Dan Brown's controversial novel THE DA VINCI CODE scooped the top prize at the BRITISH BOOK AWARDS in London last night (20APR05).

The Vatican City-based thriller - which won the Book of the Year award at the prestigious ceremony - has sparked outrage with claims the Catholic Church concealed the fact that Jesus Christ married ex-prostitute Mary Magdalene and fathered her child.

But despite the angry reaction of some Catholic heads, The Da Vinci Code has become an international best-seller and the subject of a blockbuster film starring Tom Hanks and SIR Ian McKellen.

Other high achievers at the awards bash included former US President BILL CLINTON's MY BIOGRAPHY (Biography of the Year), Michael Palin's HIMALAYA (TV + Film Book of the Year) and Best Author winner Sheila Hancock for THE TWO OF US - a personal account of her life with late actor JOHN THAW.

21/04/2005 13:35