I tip my hat to Dan Brown. He's got some of the longest reaching publicity machines in the world spreading the word about his book, The Da Vinci Code. And they're doing it for free. What more could Dan ask, than the very public personal disapproval of head of the Anglican Church, Rowan Williams.

Opening the cover of The Da Vinci Code (via Amazon), we read, "All of the characters and events in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental."  But, since the story is set in a world we know (or think we know), with a recorded history that is patchy at best and written by people who had the power to write it, Dan had the liberty to create a backstory for his page-turner that matched a number of our "generally accepted historical facts", and interpolated the rest to fit. Readers are left to decide what is fiction and what is real. Dan mentions enough historic places that readers can visit to verify that his story setting is real. He knows how to spin a good story.

Why does the church disapprove? Not because Dan's version of history is provably wrong, but because it sounds at least as plausible as the traditional religious interpretations. It forces inquisitive people to start asking questions about the origins of the teachings they'd been taught not to question. It points to the problem of "revealed" stories: who did the revealing and why should we trust them? What's amusing is that everytime a religious authority speaks out against a new heresy, they promote the existence of the heresy. Things were so much easier in the early days when books (and heretics) disappeared when you burnt them.