensive knowledge of the Middle Ages, as well as her propensity for research, to this very readable companion to the topics introduced in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. While it would be very useful to have this volume at hand while reading the novel, I found it stimulating on its own. Newman includes entries for people, events, places, and movements, which are arranged alphabetically. They range in length from less than a page to about ten pages. Scholarly apparatus is not neglected (there are footnotes and lists of recommended reading), but Newman’s writing is anything but stiff or formal. Recommended for those who are intrigued by topics from the novel, for fans of Newman’s novels, or for those who’d like a refresher course in some key topics of medieval history in the form of brief but enjoyable essays.