It’s been a while since I read the much lauded da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. As a Christian I was hesitant, and in some cases warned, not to read it. I thought it was very tame, and brought up ideas (and heresies) that have been around for a very long time. As I’ve explained to some friends, I was more offended by Brown’s writing style than by any ideas that were in the book. Still, I enjoyed his look at art history, and the roundabout way that the crime was solved. So even though I read the books out of order, I was interested in Angels and Demons.
We flash back in time a couple of years to find Robert Langdon, Harvard symbologist extraordinnaire, on the case of the Illuminati, a secret, ancient brotherhood who have focused on world enlightenment through the complete destruction of the Catholic Church. All of this Knight’s Templar, Illuminati stuff gets rather tiresome, but it is fun to think some secret organizations are running around planning dastardly deeds (when in reality it’s probably more of an opportunity for old white men to b.s. with each other and drink beer). Robert’s case begins when a Swiss physicist is found murdered at the university he works at with an ‘incredible’ palendromic symbol burnt into his flesh. Robert is forced to run around Rome and Vatican City with a hot babe/physicist by his side, solving ancient clues hidden in Raphael’s works of art.
Again the book is a page turner, moreso because of Brown’s style than the actual content, but I guess I still have to give credit to Brown for a readable adventure. I happened to get the illustrated copy, which includes some great photos of all of the things Langdon is attempting to figure out as it happens. I recommend reading this copy, especially if you are unfamiliar with art history. I must admit even thought the illuminati seals are a dumb idea, they are creatively made.
Overall I found the book a bit tiresome, and a good editor would have hacked a few pages out. The way Brown builds a case for the potential bad guys and then deliberately chooses someone he has as an author seemed to defend to be the antagonist seemed a tad unfair. This book seems to be a good summer read, when you have nothing of any real importance to do otherwise.
Rating: 3 out of 5. (Thanks to Avery for the book in the first place)