Now Brown is being shaken up in a London courtroom, upon charges by the historian authors of a *non-fiction* book "The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail" who claim he's plagiarized ideas and key concepts from their work. The writers are actually suing Random House (curiously enough, they published both the books) for copyright infringement and not Dan Brown, but Brown is the one in the hot seat as it's his work which is at the root of this case.
Brown has admitted to checking up this 1982 released non-fiction book but insists it was only one among five other books that he and his primary researcher Blythe, who is also his wife, went through during their research into writing this mega-seller but only *after* he was well into the Da Vinci writing process. Brown's more than well-thumbed copy of HBHG with its copious notes, color-coded jottings and underlined passages on pages festooned with tape markers has the ruling Judge skeptical as to Brown's claims that he only went through it once. The case right now is only just in favor of Dan Brown but it can go in any direction. Depends on how much more probing the publicity-shy Brown can take from the opposing lawyers.
Whatever the end result, it's bad news for readers as no doubt this will delay the release of Brown's highly-anticipated next book whatever it may be. Coincidentally "The Da Vinci Code" was first released March 18, 2003. And if the judge upholds the 10 Million pounds claim, there could be a lengthy delay or even ban on the book-based blockbuster movie-in-waiting starring Tom Hanks set to release May 19th. Will their success also mean that the Da Vinci Code will be withdrawn from the bookstores? It's unlikely but let's hope it never comes down to that. Author J.Carson Black has some strong opinions on this subject and raises the ever-controversial question - at which point does inspiration becomes plagiarism? Check out the author's March 14th blog entry.