Two years after publication of the novel, "The Da Vinci Code", and following worldwide sales of more than 25 million copies, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa, has joined the ranks of other prominent theologians and members of the Catholic Church who have been speaking out against Dan Browns bestselling book. Speaking on Vatican Radio, the cardinal appealed to Catholics not to read or buy the novel. He said that they should not be misled by the false information it contains. The cardinal asked what would have happened had a similar book, of such mendacity, been written about Buddha or Muhammad or if a book had been published altering the truth about the Shoah.

Brown has always claimed that it is a work of fiction but at the same time has asserted that the documents and secret rituals that he describes are true to reality. Cardinal Bertone asserted that the book was deliberately designed to damage the good image that Catholic Church achieved in the wake of the millennium holy year.

Market tendencies show that controversy increases book sales, and Brown's previous novel "Angels and Demons", which also features Harvard professor Robert Langdon, has recently appeared in Italian bookshops.