As Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code continues to draw flak, author Frans Sammut has joined the fray by writing a critique of the book.

Mr Sammut, a former headmaster, is known for his novels il-Gagga and Samuraj.

Mr Sammut's book, On The Da Vinci Code, was published by BDL and launched over the weekend. Mr Sammut said he wrote his critique "in a matter of days".

"I had read the book some three years ago as a friend of mine had sent it to me from Australia. I did not think much about it except that I recall it was superficial and shallow.

"But following the hullabaloo raised about it, I wrote a letter in the Sunday Times on May 7 and after it appeared, I was encouraged to write a more in-depth critique, a challenge I took up," he said.

"I am not posing as a defender of the faith but I believe there are limits to how low one can stoop and offend people's religious sentiments. Had Dan Brown written about the Prophet Mohammed in the same way as he has written about Jesus, he would have made news in other ways," Mr Sammut said.

"I sense a strong degree of arrogance and unfounded presumption. Mr Brown has twisted historical facts to fit his pattern, assumed that Jesus was married simply because there was no proof to the contrary and giving a strong brush of colour to old scripts, filled in the blanks with words that fitted his story.

"I cannot but conclude that Mr Brown either does not know what he was writing about or he wants to offend Christians and make money in the process. I do not advocate censorship, and whoever wants to read the DaVinci Code should be free to do so, but one should read it with an open mind and not assume that what one is reading is necessarily the truth," Mr Sammut said.

He said that irrespective of the outcome of lawsuits claiming plagiarism that have been instituted against Mr Brown, he believed that the author "more than helped himself to ideas from Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh's book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. He even used the names of characters used in this book."

According to Mr Sammut, The Da Vinci Code "is full of useless and irrelevant anecdotal information" that is used to lend credibility to the plot. But the cherry on the cake goes to Mr Brown when he referred to Leonardo Da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper and argued the figure on Christ's right hand side is Mary Magdalene to whom he was married and not St John.

"It shows the extent to which the author was prepared to go in a bid to try to prove his point, but it also shows that he is stretching the point beyond justifiable limits," Mr Sammut said.

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