When Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code took The Netherlands by storm, publishers were looking for similar books to exploit. A translation of Philipp Vandenberg’s 1988 thriller Sixtinische Verschwörung — in which a mysterious inscription is discovered in Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, and it’s true meaning might (!) destroy (!!) the Holy Catholic Church as we know it (!!!!) — was of course a shoo-in.
Unfortunately, this book isn’t nearly as much fun as Brown’s work. It is dry as Catholic dogma, the writing (or translation, for that matter) — with its pompous Latin phrases, and its annoying insistence on using and reusing the titles of the characters over and over and over again — isn’t engaging, and the secret at its core is, well, meh. It takes ages to get anywhere, and in the end we apparently should believe that the Catholic Church would collapse over some dead guy’s claim that Jesus was just a man that stayed dead once he died, just because Michelangelo hid his name in the Sistine Chapel. It’s not as if religion in general is much informed by the truth anyway, is it?
- Book read
- Philipp Vandenberg — Het Sixtijnse geheim (Sixtinische Verschwörung, translated by Peter de Rijk)
- First line
- Terwijl ik dit schrijf, word ik door hevige twijfels geplaagd of ik dit wel allemaal mag vertellen.