Book-Review-Angels and Demons

"A breathless, real-time adventure...Exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ."

San Francisco Chronicle 

"When a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered, a Harvard Professor, Robert Langton, is summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared into the dead man's chest. His conclusion: it is the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years--now reborn to continue their bitter vendetta against their sworn enemy, the Catholic Church." Taken from the book's blurb in the back. 

Angels and Demons 

Author Dans Brown- Bestselling Author of The Davinci Code

Publisher: Random House, South Africa

Year: 2000.  

No. of pages: 620. 

Dan Brown's bestseller Davinci Code was published in 2003--his fourth book.  Angels and Demons was the precursor to the Davinci Code published in 2000 and the first in the Robert Langton series. 

The man who was stabbed to death was Leonardo Vetra, a physicist working for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)in Geneva, Switzerland. He and his daughter, Vittoria Vetra, jointly created the specimen of the most powerful energy source known to humans- the antimatter- kept in specially designed storage devices in CERN-a secret between the father and the daughter.  

CERN's Director summons Robert Langton, a Harward professor of religious iconography, to decipher the meaning of the branding the killer made on the dead man's chest. Langton confirms that it is the Illuminati symbol, but the cult was no more in existence.  He adds that groups, even terrorists were using the old sign to fulfil their purposes is a new trend.   

In Vatican, Rome, the preparations to elect a new cardinal are underway. Inside its walls, unbeknown to its organisers, the antimatter stolen from CERN is ticking away its time.

Cern's director despatches Langton and Mr Vetra's daughter, Vittoria Vetra, a 'bio-entanglement Physicist,' to the Vatican, where they undertake an intense trail of search to unearth the secret behind the Illuminati branding on the dead man's chest.

The theme of the book is religion versus science. 

There are positive and negative criticisms of the book, which is in any case. It is a thriller in a class of conspiracy theories and a trove of intrigue and entertainment. 

Its' negative criticism is there are factual errors in the history it presents as facts.   

Book's Theme:

The book's theme is religion versus science and how religion has marred the progress of science. The undertakings by the religious establishments have promoted their interest against those who put trust in them as standing for the truth and moral leadership. 

The settings:

A substantial part of the story is set in Vatican City.

The book's theme, in my view, is relevant in the present, twenty-two years after its release, when religions take super-roles in peoples' lives in deciding even nation's political roles to threaten the peace from personal to global levels.

The following are the lines from the book. 

"They (the old Illuminati brotherhood) feared that if religion continued to promote pious myth as absolute fact, scientific progress would halt, and mankind would be doomed to an ignorant future of senseless holy wars."

"Good science fiction has its roots in good Science."

"A fact of nature. Everything has an opposite. Protons have electrons. Up-quarks have down-quarks. There is a cosmic symmetry at the subatomic level. Antimatter is yin to matter's yang. It balances the physical equation."

"The rising and settings of the sun was once attributed to Helios and a flaming chariot. Earthquakes and tidal waves were the wrath of Poseidon.  Science has proven those gods to be false idols. Soon all gods would be proven to be false idols. Science has now provided answers to almost every question man can ask. There are only a few questions left, and they are the esoteric ones. Where do we come from? What are we doing here? What is the meaning of life and the universe?"

Author's note given in the Book:

References to all works of art, tombs, tunnels, and architecture in Rome are entirely factual (as are their exact locations). They can still be seen today. The brotherhood of the Illuminati is also factual