June 2, 2013

Journalist Tony Wall Interviews Judge Tompkins on His Research Used in Dan Brown's "Inferno"

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA blog Editor-in-Chief

A replica of the Four Horses of
St. Mark's sit atop the Arc de Triomphe
 du Carrousel in Paris. 
Here's a link to journalist Tony Wall's story in the Fairfax NZ News, "Judge's Facts Become Work of Blockbusting Fiction", about how novelist Dan Brown appeared to have used the work ARCA Lecturer Arthur Tompkins published on this blog in the Doubleday book Inferno.

Wall writes:
A colleague in Italy emailed Tompkins and told him to check out the book. He popped into a bookshop in Matakana, north of Auckland, and found the relevant page. 
"I went back and looked at the article I wrote in 2011 and there it was, that passage. It's a small feeling of personal satisfaction that some work you've done has been read by someone else and then turned up in a place that I never would have expected to see it." 
Tompkins says Brown gets some of his facts slightly wrong - Brown says Napoleon displayed the horses on top of the Arc de Triomphe, when in fact they were displayed on a smaller arc nearby. 
He is also definitive about where and when the statutes were created, when no-one knows for sure. 
But that doesn't bother Tompkins too much. "He's very clever in the way he creates a feeling that he's revealing important secrets, where none of it's much secret at all. You get the feeling you're on this enormous treasure hunt."