Dan Brown has become famous after the Da Vinci Code as his previous novels were only moderately successful having sold less than 10,000 copies. Angels and Demons is the first adventure of a hero of a new generation: Robert Langdon.
The book starts when Harvard specialist in religious symbols, Robert Langdon, receives a strange phone call asking him about the Illuminati. The Illuminati were a group of Renaissance scientists, including Galileo and other famous men, who met secretly in Rome to discuss new ideas in safety from papal threat. At that time the church was against science in general and scientists were executed or prosecuted as enemies of the church. However, the group was supposedly gone long ago. They were a secret group, kind of Masonic in style, with a secret symbology. The symbols were ambigrams – words that look the same written upside down or the right side up. Langdon had made a study of the supposedly extinct group and their symbols. But the phone call brought proof that the group is still alive.
A famous scientist, Dr. Vetra, is murdered leaving behind a beautiful daughter to help Langdon discover the meaning behind his death and the ambigram – Illuminati – that is tattooed on his dead body. His daughter, Vittoria, reveals that they had both been working on a secret project – anti-matter. A sample of this anti-matter is missing. It must be found within 6 hours or the explosion could destroy an entire city, a city such as Vatican City. It is also revealed that with the death of the current Pope, all the Cardinals of the Catholic Church will be gathered in the Vatican to decide who the next Pope will be. This is where the anti-matter is supposed to be. Along with the fact that the head of the Vatican’s security finds it hard to believe it exists at all and so is reluctant to help to locate it. He is more concerned with the fact that the four men who are being considered for Pope are missing. This complicates things a bit since the Cardinals who are gathered in the meeting cannot leave until the new Pope is chosen. Never in the history of the Catholic Church have the doors been opened before a Pope is selected.
So, you’ve got four missing men, missing anti-matter, a scientific anti-religious group who are suppose d to be long gone and only 6 hours to solve everything. It is the job of Robert Langdon and Vittoria to follow the path of illumination by solving old clues left for secret scientists long ago to discover who is behind all this and try to save the lives of the Cardinals before it is too late. But if that isn’t enough to keep them busy, there are also many people who want them to fail and so are trying to kill them as they follow the path. Along with those in the Vatican who don’t believe any of it. Unbeatable odds? Maybe. You should read the book to find out.
For a long time I refused to read a book by Dan Brown. When I finally succumbed to the Da Vinci Code, I found that there was much to be said for the book. Controversy always sells, and using Mary Magdalene, Leonardo Da Vinci and the Vatican as your main reference points, it was clear that the book was a wonderful bomb.