In ``The Secret Supper'' Leonardo da Vinci is accused of heresy as his latest and overly original painting showing Jesus Christ dining with his 12 disciples provokes the fury of Pope Alexander VI.
Just translated into English, the novel by the Spanish journalist Javier Sierra is already a bestseller in Spain, where it has sold about 250,000 copies since its 2004 publication. Those are huge numbers, if not quite up to the ``other'' thriller featuring Jesus and the works of Leonardo, Dan Brown's ``The Da Vinci Code,'' which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
Sierra spoke with me at Bloomberg's New York headquarters about da Vinci's genius, his own novel and the competition.
Schatz: People inevitably compare ``The Secret Supper'' to ``The Da Vinci Code.'' How are they different?
Sierra: Dan Brown uses Leonardo da Vinci like a cultural reference. In my book, Leonardo is still alive; he's painting his masterpiece ``The Last Supper'' in the convent Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
My main purpose was to get in contact with the mind of the genius, to enter the mind of Leonardo. And that was not the purpose of Dan Brown. The ``Da Vinci Code'' is a page turner; mine is also a page turner, but ``The Da Vinci Code'' is a contemporary thriller and mine is more like Umberto Eco's ``The Name of the Rose.''
You can find the full interview here