Wife of Dan Brown, Blythe emerged as a key figure in the case, collecting research material before her husband wrote the novel and arguing for the inclusion of some of its most important themes.Rayner James said Blythe’s evidence was of “fundamental importance” to the case.
“It was crucial in revealing the dependency on HBHG and the extent to which she relied upon it,” he said. “Perhaps that explains why she was not produced.”
Dan Brown, who was not in court but spent three days under cross-examination last week, had explained that he wanted to keep his wife away from the media spotlight.
The lawyer criticized Brown, 41, for being vague about dates and sources. He also admitted his own client Baigent had been “a poor witness.” The historians argue that Blythe must have referred to the Holy Blood book before Brown wrote his synopsis for The Da Vinci Code in January 2001, contrary to his witness statement.
Copyright lawyers believe the historians may struggle to convince the judge they can copyright general ideas, while publishing executives say the case underlines the saying: “Where there’s a hit, there’s a writ.”
It is not the first time Brown has been accused of plagiarism. Last August he won a court ruling against Lewis Perdue, who alleged The Da Vinci Code copied elements of two of his novels, Daughter of God and The Da Vinci Legacy.
The losing side in the current case faces over one million pounds ($1.75 million) in legal costs, though the publicity has caused a spike in sales of the Holy Blood book.
Also set to benefit from the media coverage is the Hollywood movie of The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, out in May; the release of the U.S. paperback edition of the novel on March 28, and Baigent, whose book The Jesus Papers is due out next week.