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July / August 2006
Did Author Dan Brown Steal “Da Vinci Code” Plot
Authors claim Brown ‘stole’ Da Vinci Code plot
By Richard Alleyne

Some might say it is a court case worthy of its subject matter: impenetrable, verging on the farcical and wrapped up in the minutiae of Christian theology.

Amid the appropriately neo-gothic setting of the High Court in London, two British-based writers yesterday claimed that The Da Vinci Code, the loosely historical murder mystery, plagiarises a book they published more than 20 years earlier. The two, who specialise in historical conjecture, claim that its author, Dan Brown, cannibalised their text, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, to give his book plausibility and to save himself “time and effort” in independent research. Michael Baigent, 52, and Richard Leigh, 62, also said that it was not just random facts that were “lifted” but the whole “architecture” and “theme” of their book. At the heart of the case is their theory that Christ did not die on the cross but married Mary Magdalene and had a child, starting a bloodline that was protected by the Knights Templar and hushed up by the Catholic Church. Brown’s thriller is also based on the notion that Jesus married Mary, starting a family in France where their descendants continue to live. More >> (Subscription Required)

Soccer Survives and Flourishes in the USA
By Sharon J. Alfred

The sport of soccer is growing in popularity in the United States. Not a shocking statement. How about this? Professional soccer has been played in the U.S. since the 1920s. That’s right, the American Soccer League was founded in the year 1921. However, despite its longevity of presence in the U.S., soccer is not a big-time American sport like baseball, football, and basketball.

These three games are seen as thoroughly American sports, and thus they are major sports in the U.S. But, what about the game of soccer? How does the generic American sports fan perceive it? Why isn’t soccer yet a major sport in America? It has avid fans here too. Scholarly speculation indicates that early forms of football (soccer) were played by many ancient races in countries such as China, Japan, Greece and Rome. Later, the English took a liking to the football game, and came up with most of the official rules that modern soccer goes by today. More >> (Subscription Required)

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