Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Author Dan Brown "astounded" at plagiarism claim

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Pointing out that he had credited the work of Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh in his novel The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown said on Monday he was "astounded" at allegations he had copied their work.

"I would like to restate that I remain astounded by the claimants' choice to file this plagiarism suit," he wrote in a statement released after he appeared on the stand in court, said Reuters.

"For them to suggest, as I understand they do, that I have hijacked and exploited their work is simply untrue."

Baigent and Lee wrote the 1982 nonfiction book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which supposes that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and that Mary and their children fled to France after Jesus's crucifixion.

Brown said in his statement: "Messieurs Baigent and Leigh are only two of a number of authors who have written about the bloodline story and yet I went out of my way to mention them for being the ones who brought the theory to mainstream attention."

In the novel, one of Brown's main characters is named Leigh Teabing — an anagram of "Baigent." Brown refers directly to Holy Blood, Holy Grail in the storyline of The Da Vinci Code.

An important legal precedent may be set by this case, which is expected to end next week. The judge could take weeks before delivering his judgement.

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