I succumbed to hype and purchased The Da Vinci Code late last year. I was pleasantly surprised to find the book interesting and thought-provoking. I say "surprised" because I'm usually disappointed by movies and books that are fawned over by the public.
In February I bought Dan Brown's prequel Angels and Demons. It's a prequel in the sense that the main character from Code, Robert Langdon, is introduced in Angels.
I actually enjoyed this book more than Code. It was more of a page-turner with an end result that I did not see coming. The setting for the book is Vatican City within the background of a papal conclave.
Ironically, I finished the book about ten days before the death of John Paul II. The pope's death has resulted in a flurry of interest in Angels and Demons. When I bought the paperback version of the book on eBay, I paid around three dollars. A quick eBay search reveals that prices have gotten higher. It's still a good book and highly recommended.