From Salon.com’s review of the new Dan Brown potboiler, The Lost Symbol:
“Conspiracy theory, not characters, made “The Da Vinci Code” the bestselling adult novel of all time. With that novel, Brown, previously a mediocre thriller author laboring in relative obscurity, hit upon the idea of a lifetime. Latching onto a popular but moderately difficult work of pseudohistory titled “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln […], Brown streamlined the authors’ argument that Jesus fathered a dynasty of French kings with Mary Magdalene into an airport page-turner easily understood by people who can barely read.”
…and there you have my problem with Brown. Mediocre thriller writer, cribs ideas from other (better) sources, and distills them for the masses, who gobble it up thinking it’s terribly clever.