We have already seen how the claims of The Da Vinci Code have tapped into the disatisfaction that many people have with traditional Christianity.

There is, however, another reason that the claims made in the novel are being taken so seriously. The very first page is titled 'FACT' and states 'All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.' This claim to factuality has implications that run throughout the book and influences the way people read the 'evidence' set forth in The Da Vinci Code about Jesus, the Church and the Bible.

The problem is that Brown is anything but accurate in his descriptions of artwork, architecture and documents found in The Da Vinci Code.

A few examples will suffice: Brown claims that 'The Madonna of the Rocks' measures 'five-foot-tall canvas' (30:182). In reality the painting measures six and a half feet by four feet (199 cm x 122 cm). Brown claims that DaVinci's 'The Lord's Supper' is a fresco (55:318). In reality it is a tempura on stone which is a different style of painting all together. Brown claims that there are 666 panes of glass on the pyramid entrance to the Louvre (4:40). In reality there are 673 (603 diamonds and 70 triangles) which is not nearly as devilish. And on it goes.

Now, you might be thinking, 'What's the big deal? So he got a few details incorrect? Isn't that a bit pedantic? It's just a novel.' The big deal is first of all, that Brown claims to be accurate. If he is wrong about the details of a painting which can be looked up on the web in thirty seconds can he be trusted about the claims he makes about Jesus and the Church?

Furthermore, Brown supports his claims about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Church from his interpretation of artwork, architecture and documents described in his novel.

It should, of course, be realised, that accurate descriptions do not automatically ensure valid interpretations. Interpretation requires additional skills.

For example, when my computer plays up I can accurately describe the problem - it is really slow, it crashes a lot, etc. - but I don't necessarily know what those things might mean. I don't really understand how computers work.

While accurate descriptions do not necessarily lead to valid conclusions, inaccurate descriptions would seemingly preclude valid ones. When it then becomes clear that Brown's descriptions are inaccurate the validity of his interpretations must also be brought into question.