- Series: Robert Langdon
- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 23, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074349346X
- ISBN-13: 978-0743493468
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3,485 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Angels & Demons: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Paperback – May 23, 2006
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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 Neville's The Eight (but cleverer) or Umberto Eco's Foucault's 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 society's 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, Vetra's 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! It's tasty. --Kelly Flynn
Look Inside the Motion Picture Angels & Demons (Sony Pictures, 2009)
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From Publishers Weekly
Pitting scientific terrorists against the cardinals of Vatican City, this well-plotted if over-the-top thriller is crammed with Vatican intrigue and high-tech drama. Robert Langdon, a Harvard specialist on religious symbolism, is called in by a Swiss research lab when Dr. Vetra, the scientist who discovered antimatter, is found murdered with the cryptic word "Illuminati" branded on his chest. These Iluminati were a group of Renaissance scientists, including Galileo, who met secretly in Rome to discuss new ideas in safety from papal threat; what the long-defunct association has to do with Dr. Vetra's death is far from clear. Vetra's daughter, Vittoria, makes a frightening discovery: a lethal amount of antimatter, sealed in a vacuum flask that will explode in six hours unless its batteries are recharged, is missing. Almost immediately, the Swiss Guard discover that the flask is hidden beneath Vatican City, where the conclave to elect a new pope has just begun. Vittoria and Langdon rush to recover the canister, but they aren't allowed into the Vatican until it is discovered that the four principal papal candidates are missing. The terrorists who are holding the cardinals call in regarding their pending murders, offering clues tied to ancient Illuminati meeting sites and runes. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that a sinister Vatican entity with messianic delusions is in league with the terrorists. Packing the novel with sinister figures worthy of a Medici, Brown (Digital Fortress) sets an explosive pace as Langdon and Vittoria race through a Michelin-perfect Rome to try to save the cardinals and find the antimatter before it explodes. Though its premises strain credulity, Brown's tale is laced with twists and shocks that keep the reader wired right up to the last revelation. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
But on the bright side, Brown has done his homework!!! His knowledge of the Vatican and the related works of art and history is fantastic! It is worth the read just for the refresher course on the Vatican's impressive collections of art and historical artifacts.
All in all, it is a catchy plot.. sometimes very catchy.. and worth the time if you want a fun, fast paced read.
Author Dan Brown writes well. The book is a page-turner from start to finish, and along the way you learn a lot and want to stay up late reading. What's not to love? My only complaint is that otherwise intelligent characters are often extremely uninformed about matters of common knowledge -- this is an awkward way of allowing the author to explain things to the readers -- but otherwise I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable thriller. Violence is not dwelled upon, though people are killed in bizarre circumstances, and the material may be offensive to some Catholics but not most. The book would benefit from a page or two telling the reader what is fictional and what is not.
Lots of fun.
Which book is better? My initial reaction would be that I liked "The Da Vinci Code" a bit more because so many of the clues were written out. When Langdon has to look over paintings, statues and other visual clues I find myself wishing Brown had supplied photographs in his book so that I could play along looking for clues (he does provide most of the requisite images at his website, but I did not know this until after the fact and I suspect most readers will not want to stop and go online to call up the photographs). Not that I had much success in my endeavors, but I did know that Leonardo Da Vinci wrote in his journals backwards so that I was ahead of Langdon for a half a page at one point. "Angles & Demons" is played out on a larger and more public stage than "The Da Vinci Code," and when you get to the conclusion of this novel you might find it a bit much, but that is one of the reasons they call it fiction.
The biggest question in the debate over these books seems to be whether Brown is attacking the Catholic Church in his novels, which strikes me a bit odd after reading "Angels & Demons" since the Vatican is the target this time around. This novel is more about the long struggle between science and religion than anything else, and the position Brown takes seems to be that the two are ultimately compatible. I did my dissertation on the Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925 and in the spectacle of Clarence Darrow cross-examining William Jennings Bryan that is codified by the fictional "Inherit the Wind," history has forgotten that the original position of the Scopes defense was that there Genesis and evolution were compatible. Consequently, I have a lot of sympathy for Brown's position and I think a careful reading of the text offers as strong a critique of science as it does of religion. Certainly that ideal is represented by the man who is murdered to start off the story and whatever faults in the history and theology of the Catholic Church might be discussed, there are just too many men of devout faith in the narrative to support the idea Brown is out to get the Church.
Nor do I have any real concerns with the extent to which Brown is playing with historical "facts." The whole idea here is to create a sense that the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I do not think for a second that these novels are true; all I need is to believe that they are plausible, so telling me that some statue's finger is pointed in the wrong direction if you go to Rome and see it for yourself is not going to matter to me because I understand how far the rules of the game apply to the real world. Even so, I think that Brown's factual foundation is more substantial than we will usually find under such circumstances, which would end up being a plus rather than a minus. Besides, I like all of the flashbacks to Langdon's discussions with his students (more classroom scenes in the future, please).
Solving the puzzles is the key enjoyment of these novels and that part of the creative process makes up for Brown's tendency to overplay his red herrings and to hide his true villains in plain sight. Ultimately the game matters more than the characters or the plot. As soon as you know that there will be four more murders you realize that at least three of them have to happen because the game has to be played out to the end, so it is not until the frantic end game that your attention really perks up and it is at that point that Brown starts unloading a whole lot of really big surprises on his characters and his readers. In the final analysis the point here is neither history nor theology, but to tell an exciting adventure yarn where the hero gets by mainly on his intelligence rather than good looks and/or weaponry. This is a hero I can actually identify with for once and that is fine with me too.