I completely devoured the Dan Brown novel Angels & Demons over winter break. A true page-turner, the novel kept me on the edge of my seat as I followed the exciting adventure of the symbolist Robert Langdon. From Boston to Geneva to the Vatican, the protagonist puts his knowledge of symbols and of the Illuminati to work. Once a murder occurs in a top secret science research facility in Switzerland, Langdon is called to investigate the branded Illuminati symbol on a corpse. One thing leads to another and Dr. Robert Langdon, accompanied by the lovely Vittoria Vetra, finds himself on the “Path of Illumination,” the long-forgotten, top-secret path through the Vatican leading to the sacred Illuminati lair and to the treasured Illuminati diamond. The Illuminati, an anonymous group believed to want to take over the world, happen to be in Dr. Langdon’s area of expertise. Even in today’s pop-culture, the Illuminati has rumored members such as George Bush and Jay-Z. The image of the Illuminati has transformed over centuries. Angels & Demons delves into European history and explains that the Illuminati was originally a group of enlightened thinkers (thus explaining the name of the group), who gathered to discuss science and reason, which was forbidden by the Catholic Church at the time. A notable Illuminati leader was Galileo, persecuted by the Church for supporting the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. As this thrilling plot unfolds, a beautiful balance of both Italian renaissance art and religious artifacts combines with modern and futuristic scientific research to create a captivating, page-turning story. This novel brought to light the bitter, long-standing battle between science and religion.
I particularly enjoyed this novel because many of the things that I have leaned in my CL European History class appeared throughout the book. I smiled when I read about artists like Michelangelo and Raphael, and the importance of Galileo and his persecution by the Catholic Church. After having studied the Italian Renaissance and scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, I found this novel even more fascinating. I highly recommend Angels & Demons for any reader seeking a fun, interesting, and thrilling page-turner. Also, I perpetually find it rewarding to finish a book over 500 pages in length, and this is 616 pages. I finished this in four days.