Friday, August 18, 2006

Jack Dunn vs. Dan Brown

Most of the furor regarding "The DaVinci Code" has died down, but in my little corner of the world things are just getting interesting. A local man, Jack Dunn, wrote a book called "The Vatican Boys" several years ago. "The DaVinci Code" is strikingly similar. Our local Catholic newspaper, "The Catholic Observer" ran an article on him a few weeks ago. You can Read the article here.

Since this article was written, my brother-in-law has taken on the case and filed a multi-million dollar suit against Random House on behalf of Jack Dunn. Mr. Dunn sent me the following media release which I am happy to share with you:

Media Release

Regarding the US District court filing by Jack Dunn against Dan Brown, Random House and Sony Pictures of August 16, 2006 for copyright infringement.

1. The Vatican Boys was published and copyrighted in 1997. The Da Vinci Code was published and copyrighted in 2003. Alerted by readers of my new book, Holyoke-The Belle Skinner Legacy in December 2005-January 2006 that there were substantial similarities in the texts of The Vatican Boys and The Da Vinci Code I read the book for the first time in January 2006 and noticed immediately what I consider to be substantial similarities that relate to the structure of the stories, including but not limited to the characters, plots, themes, scenes, feel and flows of the stories. While I was reading some of the scenes in The Da Vinci Code it appeared to me like I was re-reading what I wrote in The Vatican Boys.

2. I alerted Random House and Sony Pictures on 4/26/06 2006 that I felt there were problems with the contents of the books and possible copyright infringements. I received no response from either company except a letter from Random House that they received my complaint.

3. In good faith I sent a copy of the Vatican Boys to Random House for them to review.

4. After soliciting and receiving several opinions of Literary experts and a screenwriter whose analysis confirmed my opinions that there were substantial similarities in themes, plots characters, and feel of the story that they felt would be ‘noticeable to a lay reader’ I filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts on August 16, 2006 a copy of which has been emailed to you. Damages are estimated to be in excess of $400 Million Dollars.

Cited in the complaint by means of ‘flow charts’ are the sequences of events and character interactions of The Vatican Boys that also appear in The Da Vinci Code. A far as similar phrasing or scenes that appears in both books there are many examples:

5. TVB page 209, “it’s a way of getting Catherine out of this,” – TDC page 409 -Langdon refers to, “getting Sophie out of here alive” in TDC

6. Both Catherine Turrell and Sophie Neveu have reoccurring nightmares, and they both ‘dream about Bridges’.

7. Page 61, TDC, “Each term was indeed the sum of the two previous,” and in TVB on page 171 “the first two and the last two digits of each set were exactly the same,” the use of variations of number sequences that involve the number 2 to figure out the codes.

8. Catherine Turrell in TVB is in her 30’s, is a beautiful and rebellious French woman whose family has a county estate in France. Her father has a friend who is a Knight Banker who helps Turrell get away and then helps Hathaway and Turrell gain access to accounts at his bank that contain secrets that are accessed by using a number combination involving the number 2 and a five-letter of the alphabet password. Sophie Neveu is in her 30’s, is a beautiful and rebellious French woman whose family has a county estate in France. Her Grandfather has a friend who is a Knight Banker who helps her and Langdon gain access to a safety deposit box that is in his bank that contains a secret that is accessed by using a number combination involving the number 2 and the five-letter of the alphabet password. Once they get the secret he then helps them to get away.

9. On Pages 275-279 of TDC, a strangely noticeable similar scene takes place that is substantially similar to a scene in TVB in Pages 180-188, where Neveu, Langdon and Teabing have the cryptex that will lead them to the Holy Grail (Relic), and Silas the Opus Dei soldier beaks in to where they are all together, trying to get it. Silas now has a ‘injured right ankle’ that he gets at this exact point in the story. In TVB Rovarik, Hathaway and Turrell are in a place all together with the relic and the Opus Dei mercenary Jeremy breaks in trying to get it and Hathaway at this same point in the story has just fallen and has ‘a injured right ankle’.

10. The use of “playing cat and mouse,” –TVB page 43 – “game of cat and mouse,”- TDC page 293.

11. Descriptions of what the characters ‘see’ or ‘look at’ the same point in both stories in London as Fleet Street is used as a ‘major point of entry’ for the characters in the stories in both books, TDC page 337, “Fleet Street?” There’s a crypt on Fleet Street?” - TDC page 347 descriptions in the Temple Church of, ”Langdon was feeling gooseflesh too as they stepped into the circular chamber His eye traced the curvature of the chambers pale stone perimeter, taking in the carvings of gargoyles, demons, monsters and pained human faces all staring inward.” TVB Page 155, - Fearsome dragons guard the entrances to Old London, hellish demons perched on tall pedestals said to stop evils from entering the city. The most prominent one is on Fleet Street,” - on page 156, Catherine, “she looked up to see the dragon on its Fleet Street perch. Seeing it reminded her of the nightmares, the ones in which a gorgon haunted and hunted her on a bridge.” In both stories when the characters look at their surroundings, they ‘see’ dragons and demons.

These are just a few of the hundreds of examples of similarities in the ‘use of characters, phrasing, scenes, descriptions, information’ that first appeared in the fictional novel The Vatican Boys that are used in The Da Vinci Code. There are many others listed in the charts by comparisons of the stories, the line -up of characters, the events and the flows of information into the plots of the stories of the two books compared in sequence. The arrangements of the ‘words’ may have been changed around to try to conceal the duplications, but the nature of the use of the same ideas and characters and the similar phrasing or descriptions of the characters interactions are unmistakable.

And, we are talking about two books of Fiction.

Jack Dunn


M said...

Wow, that is terrible that that happened to this man. I hope that he wins his case. Is he Catholic, the author?

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Hi Mary,

Yes Jack Dunn is Catholid. We are all keeping our fingers crossed!

Anonymous said...

I believe the British case regarding Holy Blood, Holy Grail showed that Dan Brown's wife Blyth sourced over 38 books.
I think the authors of each of these books should be notified.
Louis Perdue - author of "Davici Legacy" pub. 1983 I believe is also suing Dan Brown.

Olympia said...

I hope that Jack Dunn will win the case. The castle Ch√Ęteau Hattonch√Ętel is a magnificent hide away place and wedding location.

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