Meet Kathleen McGowan, novelist and self-proclaimed descendant of a union between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. McGowan, who says she is from the "sacred bloodline" Brown made famous in his mega-selling novel, says she's ready to cope with people who think she's crazy or a heretic.
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Think of McGowan as an Americanized Sophie Neveu come to life. In Da Vinci Code, Sophie (played by Audrey Tautou in this summer's movie adaptation) is a French woman who discovers she is a descendant of Jesus and Mary — a concept many Christians reject.
The Expected One (Touchstone, $25.95) is being published at a time when religious thrillers are a hot commodity for publishers and fans of Brown, who hunger for suspenseful novels that mix religion, history and conspiracy.
McGowan says her book is not a Da Vinci Code knockoff.
"Everyone's going to think I'm on The Da Vinci Code bandwagon, but I'm not," says McGowan, who began working on her book in 1989. The Da Vinci Code was published in 2003.
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So far, McGowan is offering only her word about her lineage and only hints at her proof. In addition to the visions, she says, she has discovered that her family is related to an ancient French lineage that traces its roots to Jesus and Mary Magdalene's descendants. Legend holds that Mary Magdalene settled in France after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. "That's all I'm prepared to say right now," McGowan says. Some members of her family, she explains, want her to respect their privacy and not discuss it.
Despite the lack of hard evidence, McGowan's supporters include her literary agent Larry Kirshbaum, who left his position as CEO of Time Warner Books in December to start his own literary agency. McGowan was one of his first clients and he helped her get a seven-figure, three-book deal with Simon & Schuster. (Her next two books pick up where The Expected One leaves off.)
I previously said that Dr. James Tabor was writing the Da Vinci Code bandwagon, and while I continue to think is book is a simply misguided, I backed off that statement. However, since The Da Vinci Code has been shown repeatedly to be a farce (and you can link to any number of websites that discuss the issue from the CADRE Da Vinci Code page), I will not hestitate to say that I do think she's riding the Da Vinci Code gravy train and merely trying to sell books.
Anyone believe her? I'd sure like to know why.