The Chicago Tribune, April 5, 2006

    Dan Brown decoded
    Reading between the lines—er, letters—at the Da Vinci Code copyright
    infringement trial.

    By Bruce Kluger

    And now we wait.

    With testimony concluded in the high-stakes copyright
    infringement suit against The Da Vinci Code author Dan
    Brown, it is up to Judge Peter Smith of London's Royal
    Courts of Justice to make the final determination: Did
    Brown and his researcher-wife, Blythe, appropriate "the
    architecture" for the best-selling novel from historians
    Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh's 1982 non-fiction
    book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, or did the
    couple whip up the acclaimed potboiler from their own

    In rendering his decision, which could affect future sales
    of the book and the imminent release of Ron Howard's
    movie adaptation, Judge Smith has at his disposal
    Brown's 25,000-word sworn witness statement to the High Court. And there's the
    catch. Instead of combing through the meticulous testimony for legal clues, maybe
    Judge Smith would do well to take a page from The Da Vinci Code itself, and search
    the text for statements that, when unscrambled, tell a different story.

    Keep in mind, just like with any crime, an anagram is at its cleverest when it's letter-

    Brown: "The story is a blend of historical fact, legend, myth and fiction."
    Brown decoded: "O, strife! I accidentally stole the Christ thing (on and off). My

    Brown: "In these situations, I always remind Blythe I was trying to write a fast-
    moving page turner."
    Brown decoded: "I'm a lying two-bit word-pirater. That thieving literary genius.
    Satan's finest. (Yawn.) So sue me."

    Brown: "In doing so, I see that more notes have survived from The Da Vinci Code
    than from any of my previous novels."
    Brown decoded: "I lost my notesI've none! My dog ate them and ran off! Then
    our PC crashed. (Invasive voodoo virus!) I'm feverish ..."

    Brown: "The Da Vinci Code raised eyebrows."
    Brown decoded: "Yeah, I borrowed scenes. Addictive."

    Brown: "I remain astounded by the claimants' choice to file this plagiarism suit."
    Brown decoded: "Character assassination! Deception! Filth! Lies! O, I die! (But
    am I guilty? Hmm...)"

    Brown: "For them to suggest...that I have 'hijacked and exploited' their work is
    simply untrue."
    Brown decoded: "This trial's a joke--a stupid whodunit! Trickery! Egos!
    (Afterthought: I'm vexed. Help me...)"

    Brown: "The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction...obviously
    not real."
    Brown decoded: "Leonardo? OK, not fictionbut he's dead! Clever, eh? Fiasco?
    Foolery? No! Viva art! (I win.)"

    Brown: "To give added interest to readers, many of my character names are
    Brown decoded: "My artistry's overrated, fans. The codes? Arranged at random.
    Gee, I am a menace."