Friday, April 01, 2011

A Recent Read Number 17

"Again Langdon forced himself to consider the implausible. If the Illuminati were still alive, and if they stole the anti-matter, what would be their intention? What would be their target?"

NOTE: This review may contain SPOILERS.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.
I'm getting to this review very late. I read this book around December '09 to January '10. After reading it I re-watched the movie adaption of The Da Vinci Code and watched the movie of this book (I will probably point out the differences as I go along). Chronologically this book was written before The Da Vinci Code but the movies were released in reverse order and the Da Vinci Code movie claims that adventure as the main character Robert Langdon's first mystery case. That forced the producers of the movie to act as if this adventure came later.

The mystery begins with the murder of a physicist working with anti-matter experiments at the CERN (Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire AKA: European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Left by the body is an ambigram (an artistic depiction of a word to make it read the same way from another angle usually upside down) depicting the word Illuminati. The main character Robert Langdon is brought in because he is an expert in symbology. An odd and grisly fact about the murder is one of the scientists eyes was removed. The reason is soon discovered a container holding a piece of anti-matter was stolen from a lab that had a sophisticated retina reading security system. The big problem is the anti-matter has to be contained in a certain way, without this containment it becomes a bomb with a set time to explode, unless it is returned to it's containment system. Only two people had access from the secure lab the murdered scientist and his partner/daughter. Of course Langdon falls in love with Vittoria Vetra.The movie version changes the murder victim to being an assistant of Vittoria The movie also changed some of the other character's personalities around, making one of the characters I didn't like in the book likable in the movie.

The main goal of this adventure is to get back the anti-matter before is explodes In the meantime the Pope has recently passed away and the Vatican is in the process of electing a new Pope. One big problem the main candidates for the Papacy turn up missing. It is made known that the Illuminati are indeed alive and are responsible for the disappearance of the main candidates. Soon they start showing up dead. Langdon now has to not only race against the clock to keep the bomb from exploding but he has to help find the missing cardinals before all of them end up dead.

Like The Da Vinci Code this book digs deep into Catholic traditions and culture. It also gives some very vivid descriptions of areas of Rome and the Vatican. As part of his investigation Langdon has to gain access to the Vatican's Library vaults to research the Illuminati and follow all the clues to finding the cardinals in time. As with the other book it has a nice fast pace to it and was difficult to put down. 

As I said I read this book before seeing the film version I am glad I did because it helped to understand somethings about the movie, but as I said they did make changes to some things. It is always interesting to see a film adaptation of a book you have read. There were a few scenes in the movie that were completely different from what I had envisioned while reading the book. I think a few of them could have been done the way I imagined, but one or two of them couldn't. The ones that I thought could have been done I was a little disappointed with how the movie handled them. Oh Well.

My review of The Da Vinci Code.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown 2000 (2006) Pocket Books 710 pages. - ****