But what makes him stand out above his peers in the thriller stakes is his skill at systematically denigrating the Roman Catholic church, an institution which continues to demonstrate, even today, it's institutional corruption. The Vatican State has been a law unto itself for centuries and its defence of its wealth and power goes unabated. In the 16th century a Pope led his own army into battle, and earlier still, the Crusades against the Muslims were an example not of a peace-loving, all forgiving religion but of a blood-thirsty campaign to crush its enemies and forceably convert people to its point of view. Religion by force makes a mockery of the essence of Christ's gospel. The modern equivalent would be the control of the population by Orwell's thought police.
In recent times the scandal of child abuse by Catholic priests continues, and while the Pope and an array of Archbishops wring their hands about their past and present mistakes they are not taking steps to either report their knowledge to the local Police or to defrock the priests in question.
What all of this demonstrates is that organised religion like the Roman Catholic church (only one of many I have the same problem with) is man-made and is designed by its leaders to control the lives and behaviour of the population at large. The Christian church is based on four contradictory gospels written around 80 years after Christ was on the planet. So the inevitable distortion of details derived from word-of-mouth stories, passed through at least three generations, means we have a highly stylised version of events relating to Christ's life.
The fact that we don't have a written text from Christ himself is telling. He was a very clever young man who purportedly could take on the elders of the church in debate in Jerusalem. He had apparently a number of followers, some of whom no doubt could also read and write, and who could therefore have received the written text for safe-keeping to inform the first Christian church as it was created. But we have none of this. Either Christ wasn't as clever as now thought and never wrote anything, or any text has been systematically suppressed because it was inconveniently modest in its ambitions, and/or his life and works have been exaggerated to serve the interests of the Church's leaders 2,000 years ago, and ever since.
So anyone like Dan Brown who can turn the tables on the Vatican through a work of fiction (with a few elements of truth) is only doing what the gospel writers did 2,000 years ago. You pay your money and you take your choice, and I know what I would rather take to a beach this summer...