Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown
Category: Fiction / Mystery
745 pages; ISBN: 037543318X
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Coletta Ollerer
This is a captivating mystery about the already mysterious Catholic hierarchy. We meet Robert Langdon, a world renowned Harvard symboligist, when he is called to the office of Maximilliam Kohler, the director of CERN, a nuclear research facility in Switzerland. Kohler confides that one of his staff has been murdered. The victim is Leonardo Vetra, the man responsible for the discovery of antimatter. Kohler advises that a secret society is responsible for the murder and that he needs the help of Langdon in his capacity as a symboligist. This is because the murdered man has been branded with an ancient Illuminati symbol. In addition, the antimatter and the canister in which it is housed have been stolen. A call from Vatican City Swiss Guards reveals that they have learned that it is hidden in the Vatican. Kohler knows it must be recovered with great haste or wide destruction will result. This begins a period of twenty four seriously hectic hours for Langdon as he seeks to understand the events before him.
We meet Vittoria Vetra, daughter of the murdered man and a scientist, who sets out for Vatican City with Langdon to find her father’s murderer and to consult with the Pope’s chamberlain, Carlo Ventresca, in hopes of finding the missing antimatter canister.
A man named Janus is the leader of a group called the Illuminati, whose members are scientists and whose vendetta against the church goes back to the time of Galileo.
The death of the Pope occurs at this time also and a conclave of the college of cardinals is called in order to elect his successor. It is then that the discovery is made that four of the most promising Papal replacements are missing. Janus is suspected of hiring a hit man to dispose of the cardinals, but why?
Gunther Glick is a newsman from the BBC in Rome to cover the story of the election. He is disappointed with the assignment and looks for something more newsworthy to enhance his career. He finds it when the killer gets Glick’s cellphone number from the BBC and calls to inform him about his intention to kill one cardinal every hour and then release the hidden antimatter over the Vatican. The killer promises to call and tell Glick when and where the first murder is to take place. “The man on the line had a thick Arabic accent. `Listen carefully’, he said. `I am about to change your life.’” (p251) Glick gets his scoop and it is televised. St Peter’s Square becomes filled with media personnel and vans.
Langdon, the symboligist, remembers where he might find clues as to the location of the proposed murders. He speaks to the chamberlain. “I need access immediately. The four missing cardinals. I may be able to figure out where they’re going to be killed”. (p228) He and Vittoria are allowed into the Archives of the Vatican to look for the ancient Galilean code hoping those will point them to the location of the predicted murders. They find themselves racing around Rome, through subterranean caverns, in burial places, churches and castles chasing the killer and being chased by him.
This book gives the reader a rare look into the workings of the Catholic Church, past and present. An eye-opener and definitely worth the read.
Buy Angels and Demons at amazon.co.uk
Buy Angels and Demons at amazon.com