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4.1 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 9 June 2005
Most people reading this will have already read the authors more famous publication: the Da Vinci Code. From the moment you pick up this book the similarities are obvious, the same lead character, the same phone-call-in-the-night start etc. However, once you have read the first few chapters it is apparent that this book is completely different.
Anyone who was captivated by the puzzles and clues in the Da Vinci Code will be equally satisfied with Angels and Demons. Like the Da Vinci Code this is a particularly intellectual book and you will be educated while reading it, although this time not about the works of Da Vinci, but instead particle physics and Roman churches. Once again the level of research carried-out by the author in order for the book to contain as many facts as possible is astounding. My main criticism is that where the Da Vinci Code was believable in most places, the plot of this book becomes rather far-fetched, especially towards the end.
If you enjoyed the Da Vinci Code read this, if you have yet to encounter Dan Brown's books then this is also a good place to start.
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on 23 April 2016
Not the first book by Dan Brown but the first book to feature Robert Langdon who is a well fleshed out believable and likeable character. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader occupied whilst posing thought provoking questions about science and God.
A word of caution, this has been made into a film but the films were made in the wrong order with this book being made second and several characters and their actions and motives were altered substantially for the film, so if you saw the film and were dissatisfied try the book as I am certain you will not be disappointed. After all, the original source material is nearly always better than the Hollywood interpretation.
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on 5 July 2004
Since having grabbing my attention with the Da Vinci Code, I have become something of a fan of Mr Brown's books. However, reading Angels & Demons took away some of the 'magic' that had captivated me after reading the Da Vinci Code (DVC).
This book starts out alot slower than the DVC but once it gets going you're hooked as Robert Langdon races round Rome trying to find an (H)assassin before it's too late, the details and ambigrams in this book really did surprise me and I was once again sucked into the fantastic world of Dan Brown, his writing is truly refreshing (although his plots sometimes leave alot to be desired). While you could cast the niggling doubts you had about the plot in the DVC aside - due to the fact that it might just be possible - Angels & Demons pushes the reader too far in terms of what they can regard as plausible.
I'll try not to give too much away but falling 3 Miles into foaming water (no matter how much Dan wants you to believe that it's three times softer than standing water) especially when this water isn't an ocean (relatively shallow) you just really wonder whether Mr Brown wrote himself into a corner that he can only get out of by coming up with something incredibly dubious and highly unbelievable which totally spoils the book - unless you can read this part and then pretend it never happened :)
Despite my dislike at how the book arrives at its otherwise excellent conclusion (including a truly unexpected twist) I enjoyed Angels & Demons. Dan Brown really does research his books well and even if you don't subscribe to his views you still have to admire the detail he goes into in his book, the ambigrams alone are worth picking this book up for as i'd never seen one until i read Angels & Demons!
Recommended although it's a long way off the DVC.
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on 11 September 2003
I read this after reading the Da Vinci Code, and found it to be every bit as good. Less codes maybe(!), but great twists, a really complex but easily readable plot, Dan Brown is quickly becomming one of my favourite authors. His descriptions of the Vatican and modern Rome are superb and his research is clearly very extensive.
Despite being a clever book, steeped in religious & art history and a deeply twisting plot, it manages to stay fun and a real page-turner.
I would recommend this to anyone.
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on 21 November 2016
A leading scientist at CERN is murdered and his creation (antimatter) is stolen and placed inside the Vatican. The Illuminati, long thought to have ceased to exist are again threatenings the church with total and absolute destruction, the pope is dead and the four cardinals most likely to succeed him have been kidnapped. Robert Langdon, a symbologist is hired by the director of CERN to investigate. Along with Vittoria Vetra, the daughter of the murdered scientist, Langdon takes his investigation to Rome and the Vatican where he encounters deception, puzzles and murder. From beginning to end I enjoyed the book and would read it again (even though I've just finished reading it for the second time), I recommend it to anyone who likes a good murder mystery, five stars from me. I'm now off to read Dan Browns sequel to angels and demons, The Davinci code.
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on 21 November 2004
Having read some of the other reviews about this book I was a little disheartened. I've also read several other Dan Brown books and the way the story works in this book is very different to the others. It was however pleasantly surprising once I was a few chapters into it. The book was a little slow to start with, but I suppose that's because of the amount of detail that Dan Brown has included (which always amazes me).
The book, as has been described by others revolves around science and religion, a deadly plot to overthrough the catholic church and Robert Langdon, a symbologist from Harvard who is called in to help solve the mystery. I found this book to be excellent reading (a real can't 'put-downer')and at one point I caught myself questionning my ideas of God and Science so it must have had some kind of effect on me!!
In short.. it's not the Da Vinci Code, but then do you want an author to produce the same thing over and over.
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on 21 April 2004
Reading the reviews, you may notice that most people either love or hateDan Brown. This is because he is so two-sided. On the one hand, he prideshimself on the depth of his research. One the other hand, some of it isterrible. On the one hand, his story concepts are original andinteresting; on the other the plots are cliched and cheesy.
Angels and Demons is the pre-cursor to the currently much celebrated "DaVinci Code", and after you have read one, you will enjoy the other, butyou won't gain anything. These are literally two identical books.Actually, all of Brown's books have the same premise (Erudite leadcharacter, a love interest, a seemingly all-powerful mysterious villainwith a strange but deadly henchman.)
Angels and Demons is a race against the clock around the Vatican City witha very engaging story centering on an encient enmity between the RC Churchand a secret society. All very good, the historical/geographical detail isexcellent.
The problems centre around the action - important in any thriller. Brownjust doesn't seem to care enough to research and construct it carefully.You are left with ridiculous action sequences that would look OTT in aJames Bond trailer. Sometimes, the structure and description of a sequenceis so bad, you have no idea what just happened - you just know thatsomehow someone was killed/saved/rescued.
Whilst the storytelling is strong, the book really does get let down onthese points. It's a shame really. I do recommend reading it though - withsome work, Brown may become the consistent popular fiction heavy hitter heaspires to be.
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on 4 July 2004
I decided to read this book before I read the more famous The Da Vinci Code. The beginning and the middle of the story are action packed and very believable - some of the religious content makes you want to believe.
It has all the familiar trademarks of a traditional thriller, innocent hero, female interest and noteable baddie.
Where I feel it failed a little was at the end. Some of the action and supposed reality became fantasy although Dan Brown was playing on the premise of miracles actually happening.
The final twist was gut wrenching because I actually felt I had been through this adventure with the characters. The characters emotions were very believable although some of the action was far fetched.
I am about to read The Da Vinci Code and if it gives as much reading pleasure as Angels and Demons I will be very impressed.
If you want a good thriller that takes you away from the rigours of normal life and transports you back in time and straight back to the future at lightening speed then this is the one.
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on 10 July 2006
Whenever a new phenomenon in literature evolves, I have always been a bit sceptic. When Harry Potter began to take the world by storm, I personally couldn't believe that a childrens book not written by Roald Dahl could be so impressive, but I was completely wrong, and am now a huge fan. The same happened when The Da Vinci Code, began to make headlines as being a multi-million selling book. Having not read it, I believed that it was just another book. However, having only this morning completed reading the Rabert Langdon omnibus, I am astounded. The imaginitive and precise style in which the novel is written makes the novel appear remarkably realistic. The research that has gone into the book is equally breath-taking. To sum up, there is a reason that Dan Brown has sold over 40 million copies of The Da Vinci Code alone, and it is simply that the novel is beyond amazing.
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