Friday, March 20, 2009
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
I hadn't realized when I read The Da Vinci Code, a couple of years ago, that there was a book that preceded it. Angels & Demons follows Robert Langdon's first harrowing adventure through Renaissance art and ancient symbols. Brown's extensive research makes it difficult to divide fact from fiction at times, making the story that much more believable (at least while you're reading the book).
Following a mysterious phone call, a graphic fax, and an impossibly speedy flight to Switzerland, Robert Langdon finds himself facing the incredible - the reemergence of the once thought dead Illuminati. A dead priest's scientific research presents the only possible motive for his murder, and after the priest's daughter discovers some very explosive material is missing from his lab, Robert Langdon finds himself dragged into an investigation and a race to find the material before it destroys who knows how many lives.
The race leads to the Vatican, where the Swiss Guards have the mysterious material on a video monitor, but the camera shooting the footage is missing. Add to the monumentous task of finding a small canister in the vastness within the Vatican City walls, the heightened tension at the Vatican itself as the cardinals meet in conclave to elect a new pope.
The pace of the story quickly takes you from clue to clue, murder to murder. It's hard to take a break from reading the book because you can feel a new twist coming with every page. Except for the occasional flashbacks to help understand the point of view of a character, the action of the book takes place in a mere day, day and a half. You don't have time to stop and breathe. I had to stay up half the night to finish it.
Just a brief note for parents: The murder victims are often found naked and there are somewhat graphic descriptions of the torture they endure. You may feel the need to discuss the scenes with teens and preteens.
If you need a thrill ride to escape for a few hours, try this one.