This is my Angels & Demons book review. It is written by Dan Brown and it’s the first book of the Robert Langton series.
Robert Langton gets a call at 5:18, waking him up from a nightmare. A man asks him for his help and says that he’ll pay him well. But he knows who he is. Or at least what he is. Just because he wrote books about religious symbology, does that means that he should accept calls at 5 in the morning from whomever? So he hangs up on him.
He goes for breakfast but, then, he hears his fax machine. And on the page, it is something he could never imagine he’d get. A photo of a body. A dead body. And in the chest of the dead man, a single word is branded. Illuminati.
His attention picked up, he talks to the man who called him before. The murder happened in the research facility he runs and he asks for Langton’s help. Langton is intrigued, frightened but intrigued; that’s why he agrees to assist him.
So he heads to Geneva. When he reaches the facility, there is a man waiting for him, the man who talked to him on the phone. General director, Kohler. They go to the murder scene to see the body. While going there, Kohler explains that the body was one of the top scientists, Leonardo Vetra and he asks Langton about Illuminati.
Illuminati were a group of scientists who were worried about the church. They were thinking that it hindered people to learn the scientific truth and they were hunted by the church for it.
That’s why they were meeting in secret in the Church of Illumination; a place no one knew where it was. But four of them were caught, branded alive with a cross symbol and were thrown to the streets as a warning. With the church being after their tracks, the remaining Illuminati left Italy and went underground.
Leonardo Vetra’s daughter, Vittoria, who worked with her father in a secret project, comes back from her latest research and all together they go to Leonardo’s and Vittoria’ lab. They realise that a very revolutionary substance, the antimatter, has been stolen. If it comes in contact with anything, even air, will explode. That’s why it’s suspended in a specially made canister without touching anything. Without recharging the battery in the next 24 hours, though, it will fall and it will explode taking with it anything in a half-mile radius.
Kohler, then, has an important call from Vatican City. But he has an asthmatic attack and cannot go, so Vittoria and Langton have to go on their own.
Reaching the Vatican city, they talk with Olivetti, commander of the Swiss guard, the sworn sentinels of Vatican city. They learn from him that a wireless camera was stolen and now it shows the stolen substance. Vittoria explains to him how dangerous that is; nevertheless he does not believe them because what they say seems unrealistic.
He leaves them, though, for a while in his office, because of something of high importance. Vittoria gets the chance, then, to use his office phone to speak with someone from Pope’s office. Now that the Pope is dead, the Chamberlain is in charge of the office until the new Pope is elected.
The Chamberlain tells them to come immediately to his office and there, he learns what happened with the antimatter. While trying to decide their next steps, the phone rings and it’s someone who knows about the antimatter, he works on behalf of Illuminati and he has kidnapped the four cardinals that are more likely to be elected as Pope. He says that he’s gonna sacrifice them one every hour until the midnight when the antimatter will explode.
Langton believes that he can find where the Cardinals will be killed. The information is in the Vatican archives. Galileo, who was a member of Illuminati, wrote a book and in this included the place Illuminati were gathering. Or, rather the first clue to that.
You see, Illuminati were hiding but they also needed new people. So they left clues to lead anyone who was smart enough to find the Church of Illumination. They had an artist to carve 4 sculptures that would serve as clues. Each for every element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Langton thinks that the places of these sculptures-clues are the places the murders will take place, based on something the kidnapper said.
Going to the Vatican Archives, they find the first clue.
Now they have to run against time to prevent the destruction of the whole city…
I’ll choose Vittoria. I definitely like her more in the book than the movie. It’s a way more complicated character: smart, brave. Especially, learning about her past gives a new light to her character. She’s a fighter and doesn’t hesitate when she has to fight for the right cause.
Why I love this book
- It’s explained very well why the characters do what they do. Maybe they’re wrong, maybe they’re right, but they have their reasons and we learn about them.
- I didn’t notice any discrepancies. And for a mystery book, this is VERY important. Otherwise, you get frustrated with questions, like: “Seriously? And how did they even think of that?” or “Why did they do this instead of that?”. Well, I guess you always have the second question no matter what, but anyway… 😛
- Well, you probably already know it but there’s a movie. And a pretty good one. You should watch it if you haven’t already.
- As it is usual with books, you learn a lot more about the characters, their motives, their past. Don’t get me wrong, though! I loved the movie, too.
- For some reason, Vittoria’s character was a little underdeveloped in the movie. Probably something to do with the time limit which I hate and that is one of the reasons why books are better than movies.
But, I think, it was also because they wanted Langton to seem smarter in the movie. Not that he was an idiot in the book, but Vittoria contributed much more than she did in the movie.
- I saw the movie first and then I read the book. And I can’t say I regretted it! I indeed like the book more but I don’t know if I’d have read it if the movie hadn’t captivated me so. Here’s the trailer for the movie in case you haven’t seen it already!
For more Crime Mystery novels, check my list!
If you ‘ve already read this, I ‘d like to know how you liked it. If you haven’t and you have questions, ask me and I’ll answer.
Please before any major spoiler, write SPOILER ALERT. We don’t want to destroy it for others!
Don’t forget to have fun!!!