& Demons is a worthy predecessor
the majority of readers, I read Angels & Demons by Dan
Brown after reading The Da Vinci Code. I would venture that
most people reading this review are asking the question, "How
does Angels & Demons compare to The Da Vinci Code?"
The short answer is that they're very similar. If you enjoyed
The Da Vinci Code, you should enjoy Angels & Demons.
murder victim is Leonardo Vetra. Not only is he one of the
world's leading physicists, he's a Catholic priest. He's a
priest who has adopted a daughter, Vittoria, who is also a
scientist at CERN. This was the largest suspension of disbelief
for me, a man who is a priest, a father, and a top physicist,
but accepting it sets the rest of the story in motion. Vetra
and his daughter were using the world's largest particle accelerator
to create antimatter, and then suspend the antimatter properly
in canisters so that it doesn't interact with matter. If a
canister is removed from the electrical system which keeps
the matter and antimatter separated, then backup batteries
will serve the same purpose for 24 hours. When those 24 hours
expire, the two will collide in an instantaneous explosion
of unprecedented power.
Vetra created the antimatter to simulate the Big Bang. In
his mind, this would show proof that God exists, being able
to create new matter and antimatter in the same way God created
the universe. Vetra's murder, though, allows one of the canisters
to be stolen. The question of who stole the canister and what
they planned to do with it is soon answered. The canister
is quickly found on a security camera in Vatican City, with
its LEDs counting down the time until the batteries run out.
The security camera, however, is nowhere to be found, leaving
the canister's whereabouts a mystery too. Langdon and Vittoria
Petra are quickly sent off to Rome and Vatican City, to help
find the canister and return it to CERN before it explodes
does the canister threaten to destroy Vatican City, but with
the recent death of the Pope, the cardinals of the Catholic
Church are all within the city for the conclave to choose
the new pope. They are all about to be locked within the Sistine
Chapel where, according to church law, they must remain until
a new pope is chosen. They are awaiting the preferiti, the
four cardinals from four different European countries who
are the preferred candidates to become the new pope. While
Langdon and Vittoria are trying to convince the captain of
the Swiss Guard and the camerlengo, the Pope's chamberlain
who leads the church until the new pope is named, that the
antimatter bomb is real, a phone call is received from a man
who claims to be from the Illuminati. He has the four cardinals,
which he will murder one by one, and then allow the bomb to
destroy Vatican City, which houses not only the church hierarchy,
but also its possessions and wealth. He has no demands; his
only wish is the destruction of the Catholic Church in retribution
for the church's treatment of scientists and the Illuminati
over the centuries.
and Vittoria Vetra are in a race against time. They dig through
archives and ancient mysteries to find clues, which also requires
an extensive background in art history and religious symbology.
This makes Robert Langdon the expert tour guide through all
this arcane knowledge with his congenial and scholarly fashion,
doing his best to educate without seeming superior with his
own intelligence. Much like The Da Vinci Code, Langdon understands
enough about each mystery to go in search of the missing pieces
necessary to solve each puzzle, which leads him to the next
one. Vittoria is beautiful, tough, intelligent, and determined
to avenge her father's murder and keep the canister from exploding.
The two of them are constantly one step behind the Illuminati,
and once it's clear that the Swiss Guard and Vatican City
have been penetrated by the ancient society, they don't know
whom to trust. This leads them through churches, fountains,
crypts, forgotten passages, secret passages and catacombs.
Death stalks them at every turn, in one form or another.
ways, Angels & Demons has a more suspenseful storyline
with the antimatter bomb and the race to prevent the destruction
of Vatican City. Both share a hired assassin, a tough and
beautiful woman as Langdon's sidekick who's mourning the murder
of a loved one, and mysteries that require extensive knowledge
of art history, religious symbology, and secret societies.
Robert Langdon is a protagonist that you can't dislike in
any way, with just enough vulnerability to go along with his
intelligence and right amount of charm. Angels & Demons
is a looser story. It takes longer to get going, each new
puzzle takes longer to solve, and too much character background
is given for too many characters. While Dan Brown's writing
style will never be called literary, he's obviously matured
as a writer between the two books. The chapters in The Da
Vinci Code are shorter, tighter and the suspense is never
allowed to wane.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005