A review of Javier Sierra's The Secret Supper
A new novel, based "90 per cent on historical facts", depicts Leonardo Da Vinci as a heretic who painted his own face into The Last Supper, and claims that the painting portrays Saint Peter as a traitor and carries a blasphemous message.
The The Secret Supper, which has sold more than 500,000 copies in Europe, is set to rival The Da Vinci Code for conspiracy theories about one of the most famous figures in art history.
The novel portrays Da Vinci as a Cathar, a member of a gnostic sect outlawed by the Roman Catholic Church.
The story, which is being fought over by Hollywood studios hoping to emulate The Da Vinci Code phenomenon, is set in 1497 and told by Fr Augustin Leyre, a Vatican monk and expert code-breaker.
He is sent to infiltrate the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery in Milan, the home of The Last Supper, after anonymous letters to the Pope accuse Da Vinci of concealing subversive ideas in his work. The monk deciphers the painting into a series of Cathar messages, revealing Da Vinci's denunciation of the Church.
Javier Sierra, the novel's Spanish author, claims that most his characters and events are based on historical records. "The book is fiction but 90 per cent of the facts are real," he said.
You can find the full review here