Author: Dan Brown
No. of Pages: 496 pages
First Published: 2000
Synopsis (Courtesy of B&N): “When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol — seared into the chest of a murdered physicist — he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati…the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy — the Catholic Church.
Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican’s holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.
Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair…a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.
An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.”
Comments and Critiques: As with most books I’ve read during the past few months, I was looking for something light and which required little in the way of thought (in direct opposition to the work I was doing on my Masters’ thesis). Angels & Demons did not disappoint on that point. In fact, there were times where rational thought had to be completely ignored in order to get through certain sections.
However, even though some of the sections are extremely unlikely and quite preposterous, Mr. Brown does an excellent job of creating an intriguing mystery. As with The Da Vinci Code, the book is fast-paced and suspenseful. It is engaging and definitely keeps you turning the pages in an effort to discover the next piece of the puzzle.
What is interesting is that in The Da Vinci Code, Mr. Brown takes a decidedly anti-Catholic bent. Angels & Demons concerns itself more with protecting the Catholic Church and questions scientific involvement in the downfall of religion. No matter what your opinion on the matters presented in either novel, Mr. Brown does give a reader food for thought.
The book itself is much bloodier, more violent, and more adult than The Da Vinci Code. Some of the science mentioned are quite highbrow, even though Mr. Brown does a decent job of presenting the topics in layman’s terms for the general population.
In general, possibly due to the more adult themes, I found this a much more enjoyable read than other Dan Brown novels. In spite of the incredulity which accompanies some of the scenes, it kept my interest from the opening pages. It also took my mind off what I was trying so hard to forget for a few hours. I would definitely recommend this book to others, if they haven’t already read it.