Angels and Demons

( 2759 )

Overview

An ancient secret brotherhood.

A devastating new weapon of destruction.

An unthinkable target.

When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful ...

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Angels and Demons

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Overview

An ancient secret brotherhood.

A devastating new weapon of destruction.

An unthinkable target.

When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy -- the Catholic Church.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.

Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.

An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
A breathless, real-time adventure....Exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pitting scientific terrorists against the cardinals of Vatican City, this well-plotted if over-the-top thriller is crammed with Vatican intrigue and high-tech drama. Robert Langdon, a Harvard specialist on religious symbolism, is called in by a Swiss research lab when Dr. Vetra, the scientist who discovered antimatter, is found murdered with the cryptic word "Illuminati" branded on his chest. These Iluminati were a group of Renaissance scientists, including Galileo, who met secretly in Rome to discuss new ideas in safety from papal threat; what the long-defunct association has to do with Dr. Vetra's death is far from clear. Vetra's daughter, Vittoria, makes a frightening discovery: a lethal amount of antimatter, sealed in a vacuum flask that will explode in six hours unless its batteries are recharged, is missing. Almost immediately, the Swiss Guard discover that the flask is hidden beneath Vatican City, where the conclave to elect a new pope has just begun. Vittoria and Langdon rush to recover the canister, but they aren't allowed into the Vatican until it is discovered that the four principal papal candidates are missing. The terrorists who are holding the cardinals call in regarding their pending murders, offering clues tied to ancient Illuminati meeting sites and runes. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that a sinister Vatican entity with messianic delusions is in league with the terrorists. Packing the novel with sinister figures worthy of a Medici, Brown (Digital Fortress) sets an explosive pace as Langdon and Vittoria race through a Michelin-perfect Rome to try to save the cardinals and find the antimatter before it explodes. Though its premises strain credulity, Brown's tale is laced with twists and shocks that keep the reader wired right up to the last revelation. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly
Crammed with Vatican intrigue and hi-tech drama. Packing the novel with sinister figures worthy of a Medici, Brown sets an explosive pace through a Michelin-perfect Rome. Brown's tale is laced with twists and shocks that keep the reader wired right up to the last revelation.
Book Browser Reviews
A reading experience you will never forget. Dan Brown has created another frantic paced thriller that rivals the best works of Clancy and Cussler.
Bookbrowse.com
Among the best books we have ever read. Angels & Demons is part thriller, part mystery, and all action. A highly entertaining, page-turning thriller.
Joe Mauceri
Angels & Demons is as good as it gets. A pulse-pounding, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Angels & Demons is as compelling as Umberto Eco... as engaging as Tom Clancy... as fast-paced as Michael Crichton... and rivals the best Thomas Harris thriller. Angels & Demons earns Dan Brown a place among these literary peers.
Syndicated Review
Kirkus Reviews
Another near-future technothriller from the author of Digital Fortress (1998). Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon gets a call from Maximilian Kohler, director of CERN's Geneva particle-physics research complex. Physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, and a quantity of dreadfully dangerous antimatter stolen; worse, Vetra was branded with a single word: Illuminati. Langdon's an expert on the history of the Illuminati, a medieval pro-science, anti-Catholic power group, often suspected of infiltrating mighty institutions but now considered extinct. The canister of antimatter soon turns up—in Rome, hidden somewhere in Vatican City, just as the church's cardinals are gathering to select a new pope. When the canister's batteries go dead—boom. As bad, someone's kidnapped the four top cardinals, and a message from the Illuminati states that one cardinal will be killed—with lots of Illuminati symbolism—every hour until the antimatter explodes. Langdon and Vetra's scientist daughter, Vittoria, must convince the late pope's chamberlain, now in charge of the Vatican until the new pope is elected, to help them unravel the mysteries of the Illuminati and, perhaps, save the cardinals from gruesome deaths. But they'll be going up against a wily and potent Illuminati assassin, causing plenty of thrilling cat-and-mouse maneuvers and life-or-death cliffhangers. And how come the powerful head of the Illuminati knows all the Vatican's secrets, and can enter and leave at will? Romance, religion, science, murder, mysticism, architecture, action. Go!
From the Publisher
"A breathless, real-time adventure. . . . Exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ." — San Francisco Chronicle
Library Journal
This grand summer novel by the author of The Da Vinci Code introduces readers to famed symbologist Robert Langdon, who is attempting to stop the Illuminati, an ancient secret organization, from destroying Vatican City. VERDICT Filled with superb puzzles, a breakneck plot, and wondrous settings and descriptions of artwork, this fascinating story will feed thriller readers' appetites for riddles, conspiracies, and unlikely heroes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416578741
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Series: Robert Langdon Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Media Tie-In
  • Pages: 736
  • Sales rank: 35,628
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 4.28 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Brown

Dan Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and, previously, Digital Fortress, Deception Point, and Angels & Demons. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts to writing full-time. He lives in New England with his wife. Visit his website at DanBrown.com.

Biography

Novelist Dan Brown may not have invented the literary thriller, but his groundbreaking tour de force The Da Vinci Code -- with its irresistible mix of religion, history, art, and science -- is the gold standard for a flourishing genre.

Born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1964, Brown attended Phillips Exeter Academy (where his father taught), and graduated from Amherst with a double major in Spanish and English. After college he supported himself through teaching and enjoyed moderate success as a musician and songwriter.

Brown credits Sidney Sheldon with jump-starting his literary career. Up until 1994, his reading tastes were focused sharply on the classics. Then, on vacation in Tahiti, he stumbled on a paperback copy of Sheldon's novel The Doomsday Conspiracy. By the time he finished the book, he had decided he could do as well. There and then, he determined to try his hand at writing. His first attempt was a pseudonymously written self-help book for women co-written with his future wife Blythe Newlon. Then, in 1998, he published his first novel, Digital Fortress -- followed in swift succession by Angels and Demons and Deception Point. None the three achieved commercial success.

Then, in 2003, Brown hit the jackpot with his fourth novel, a compulsively readable thriller about a Harvard symbologist named Robert Langdon who stumbles on an ancient conspiracy in the wake of a shocking murder in the Louvre. Combining elements from art, science, and religion, The Da Vinci Code became the biggest bestseller in publishing history, inspiring a big-budget movie adaptation and fueling interest in the author's back list. In 2009, Brown continued Robert Langdon's esoteric adventures with The Lost Symbol, a tale of intrigue that, like its predecessors, takes readers on a wild ride into the sinister mysteries of the past.

Good To Know

  • Brown revealed the inspiration for his labyrinthine thriller during a writer's address in Concord, New Hampshire. "I was studying art history at the University of Seville (in Spain), and one morning our professor started class in a most unusual way. He showed us a slide of Da Vinci's famous painting "The Last Supper"... I had seen the painting many times, yet somehow I had never seen the strange anomalies that the professor began pointing out: a hand clutching a dagger, a disciple making a threatening gesture across the neck of another... and much to my surprise, a very obvious omission, the apparent absence on the table of the cup of Christ... The one physical object that in many ways defines that moment in history, Leonardo Da Vinci chose to omit." According to Brown, this reintroduction to an ancient masterpiece was merely "the tip of the ice burg." What followed was an in-depth explanation of clues apparent in Da Vinci's painting and his association with the Priory of Sion that set Brown on a path toward bringing The Da Vinci Code into existence.

  • If only all writers could enjoy this kind of success: in early 2004, all four of Brown's novels were on the New York Times Bestseller List in a single week!

    In our interview with Brown, he shared some of his writing rituals:

    "If I'm not at my desk by 4:00 a.m., I feel like I'm missing my most productive hours. In addition to starting early, I keep an antique hourglass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups, and some quick stretches. I find this helps keep the blood -- and ideas -- flowing.

    "I'm also a big fan of gravity boots. Hanging upside down seems to help me solve plot challenges by shifting my entire perspective."

  • Read More Show Less
      1. Hometown:
        New England
      1. Date of Birth:
        June 22, 1964
      2. Place of Birth:
        Exeter, New Hampshire
      1. Education:
        Phillips Exeter Academy 1982; B.A., Amherst College, 1986; University of Seville, Spain
      2. Website:

    Read an Excerpt

    Chapter One

    High atop the steps of the Pyramid of Giza a young woman laughed and called down to him. "Robert, hurry up! I knew I should have married a younger man!" Her smile was magic.

    He struggled to keep up, but his legs felt like stone. "Wait," he begged. "Please..."

    As he climbed, his vision began to blur. There was a thundering in his ears. I must reach her! But when he looked up again, the woman had disappeared. In her place stood an old man with rotting teeth. The man stared down, curling his lips into a lonely grimace. Then he let out a scream of anguish that resounded across the desert.

    Robert Langdon awoke with a start from his nightmare. The phone beside his bed was ringing. Dazed, he picked up the receiver.

    "Hello?"

    "I'm looking for Robert Langdon," a man's voice said.

    Langdon sat up in his empty bed and tried to clear his mind. "This...is Robert Langdon." He squinted at his digital clock. It was 5:18 A.M.

    "I must see you immediately."

    "Who is this?"

    "My name is Maximilian Kohler. I'm a discrete particle physicist."

    "A what?" Langdon could barely focus. "Are you sure you've got the right Langdon?"

    "You're a professor of religious iconology at Harvard University. You've written three books on symbology and — "

    "Do you know what time it is?"

    "I apologize. I have something you need to see. I can't discuss it on the phone."

    A knowing groan escaped Langdon's lips. This had happened before. One of the perils of writing books about religious symbology was the calls from religious zealots who wanted him to confirm their latest sign from God. Last month a stripper fromOklahoma had promised Langdon the best sex of his life if he would fly down and verify the authenticity of a cruciform that had magically appeared on her bed sheets. The Shroud of Tulsa, Langdon had called it.

    "How did you get my number?" Langdon tried to be polite, despite the hour.

    "On the Worldwide Web. The site for your book."

    Langdon frowned. He was damn sure his book's site did not include his home phone number. The man was obviously lying.

    "I need to see you," the caller insisted. "I'll pay you well."

    Now Langdon was getting mad. "I'm sorry, but I really — "

    "If you leave immediately, you can be here by — "

    "I'm not going anywhere! It's five o'clock in the morning!" Langdon hung up and collapsed back in bed. He closed his eyes and tried to fall back asleep. It was no use. The dream was emblazoned in his mind. Reluctantly, he put on his robe and went downstairs.


    Robert Langdon wandered barefoot through his deserted Massachusetts Victorian home and nursed his ritual insomnia remedy — a mug of steaming Nestlé's Quik. The April moon filtered through the bay windows and played on the oriental carpets. Langdon's colleagues often joked that his place looked more like an anthropology museum than a home. His shelves were packed with religious artifacts from around the world — an ekuaba from Ghana, a gold cross from Spain, a cycladic idol from the Aegean, and even a rare woven boccus from Borneo, a young warrior's symbol of perpetual youth.

    As Langdon sat on his brass Maharishi's chest and savored the warmth of the chocolate, the bay window caught his reflection. The image was distorted and pale...like a ghost. An aging ghost, he thought, cruelly reminded that his youthful spirit was living in a mortal shell.

    Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-five-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an "erudite" appeal — wisps of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete. A varsity diver in prep school and college, Langdon still had the body of a swimmer, a toned, six-foot physique that he vigilantly maintained with fifty laps a day in the university pool.

    Langdon's friends had always viewed him as a bit of an enigma — a man caught between centuries. On weekends he could be seen lounging on the quad in blue jeans, discussing computer graphics or religious history with students; other times he could be spotted in his Harris tweed and paisley vest, photographed in the pages of upscale art magazines at museum openings where he had been asked to lecture.

    Although a tough teacher and strict disciplinarian, Langdon was the first to embrace what he hailed as the "lost art of good clean fun." He relished recreation with an infectious fanaticism that had earned him a fraternal acceptance among his students. His campus nickname — "The Dolphin" — was a reference both to his affable nature and his legendary ability to dive into a pool and outmaneuver the entire opposing squad in a water polo match.

    As Langdon sat alone, absently gazing into the darkness, the silence of his home was shattered again, this time by the ring of his fax machine. Too exhausted to be annoyed, Langdon forced a tired chuckle.

    God's people, he thought. Two thousand years of waiting for their Messiah, and they're still persistent as hell.

    Wearily, he returned his empty mug to the kitchen and walked slowly to his oak-paneled study. The incoming fax lay in the tray. Sighing, he scooped up the paper and looked at it.

    Instantly, a wave of nausea hit him.

    The image on the page was that of a human corpse. The body had been stripped naked, and its head had been twisted, facing completely backward. On the victim's chest was a terrible burn. The man had been branded...imprinted with a single word. It was a word Langdon knew well. Very well. He stared at the ornate lettering in disbelief.


    "Illuminati," he stammered, his heart pounding. It can't be...

    In slow motion, afraid of what he was about to witness, Langdon rotated the fax 180 degrees. He looked at the word upside down.

    Instantly, the breath went out of him. It was like he had been hit by a truck. Barely able to believe his eyes, he rotated the fax again, reading the brand right-side up and then upside down.

    "Illuminati," he whispered.

    Stunned, Langdon collapsed in a chair. He sat a moment in utter bewilderment. Gradually, his eyes were drawn to the blinking red light on his fax machine. Whoever had sent this fax was still on the line...waiting to talk. Langdon gazed at the blinking light a long time.

    Then, trembling, he picked up the receiver.

    Copyright © 2000 by Dan Brown

    Read More Show Less

    Table of Contents

    Read More Show Less

    First Chapter

    Chapter One

    High atop the steps of the Pyramid of Giza a young woman laughed and called down to him. "Robert, hurry up! I knew I should have married a younger man!" Her smile was magic.

    He struggled to keep up, but his legs felt like stone. "Wait," he begged. "Please..."

    As he climbed, his vision began to blur. There was a thundering in his ears. I must reach her! But when he looked up again, the woman had disappeared. In her place stood an old man with rotting teeth. The man stared down, curling his lips into a lonely grimace. Then he let out a scream of anguish that resounded across the desert.

    Robert Langdon awoke with a start from his nightmare. The phone beside his bed was ringing. Dazed, he picked up the receiver.

    "Hello?"

    "I'm looking for Robert Langdon," a man's voice said.

    Langdon sat up in his empty bed and tried to clear his mind. "This...is Robert Langdon." He squinted at his digital clock. It was 5:18 A.M.

    "I must see you immediately."

    "Who is this?"

    "My name is Maximilian Kohler. I'm a discrete particle physicist."

    "A what?" Langdon could barely focus. "Are you sure you've got the right Langdon?"

    "You're a professor of religious iconology at Harvard University. You've written three books on symbology and -- "

    "Do you know what time it is?"

    "I apologize. I have something you need to see. I can't discuss it on the phone."

    A knowing groan escaped Langdon's lips. This had happened before. One of the perils of writing books about religious symbology was the calls from religious zealots who wanted him to confirm their latest sign from God. Last month a stripper fromOklahoma had promised Langdon the best sex of his life if he would fly down and verify the authenticity of a cruciform that had magically appeared on her bed sheets. The Shroud of Tulsa, Langdon had called it.

    "How did you get my number?" Langdon tried to be polite, despite the hour.

    "On the Worldwide Web. The site for your book."

    Langdon frowned. He was damn sure his book's site did not include his home phone number. The man was obviously lying.

    "I need to see you," the caller insisted. "I'll pay you well."

    Now Langdon was getting mad. "I'm sorry, but I really -- "

    "If you leave immediately, you can be here by -- "

    "I'm not going anywhere! It's five o'clock in the morning!" Langdon hung up and collapsed back in bed. He closed his eyes and tried to fall back asleep. It was no use. The dream was emblazoned in his mind. Reluctantly, he put on his robe and went downstairs.


    Robert Langdon wandered barefoot through his deserted Massachusetts Victorian home and nursed his ritual insomnia remedy -- a mug of steaming Nestlé's Quik. The April moon filtered through the bay windows and played on the oriental carpets. Langdon's colleagues often joked that his place looked more like an anthropology museum than a home. His shelves were packed with religious artifacts from around the world -- an ekuaba from Ghana, a gold cross from Spain, a cycladic idol from the Aegean, and even a rare woven boccus from Borneo, a young warrior's symbol of perpetual youth.

    As Langdon sat on his brass Maharishi's chest and savored the warmth of the chocolate, the bay window caught his reflection. The image was distorted and pale...like a ghost. An aging ghost, he thought, cruelly reminded that his youthful spirit was living in a mortal shell.

    Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-five-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an "erudite" appeal -- wisps of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete. A varsity diver in prep school and college, Langdon still had the body of a swimmer, a toned, six-foot physique that he vigilantly maintained with fifty laps a day in the university pool.

    Langdon's friends had always viewed him as a bit of an enigma -- a man caught between centuries. On weekends he could be seen lounging on the quad in blue jeans, discussing computer graphics or religious history with students; other times he could be spotted in his Harris tweed and paisley vest, photographed in the pages of upscale art magazines at museum openings where he had been asked to lecture.

    Although a tough teacher and strict disciplinarian, Langdon was the first to embrace what he hailed as the "lost art of good clean fun." He relished recreation with an infectious fanaticism that had earned him a fraternal acceptance among his students. His campus nickname -- "The Dolphin" -- was a reference both to his affable nature and his legendary ability to dive into a pool and outmaneuver the entire opposing squad in a water polo match.

    As Langdon sat alone, absently gazing into the darkness, the silence of his home was shattered again, this time by the ring of his fax machine. Too exhausted to be annoyed, Langdon forced a tired chuckle.

    God's people, he thought. Two thousand years of waiting for their Messiah, and they're still persistent as hell.

    Wearily, he returned his empty mug to the kitchen and walked slowly to his oak-paneled study. The incoming fax lay in the tray. Sighing, he scooped up the paper and looked at it.

    Instantly, a wave of nausea hit him.

    The image on the page was that of a human corpse. The body had been stripped naked, and its head had been twisted, facing completely backward. On the victim's chest was a terrible burn. The man had been branded...imprinted with a single word. It was a word Langdon knew well. Very well. He stared at the ornate lettering in disbelief.


    "Illuminati," he stammered, his heart pounding. It can't be...

    In slow motion, afraid of what he was about to witness, Langdon rotated the fax 180 degrees. He looked at the word upside down.

    Instantly, the breath went out of him. It was like he had been hit by a truck. Barely able to believe his eyes, he rotated the fax again, reading the brand right-side up and then upside down.

    "Illuminati," he whispered.

    Stunned, Langdon collapsed in a chair. He sat a moment in utter bewilderment. Gradually, his eyes were drawn to the blinking red light on his fax machine. Whoever had sent this fax was still on the line...waiting to talk. Langdon gazed at the blinking light a long time.

    Then, trembling, he picked up the receiver.

    Copyright © 2000 by Dan Brown

    Read More Show Less

    Introduction

    Angels & Demons

    Dan Brown

    QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

    1. What is your view of Robert Langdon? What motivates him to find out more about the circumstances of Leonardo Vetra's death? Is it merely academic interest? Aside from his scholarly knowledge, what else in Langdon's background helps him succeed during this adventure?

    2. Discuss the other characters' motivations for their actions, both the "villains" and "heroes" in the story, including Vittoria, the Hassassin, the camerlengo, Cardinal Mortati, and Maximilian Kohler.

    3. Angels & Demons is filled with examples of science versus religion, a debate that has raged for centuries. Is there room in the world for both science and religion? Is one likely to render the other obsolete? Would you rather live in a world without science...or in a world without religion?

    4. Were you aware of the existence of CERN prior to reading this book? What is your opinion of the work they conduct, particularly in regard to antimatter technology?

    5. Discuss Vittoria's role in the story. How does her knowledge as a scientist come into play? Leonardo Vetra was both a scientist and a priest. How did he reconcile these two seemingly disparate entities? In what ways did her father's beliefs influence Vittoria's own opinions of science and religion?

    6. When he first meets Maximilian Kohler, Langdon tells him he is "undecided on miracles... . I study religious symbology — I'm an academic, not a priest" (21). Does Langdon change his view on miracles by the end of the book?

    7. Had you heard of the Illuminati before reading Angels & Demons? The Illuminati is rumored by some to be activetoday. Do you believe this is true? What is the enduring fascination with conspiracy theories? Given what Dan Brown reveals about the history of the Illuminati, is their alleged vendetta against the Vatican justified?

    8. Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca emerges as one of the most complex characters in the story. What was your opinion of the camerlengo when he is first introduced? How about by the end of the book?

    9. What role do the media play in the events that unfold? How about Glick and Macri in particular? The media were not interested in covering the election of a new pope until there was tragedy involved. How much influence do the media have on what information is relayed to the public? Is it true, as Glick believes, that "viewers didn't want truth anymore; they wanted entertainment" (190)?

    10. The novel takes place during a 24-hour period. How does this narrative structure heighten the suspense in the story? What red herrings does the author use to keep the reader guessing? Did you anticipate any of the events in the story?

    11. What did you find to be most compelling about Angels & Demons — the action scenes, the characters, the setting, the history, or something else entirely?

    12. Discuss the novel's ending. Do you think the Vatican (and Robert and Vittoria) made the right decision to keep the events that took place secret from the public?

    13. In an interview on his website (www.danbrown.com), Dan Brown said that Angels & Demons "opens some Vatican closets most people don't even know exist." Did you learn anything about the Vatican, its practices, and its history that surprised you?

    14. In the same interview Dan Brown goes on to say, "The final message of the novel, though, without a doubt, is a positive one." What do you see as the ultimate message of the book?

    15. Have you visited Rome? If so, do you recall seeing the Illuminati symbolism that Dan Brown describes in the book, such as at the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Navona? If you have not been to Rome, has reading Angels & Demons inspired you to make a visit?

    16. If you've read Robert Langdon's second adventure, The Da Vinci Code, compare the two books. What similarities do the stories share? How does the character of Rober Langdon change?

    Dan Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and, previously, Digital Fortress, Deception Point, and Angels & Demons. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts to writing full-time. He lives in New England with his wife. Visit the author's website at www.danbrown.com.

    Read More Show Less

    Reading Group Guide

    Angels & Demons

    Dan Brown

    QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

    1. What is your view of Robert Langdon? What motivates him to find out more about the circumstances of Leonardo Vetra's death? Is it merely academic interest? Aside from his scholarly knowledge, what else in Langdon's background helps him succeed during this adventure?

    2. Discuss the other characters' motivations for their actions, both the "villains" and "heroes" in the story, including Vittoria, the Hassassin, the camerlengo, Cardinal Mortati, and Maximilian Kohler.

    3. Angels & Demons is filled with examples of science versus religion, a debate that has raged for centuries. Is there room in the world for both science and religion? Is one likely to render the other obsolete? Would you rather live in a world without science...or in a world without religion?

    4. Were you aware of the existence of CERN prior to reading this book? What is your opinion of the work they conduct, particularly in regard to antimatter technology?

    5. Discuss Vittoria's role in the story. How does her knowledge as a scientist come into play? Leonardo Vetra was both a scientist and a priest. How did he reconcile these two seemingly disparate entities? In what ways did her father's beliefs influence Vittoria's own opinions of science and religion?

    6. When he first meets Maximilian Kohler, Langdon tells him he is "undecided on miracles... . I study religious symbology — I'm an academic, not a priest" (21). Does Langdon change his view on miracles by the end of the book?

    7. Had you heard of the Illuminati before reading Angels & Demons? The Illuminati is rumored by some to be active today. Do you believe this is true? What is the enduring fascination with conspiracy theories? Given what Dan Brown reveals about the history of the Illuminati, is their alleged vendetta against the Vatican justified?

    8. Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca emerges as one of the most complex characters in the story. What was your opinion of the camerlengo when he is first introduced? How about by the end of the book?

    9. What role do the media play in the events that unfold? How about Glick and Macri in particular? The media were not interested in covering the election of a new pope until there was tragedy involved. How much influence do the media have on what information is relayed to the public? Is it true, as Glick believes, that "viewers didn't want truth anymore; they wanted entertainment" (190)?

    10. The novel takes place during a 24-hour period. How does this narrative structure heighten the suspense in the story? What red herrings does the author use to keep the reader guessing? Did you anticipate any of the events in the story?

    11. What did you find to be most compelling about Angels & Demons — the action scenes, the characters, the setting, the history, or something else entirely?

    12. Discuss the novel's ending. Do you think the Vatican (and Robert and Vittoria) made the right decision to keep the events that took place secret from the public?

    13. In an interview on his website (www.danbrown.com), Dan Brown said that Angels & Demons "opens some Vatican closets most people don't even know exist." Did you learn anything about the Vatican, its practices, and its history that surprised you?

    14. In the same interview Dan Brown goes on to say, "The final message of the novel, though, without a doubt, is a positive one." What do you see as the ultimate message of the book?

    15. Have you visited Rome? If so, do you recall seeing the Illuminati symbolism that Dan Brown describes in the book, such as at the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Navona? If you have not been to Rome, has reading Angels & Demons inspired you to make a visit?

    16. If you've read Robert Langdon's second adventure, The Da Vinci Code, compare the two books. What similarities do the stories share? How does the character of Rober Langdon change?

    Read More Show Less

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4.5
    ( 2759 )
    Rating Distribution

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2768 Customer Reviews
    • Posted March 19, 2009

      HATED IT

      "Angels and Demons", by Dan Brown, follows the story of world renowned Harvard symbologist and biologist/physicist Vittoria Vetra through the Vatican City and the rest of Rome in an attempt to locate and recharge the missing canister of antimatter. Behind the sinister plot to destroy the Vatican City is the, once thought vanished, Illuminati, a secret society that was thought to have vanished in the 1800's whose goal was to destroy the Roman Catholic Church and the faith of all the believers.

      This novel has a very gripping plot and is very hard to put down, but it is extremely predictable. For the most part, it follows the exact same story outline as "The Da Vinci Code." They are both about a secret society trying to reveal the truth behind what the Roman Catholic teaches it's followers, they both occur in a single day, and they both have the same kind of treachery involving very prominent characters.

      The end of this novel should have been very strong. Instead, it was very weak and served no real purpose. The gift received is somewhat significant, but otherwise, there was no real purpose for it. A whole entire chapter ha to be read for Vittoria to say: "Have you ever slept with a yoga master," or something to that extent. I think I would have liked the book a little more if it had had a concrete and strong ending.

      Every mystery should be exciting, attractive, fast paced, and unpredictable. This book fell very far in all of these categories. This book is not a must read unless you're a Dan Brown fan or a fan of really bad books.

      17 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 18, 2009

      Better than any code!

      I reluctantly picked this book up. I had read the DaVinci Code really just to see what the big fuss was, but never finished it. Dan Brown redeemed himself with this one. I could not put it down. I love fast paced books and this one definitely is that...now I have to decide if I'll ruin it all by watching the movie, but we'll see.

      8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 12, 2008

      Great Thrilling and Captivating Science-Fiction Book!

      Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra combine to create an amazing story-line with many twists, turns, and surprises in Dan Brown¿s Angels and Demons. This book has a fair amount of fabrication, along with a number of true, while unknown facts, all of which combine with first-rate and competent characters to create a never failing, addictive novel.<BR/> In Vatican City, Rome an ancient and thought-to-be-extinct demonic brotherhood emerges to declare science¿s jurisdiction over religion. While the brotherhood of the Illuminati is factual, this conspiracy and attack are completely fictional. Brown¿s interlinking of these two very distinct elements combine into a woven quilt, creating the story of Angels and Demons.<BR/> Robert Langdon is a world-renowned Harvard symbologist called to Switzerland¿s Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire facility (CERN) to scrutinize a corpse branded with an Illuminati ambigram. Langdon¿s brilliance connects with Vittoria Vetra¿s common sense to create a kind of juggernaut against the terror of the brotherhood. This well-rounded team is prone to penetrate the protected Illuminati.<BR/> Angels and Demons is a great book that I would recommend to anyone interested. I am a freshman in High School and had no problem with any of the vocabulary in the story. I was also intrigued instantaneously and addicted by the third or fourth chapter. The other great thing about this book is that it is not so predictable that you can tell exactly what is going to happen. But it does not make you think ¿Where on Earth is this going?¿ and no one likes this. The novel mixes elements well and creates an entertaining story that I would advise to everyone.

      7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 4, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Good just not great

      Unfortunately, I read Da Vinci Code first, then went back to Angels and Demons. What I noticed was that the style was identical and the characters were similar and the plot was quite parallel. It was almost like reading the same book back to back. Neither book was badly written, it's just that the style showed no variety and read back to back was a let down.

      6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted January 6, 2012

      An Outstanding Novel!!

      I'm not a reader, but I have read enough books to know that Dan Brown has created a masterpiece.Ever since I read this book, I have wanted to read through the entire triology. The book has a gripping plot, while teaching you things about Religion and the Big Bang theory.

      While some people say Dan Brown did a better job in writing The Da Vinci Code I disagree. Dan Brown managed to take historical sites, places, and events and mix it up with action to make a thriller that you can never put down. I felt that Angels and Demons plot was bigger and better than that of The Da Vinci Code's. The book takes you all across Rome to ancient Cathedrals and lairs, in an attempt to save the Catholic Church itself. When you're done with the book, you'll be amazed that all the monumental events happened within a day. The book will manage to keep you off balance, but doesn't frustrate you. With its clever twists in its plot, it's not as predictable as other books might be.

      The amount of knowledge in science and religion in this book would be enough to fill an entire textbook. While some of the information on this book has not been yet proven true, Dan Brown did a good job of knowing his stuff. The book will teach you everything from the birth of Christianity, to the Big Bang theory. The book doesn't bore you, but there are some unnecessary walls of text in the book that get boring. However, you can easily skip these and still understand whats going on.

      All in all, I felt that Dan Brown did a really good job with this book, and had very few flaws. For anyone who is bored in their free time, pick up this book, and let Dan Brown take you on a hunt to save the Catholic Church.

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 19, 2006

      So, So

      Here is the thing, all of Dan Browns books are the same. You will love the first one you read and forget the rest. But I think Angels and Demons is the best because it is more realistic. However, they all go a little something like this: (1)Langdon is called to the scene of some crime that has some connection with symbology, (2) Langdon spend the next 48 hours dodgeing bullets like his is NEO and running around with some hot chick he has no chance of scoreing with, (3) They uncover the mystery which is that the 'hopeless' Catholic church is grossly abusing modern science in order to bring faith back into peoples lives. (4) Langdon saves the day, losses the girl, and goes back to his lonely life as college professor.....until next summer! when (5) Dan Brown sends him on another journey to stop the Catholic church for destroying the free world. Dan Brown wrote a very interesting tale with Angels and Demons and revised it with The Da Vinci Code. However, my compliments stop there because it doesn't take a genious to notice that Brown doesn't think too highly of the Catholic Church and is trying to make a lot of money by leading people to believe that this religion is full of evil, conspiring, twisted, power-hungry, and violent men. Dan Brown is a one hit wonder.

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 16, 2013

      I read this book for an outside reading assignment for my Honors

      I read this book for an outside reading assignment for my Honors English Class. I started off thinking
      it wouldn't be a terrible book but once I really started reading it, I realized it is a very well written book
      that has a great story line and some interesting plot twists. I can't wait to read more of the Robert
      Langdon series.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 6, 2013

      I loved this book!  I liked it better than The Davinci Code (whi

      I loved this book!  I liked it better than The Davinci Code (which I also enjoyed)  I would recommend this book.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 15, 2013

      A Fast-Paced Read--(Warning--spoiler here) I found this book to

      A Fast-Paced Read--(Warning--spoiler here)

      I found this book to be entertaining and fast-paced, but non-Catholics should be forewarned that the author tends to present some questionable and debatable information on the Catholic church 
      as simple fact. The ending was particularly over the top as the reader is expected to believe that a Catholic Pope would have l no inner conflict with the practice of artificial insemination, which is soundly
      opposed by the Catholic Church. Despite some obvious problems here, this was still a fascinating and fantastic story that kept me entertained from beginning to end. 

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 9, 2013

      Loved it

      Enlightened me

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 16, 2012

      With Angels and Demons i really got lost. A weapon of anti-matte

      With Angels and Demons i really got lost. A weapon of anti-matter to wipe out the catholic church... Really? The whole plot was weak with the whole story only happening in one day. the characters are interesting and all but there was to much jumping around and not enough action. Dan Browns writing was better with his other book. This one is actually funny in some aspects... i'm just here to say that matter cannot be created or destroyed. Science fiction meets the church.

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted March 14, 2012

      An Epic of Epic Proportions

      Angels and Demons is without a doubt in my mind Brown's masterpiece. The book novel is rich with action, suspense, and imagery that is guaranteed to have you hooked. This is one of the very few books that I simply could not put down. I literally read this book from cover to cover in the span of four nights (i'm a slow reader). Every day, I would begin reading at around 9pm, however, due to the book's highly suspenseful nature, I would not be able to put it down until at least 1 in the morning. The story line is very unique. Though fictional, the story feels chillingly real. I believe this book had an even stronger effect on me because I am personally a Catholic. Though this book is labeled as fiction,it accurately depicts many historical and factual details such as the politics within the Vatican, and many monumental sights in Rome. Furthermore, If one is looking for a story full of thought provoking and suspenseful moments, look no further. However, I HIGHLY recommend picking up the illustrated version, it helps a lot when the story makes factual references.

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 31, 2012

      WOW

      This book review is about Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. The author’s purpose in the book is to symbolize the science versus religion debate. I would suggest Angels and Demons for anyone who craves an action packed thriller that is also educational. Angels and Demons introduces the reader to the character Robert Langdon, a symbologist who teaches at Harvard and is featured in another famous book called The Da Vinci Code. The setting of this book takes place in Rome, the location of the Vatican. Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol that has been seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. At this point he discovers evidence of an ancient secret society called the Illuminati, the most powerful underground organization to appose the Catholic church, its most hated enemy. Langdon’s worst fears are realized on the eve of the Vatican’s holy conclave, when Langdon learns that the Illuminati had hidden a time bomb somewhere in the Vatican City. With time slipping by, Langdon heads to Rome and joins forces with another character named Vittoria Vetra, an Italian Bio Entanglement Physicist. Together they follow a 400 year old trail of ancient symbols across Rome to locate the hidden Illuminati lair which eventually contains the only hope to find the bomb.I really liked the way Dan Brown delivers a history lesson while still keeping me entertained, as a reader whom enjoys action packed thrillers. I also enjoyed the way that Dan Brown described various historical places with such vivid and unparallel detail “Kohler was sickened by the opulence of the Hallway of the Belvedere. The gold leaf in the ceiling alone probably could have funded a year’s worth of cancer research. “ I have probably read numerous amounts of books and none of them compare to the amount of detail this story provides. I would recommend this book to those who want a action filled story with the ability to follow the main character throughout a series of books as evidenced by The Da Vinci Code.

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 19, 2012

      A Good Treasure Hunt

      A fun little adventure yarn. While there were no real surprises, it was fun to follow the characters on their treasure hunt. Lovers of Italian art and architecture will enjoy the descriptions of Italian art. A quick read.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 7, 2011

      more from this reviewer

      very good, hard to put down but a bit disappointed in the end

      I still gave this book a 4 even though I was disappointed in the end. I was told this book was better than his other, the Davinci code but I disagree. I just found this story less believable. Just my thoughts.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 27, 2011

      more from this reviewer

      Not my cup of coffee...

      I purchased this book on sale while stuck at an airport. A good friend of mine highly recommended the author and assured me it would be an enjoyable read. I will admit it was a quick read and very easy to get through (no dictionary required). Unfortunately, it was quick due to no evident character development, the plot was basic at best, and it read like a first draft. Point 1 is self explanatory; the characters were the same people at the end as they were at the beginning of the book. No morals were learned and no greater truth discovered. Point 2, the plot ran a simple text book outline with each "act" running an equal amount of time, which became very predicable as the pages ran on, resulting in the falling action and rising action feeling the same and passing by mostly unnoticed. Without a build, the book as a whole fell flat. Point 3 is based entirely on my opinion of complexity. The concept of the book was thrown in and explained, almost entirely, at the start of the book. No shock, no surprise, and very little left to figure out which a rewrite could've easily fixed. As a whole, the experience was disappointing. I did, however, have a very lengthy and fulfilling debate on the book with the friend who suggested it to me.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 13, 2011

      more from this reviewer

      still on the fence about this one

      I felt like I knew what was coming in each chapter. I was kind of disappointed that it all took place in one day. I was expecting the murder of the cardinals to be more dramatic although the one that was burned alive seemed the most interesting. The only time I was really excited about the read was the last 2-3 chapters. I didn't expect that at all. Now that I've read the book I'm gonna rent the movie.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 6, 2010

      B&N did not deliver

      I tried twice to order this book. And both time B&N canceled the order for no reason. Come on B&N if you are not going to sell the book take it off you site.

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 23, 2010

      More schlock

      More unbelievable plot-lines and one-dimensional, comic-book characters without the creativity of the intriguiging puzzle in "The Da Vinci Code."

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 14, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      blows the twilight saga outta the water

      amazing book by dan brown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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