Angels And Demons
I really loved the DaVinciCode written by Dan Brown and decided to check out another book to see if DaVinciCode was a flash in the pan or whether his other novels were equally good. So I decided to try out A&D. The fact that the central character in this novel was the same sybologist Robert Langdon from DaVinciCode helped me choose this book ahead of other Dan
The novel starts exactly the way DaVinciCode begins i.e. with a ghastly murder. This time the murder is of a scientist Leonardo Vetra of the CERN (Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire) and his body is embedded with a strange symbol. A symbol of a satanic cult, Illuminati, which was supposed to have been eliminated, ages ago. Immediately, Maximillian Kohler the Director General of CERN summons Robert Langdon to take a look at the murder
victim and help in the identification of the murderer.
Another disturbing event adds to the significance of the murder. The murdered scientist was working on a unique experiment which fused religion with science and the by product of the experiment was a weapon of mass destruction, the kind of which mankind had never seen or imagined. That weapon is also found missing from the lab of the murder victim.
The murder coincides with the death of the Pope due to a stroke. Thus, papal elections are announced and the cardinals from all over the world decend upon the Vatican city to perform one of the oldest election process in the world, the election of the next pope.
Illuminati suddenly claim responsibility for the Pope's death and claim that he was murdered by poison rather than died of stroke. To add to the confusion, they claim to have kidnapped the preferiti for the papal elections and propose to kill them one at a time and then destroy the whole vatican city with the stolen weapon of mass destruction and complete their revenge on the church.
The Vatican administration already depleted by the demise of the pope and stretched due to the ongoing papal elections is totally on the backfoot. Step forward, Carlo Ventresca the young camerlengo of the deceased Pope and thus the temporary incharge of the vatican city. It seems like baptism by fire for the young camerlengo and the world renowned Swiss Guard led by the Commander Olliveti. They are joined by Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra (Daughter of Leonardo Vetra) in a quest across the churches and sculptures of Rome and Vatican in the search of the Illuminati hideouts designed by some of the most ingenious scientific minds of their time.
So are the Illuminati caught? Where exactly is the Illuminati hideouts? Who is the head of the Illuminati and how did they suddenly rise to the fore from the ashes? Is the Vatican
Critical View of the novel
One point is very clear before we even begin a critical review of this novel. The research done by Dan Brown on Vatican Sculptures and painting is enormous and quite extensive. Dan Brown claims this story precedes the DaVinciCode, but looking at Robert Langdon's character in DaVinciCode, it becomes pretty clear that he was facing such extenuating situation for the
first time, but here in A&D he faces more phenomenal dangers and situations. Looking at this mismatch in the characterization of Robert Langdon between the two novels, my take is that these two novels were meant to be two different stories with two different characters. Somewhere down the line, Dan saw the similarities between the two and decided to put them as two novels by the same character, but forgot to patch up the character of Robert Langdon to cover up.
A&D has all the elements in which Dan Brown reveled in DaVinciCode. The novel is fast paced and the story develops pretty rapidly. The intrigue and mysteries within the sculptures and the wonders and the powers within the Vatican have been beautifully brought out in the novel.
In DaVinciCode, Dan Browconcentrated mostly on a single topic the DaVinci paintings. Here Dan tries to do a double-take, switching between science (Physics mostly) and Bernini Sculptures. This reminds me vaguely of Sir Isaac Asimov, whose novels usually have a double-take on science and philosophy.
Also at times, the novel had shades of Nightfall especially the portion relating to religion being one of the most credible means of affecting mass perception.
The characters were very well etched out and some of their interactions have panned out very well in the book.
Two novels, same storyline, different subplots, augmented presentation. Dan Brown seems to have brought the world of symbols to life through these two novels. Although, a few would say that the story line is quite similar, I found that both novels were different in their own way and
provided for a lot of thrill and intrigue. Between the two, I found that A&D seems to pan out a bit better than DaVinciCode.
I go ahead and give this novel a five star rating.
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