Angels and Demons introduces Robert Langdon, art historian and hero of the recent Da Vinci Code.

The novel begins as Langdon is awoken in the middle of the night by Maximilian Kohler, director of the CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Kohler needs Langdon’s expertise: one of the CERN scientists has been murdered, and an ambigram reading Illuminati from top and bottom is branded on his chest. Langdon had recently written a book on the Illuminati, a secret society created in the 1500’s to protest against the Church’s opposition to science. The Church wanted to prevent Galileo from making public the new knowledge that planets revolve around the sun and on many other occasions, tried to impede progress. However, science and religion have more or less cohabited for a while and the Illuminati society is long dead. Or at least, this is what Langdon and other scholars believe…

Flown to Geneva and later to Vatican City, Langdon, along with Vittoria Vetra, daughter of the murdered scientist, is about to live a day offering many adventures and dangers involving a revolutionary scientific discovery and a historic and cultural race through Vatican City and Rome, in order to stop a frightening threat made to people and to the pillar of Catholicism…

Angels and Demons, like The Da Vinci Code, brings interesting historical and scientific facts into a fast-paced thriller reminding of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum or The Name of the Rose, but for a larger readership. It is regrettable however that Dan Brown’s literary style reminds more of Crichton’s than Eco’s. Also, his villains are a bit unbelievable and his twists always over the top. But Dan Brown’s research is impressive and the ending of Angels and Demons quite unexpected and spectacular…

Rating: 3,5/5