Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown

Cover ImageFinished 2-24-09, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2000

“…Faith is universal.  Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary.  Some of us pray to Jesus, some go to Mecca, some of us study subatomic particles.  In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than oursselves.”

Langdon wished his students could expreess themselves so clearly.  Hell, he wished he could express himself so clearly.  “And God?” he asked. “Do you believe in God?”

Vittoria was silent for a long time.  “Science tells me God must exist.  My mind tells me I will never understand God.  And my heart tells me I am not meant to.”

Chapter 31

This is the book where we meet respected Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon for the first time.  (You may have also heard of him in a little book called The DaVinci Code)  Langdon is called to Switzerland to investigate the brutal murder of a physicist that appears to be the work of the mysterious and defunct group, the Illuminati.  Here he finds out about a new energy source that is being used for the first time as a weapon.  Langdon and the dead physicist’s daughter, Vittoria, head to Rome where they have very little time to find the hidden anti-matter that could take out all of Vatican City.

Vatican City is preparing for the enclave to elect a new Pope.  The camerlingo, head of the Catholic Church until the new Pope is elected, welcomes Langdon and Vittoria and opens the tunnels and secret documents of the Vatican to them so that they can save the city and the Cardinals kidnapped by the Illuminati.

This book is essentially a treasure hunt, with clues and hints, that leads the reader through Vatican City and Rome.  At its core it is a book trying to bring together the two opposing forces of science and religion.  But most importantly it is a page-turner.  A 700+ page edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.  

I liked it.  I finished it it one day (obviously I did very little else!) and think it is going to make a fun movie.  Maybe a better movie than the DaVinci Code because it has a more revered and known setting.  But, it did have a problem.  It was a good 100 pages too long.  It’s like Brown tried to cram as many twists and turns into the book as possible when it really wasn’t necessary.  There was a point in those last hundred pages when it just went too far in trying to shock and everything after that was a little tainted to me. 

I do recommend it.  It’s fun and fast and interesting.  My husband liked it better than the DaVinci Code.  Except for the backdrop of Italy I didn’t, but it was still worth it.