Very quickly, two authors of a pseudo-history sued Dan Brown for copywrite voliate for using concepts for his historical novel. As Cohen explains below, the historical assertions of the first book have been refuted by susequent scholarship – and are hare-brained to be sure. These authors seem to want it both ways: first the wanted the cred of nonfiction labeling for shit they pulled out of their asses, and then the wanted protection for ideas they claimed to be original. Didn’t work out that way.
In the Guardian: NIck Cohen says,
Dan Brown has been called many things, but never ‘my hero’. Until now.
If there has been a worse book published in the past 25 years, then Holy Blood, Holy Grail could well be it. Its three authors present as plausible historical speculation their theory that Jesus did not die on the cross, but had a child with Mary Magdalene. Like so many expats, they moved to France, and their descendants became Merovingian kings in the Dark Ages. The heirs of Jesus survive to this day, feared by the Vatican and protected by an enigmatic institution, the Priory of Sion.
The authors did not withdraw the book when journalists found that their claims about the Priory of Sion came from documents forged on a cheap stencil by a French neofascist conman called Pierre Planchard, who said he was the rightful Merovingian king of France. There was no need to. Exposure of the hoax did not dent their sales, which now stand at around two million.