July 28, 2006 15:00 ET

What's So Funny About "The Da Vinci Code"?

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 28, 2006 -- Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" is a monumental worldwide phenomenon that has been called the most important book in decades. With more than 60.5 million copies in print, it has been a fixture on bestseller lists virtually non-stop since it was released by Doubleday in 2003. Along with its success, the book has generated more than its fair share of criticism and controversy. Some of these critics are tying themselves in knots fretting about every little detail of the book.

Dr. Judith P. Shoaf of the University of Florida decided to take on "The Da Vinci Code" another way. With tongue firmly in cheek, Shoaf has written "The Da Vinci Barcode," a clever and refreshing parody of Dan Brown's popular book. She decided to have some fun with Dan Brown's sometimes confusing work.

"The Da Vinci Barcode" presents a look at an alternate universe where, as in Brown's novel, fact and fiction are intertwined. "Everything in this book was meticulously researched," says Shoaf, who holds a PhD in French and Medieval Studies from Cornell University. "However, any time I found that the actual facts didn't fit my story, I ignored them." Her parody makes fun of two of Brown's premises. First, her hero is a professor of Symbology, like Brown's Robert Langdon -- but here Symbology is the "science" of commercial barcodes, not of religious symbols. Secondly, whereas Brown's hero and heroine are looking for the long-hidden and highly controversial relics of the body of Mary Magdalen, Shoaf's characters are well aware that there are plenty of sets of Mary Magdalene's bones in French churches.

Shoaf constructs her own quest for meaning, involving the role of saints and symbols in human life, the genetic code, and the mystery of twinship. Instead of a high spiritual quest; however, her characters are looking for the lowliest of symbols, the little bar code label that contains data about an item that is for sale. This cheerful parody will have you looking at "The Da Vinci Code" in a whole new light.

For a review copy of the book or to set up an interview with Judith Shoaf for a story please contact Anja Barger at or at 727-443-7115, ext. 207.

More information under:

Contact Information