Robert Langdon #1
Angels and Demons is the first book in the Robert Langdon series. It is the twenty second book in my book challenge.
Robert Langdon is called from his Cambridge home one morning, no pleasantries and no subtleties. A man has been brutally murdered, his eye ripped from his socket, and he has been branded. Langdon’s academic mind battles to connect the crime with the evidence when he is flown out to Geneva, Switzerland, to meet with CERN director Maximilian Kohler. It seems an ancient brotherhood called the Illuminati is responsible for the murder, though they have been extinct for centuries. Leonardo Vetra, the murdered scientist, was also a priest. His daughter, Vittoria, returns to CERN upon the news to discuss the research her father and her were conducting prior to his death.
Upon arrival, it is soon evident that the research Vittoria and Leonardo worked on has been stolen. The technology is antimatter, and is hundreds of times more powerful than nuclear energy. It could be one of the worst weapons of mass destruction ever created. The canister the antimatter is stored in has a twenty four hour timer on it before the power expires and it levels an unknown but extensive blast radius. As though things could not get worse, the Swiss Guard at Vatican City contact CERN to advise them that they are able to see the antimatter on a camera that was stolen from them, and that its range permits it to transmit from within the city alon. Vittoria and Langdon rush to Vatican City to attempt to retrieve the canister.
Inside Vatican City, papal conclave is drawing near, with one hundred and sixty five cardinals convening to elect the new Pope. The four preferiti are not amongst them, and the Camerlengo, Carlos Ventresca, gets a call from a Hassassin, who swears his allegiance to the brotherhood. He claims that the four preferiti will be butchered as the evening progresses upon the “alters of science”, and at midnight, the Vatican will cease to exist entirely. Naturally, it becomes a media circus. Langdon works with Vittoria and Commander Olivetti to organize a search for the antimatter as well as attempt to find the missing cardinals and save them.
Will Langdon and Vittoria be able to save the cardinals? Will Langdon truly follow the Path of Illumination after centuries of its fading out of existence? Will the Vatican be able to regain control of the media that is running rampant with the story? Will the antimatter be recovered in time, or will the Illuminati finally rise up in all its glory and claim triumph and success over their ancient pact?
It must truly be read in nothing further than a fictitious light. I am not concerned with how much is correct and how much is inaccurate; I read it simply as a fun read, and a decent one. I know that is where too many people get upset; they take the tale far too literally. The story keeps you hooked, and the characters are intriguing, though they are not revolutionary and character growth is minimal. The whole science/religion debate that was highlighted in the book was very thought provoking. While Dan Brown is not the best writer of all time, the book reads fast enough and simply and is exciting along the way. I honestly enjoyed the book immensely. It had a fast paced story, and the concept was well executed. I have read the book a few times, and it remains stimulating, so I would definitely recommend Angels and Demons for consideration if you have not read it before.