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Angels & Demons: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown – A Thumbs Up Ten Star Thriller

June 24, 2011
Angels & Demons: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown

It takes guts to write a novel that combines an ancient secret brotherhood, the Swiss Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, a papal conclave, mysterious ambigrams, a plot against the Vatican, a mad scientist in a wheelchair, particles of antimatter, jets that can travel 15,000 miles per hour, crafty assassins, a beautiful Italian physicist, and a Harvard professor of religious iconology. It takes talent to make that novel anything but ridiculous. Kudos to Dan Brown (Digital Fortress) for achieving the nearly impossible. Angels & Demons is a no-holds-barred, pull-out-all-the-stops, breathless tangle of a thriller–think Katherine Nevilles The Eight (but cleverer) or Umberto Ecos Foucaults Pendulum (but more accessible). Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati–dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism–is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the societys ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared–only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetras daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization. Brown seems as much juggler as author–there are lots and lots of balls in the air in this novel, yet Brown manages to hurl the reader headlong into an almost surreal suspension of disbelief. While the reader might wish for a little more sardonic humor from Langdon, and a little less bombastic philosophizing on the eternal conflict between religion and science, these are less fatal flaws than niggling annoyances–readers should have no trouble skimming past them and immersing themselves in a heck of a good read. Brain candy it may be, but my! Its tasty. –Kelly Flynn

Look Inside the Motion Picture Angels & Demons (Sony Pictures, 2009) Click on each image below to see a larger view

Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca with College of Cardinals

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon and Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra

Armin Mueller-Stahl as Straus and Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra, and Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca

Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca

Exstentions
Harvard professor Robert Langdon, an expert in symbology, is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol burned into the chest of murdered physicist, Leonardo Vetra and he discovers the work of the Illuminati, the most powerful underground organization in the history of the world. Since the time of Galileo, they have promoted science as opposed to blind devotion to the Church. Now it looks like they may finally have come out of hiding.

Shortly before his death, Vetra used a particle accelerator in an attempt to reproduce Genesis and created matter from nothing by colliding energy beams at extremely high speeds, proving that matter can be created, thus explaining both the Big Bang and Genesis. However, Vetra’s research has created a deadly byproduct, highly explosive antimatter, which was captured by his lab partner and daughter, Vittoria, and suspended in canisters with magnetic fields.

One of the canisters has been stolen by Vetra’s murderer and when its battery pack runs on in twenty-four hours, the canister’s antimatter will come into contact with matter and explode, destroying an area about the size of a small city. And guess what, a mysterious canister has been seen inside Vatican City, where the College of Cardinals is convening to elect a new Pope.

It seems only Langdon’s knowledge of Illuminati propaganda can save the church and Langdon and Vittoria race around Rome on a desperate hunt through crypts, catacombs and cathedrals, following a four hundred-year-old trail of ancient symbols that leads them toward the Illuminati.

All right, so maybe the book deviates a bit from historical fact. But it is fiction, after all. And darn good fiction at that. There is a reason why Mr. Brown has so many bestselling books in your local bookstore, several reasons as a matter of fact and ANGELS & DEMONS is only one of them. Mr. Brown gives us terrific people, terrific description and terrific thrills in this book that I found impossible to put down.

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Angels & Demons: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown

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