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Terror in the Vatican
on 17 January 2004
Dan Brown's Angels and Demons is a fast-paced detective drama that involves science, art, the Catholic Church, and murder.
Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon is the protagonist who finds himself at a Swiss nuclear research facility. It seems a scientist, who specialized in explosive antimatter, has been murdered and the historically infamous society, the Illuminati, is involved. The antimatter has been taken, and Langdon joins the scientist's daughter, Vittoria, on a mad dash through some of Rome's most famous landmarks, in an effort to find it before the Vatican is leveled.
If you read "The Da Vinci Code," this plot will be very familiar to you: Robert receives yet another call in the middle of the night, is taken to see another dead man killed by a secret anti-Catholic society, and helps the victim's lovely daughter/granddaughter unravel a series of clues to solve the crime - all at breakneck speed!
I liked the plot of Angels and Demons and found much of middle section wonderfully absorbing and tense, as Robert and Vittoria decipher ancient clues and race from place to place in Rome, fast on the heels of a murderer. The beginning of the book, which discusses antimatter, was slow-going for me and the conclusion is way over the top in terms of realism. The timeline was a major stumbling block: Being able to travel great distances across Rome in minutes (even seconds) took away some credibility for me.
In spite of the weaknesses, the basic story of Angels and Demons is very exciting and, at times, even spine-tingling. If you have been to Rome, you will enjoy revisiting the city in this book. You'll also learn about the inner workings of the Vatican, how a new Pope is selected, and about the Illuminati, which I found fascinating.