Finished reading The Secret Supper yesterday, the sort of reading material I usually don’t bother with but I found it in the bargain section of Borders and decided to pick it up for some casual reading. Though I can’t compare it to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, which I never read, according to some reviews (and one of the reasons I ended up picking it up), Sierra’s novel offers something that Brown’s lacked: it’s well-written.
The story, in a nutshell, is about a priest named Agostino Leyre who is sent from Rome to the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie in present day Milan to investigate a certain Leonardo da Vinci as he works on a suspicious piece of art, his Cenacolo, the Last Supper. Rome has received anonymous tips from a Soothsayer who sends notes, riddles to the Holy See warning them that, for instance, if the Santa Maria della Grazie, while it was being built, should be finished it would bring calamities to the papacy. And so Fr. Agostino is sent to solve a few mysteries: to solve this most recent code that was sent, to figure out who the mysterious Soothsayer is and what exactly are the charges he has against Leonardo da Vinci.
In the book the suggestion is made that the famed painter was not a good Christian. Moreover, he is depicted as one who is awaiting the coming of the church of St. John, part of the Cathar heresy and there is clearly a message he is trying to convey in his masterpiece. I suppose I shouldn’t spoil the end for anyone out there that wants to go out and read this book. It’s a word. Jesus forms the obvious letter “A” in the center of the picture and now to figure out the other letters…In the end, the word is actually the name of a Cathar sacrament.
It’s fact mixed with fiction so that in the end one isn’t quite sure what part is history and what part, well, just casual reading.