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22gigantes.com - The explosive international thriller from Dan Brown, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code.An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. 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.
Most helpful customer reviews 42 of 47 people found the following review helpful. Robert Langdon's first adventure as a symbologist-detective By Lawrance Bernabo I read "Angels & Demons" after reading Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," and I have to say that I do not think it matters what order you read the two books although there are clear indications this book was written first (Brown does several examples of blatant foreshadowing, including early on the idea that one square yard of drag will slow a falling body's rate of descent by twenty percent). The two books are similar in that Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon deciphers clues to try and solve one murder while trying to prevent others in a mystery that involves the secrets of the Catholic Church. In this book a physicist is murdered at CERN, the Swiss research facility, and branded will a symbol representing the Illuminati, the centuries old underground organization of scientists who have a vendetta against the Catholic Church. The ancient secret brotherhood has acquired a devastating new weapon of mass destruction and intends to bring down the Vatican (literally).Which book is better? My initial reaction would be that I liked "The Da Vinci Code" a bit more because so many of the clues were written out. When Langdon has to look over paintings, statues and other visual clues I find myself wishing Brown had supplied photographs in his book so that I could play along looking for clues (he does provide most of the requisite images at his website, but I did not know this until after the fact and I suspect most readers will not want to stop and go online to call up the photographs). Not that I had much success in my endeavors, but I did know that Leonardo Da Vinci wrote in his journals backwards so that I was ahead of Langdon for a half a page at one point. "Angles & Demons" is played out on a larger and more public stage than "The Da Vinci Code," and when you get to the conclusion of this novel you might find it a bit much, but that is one of the reasons they call it fiction.The biggest question in the debate over these books seems to be whether Brown is attacking the Catholic Church in his novels, which strikes me a bit odd after reading "Angels & Demons" since the Vatican is the target this time around. This novel is more about the long struggle between science and religion than anything else, and the position Brown takes seems to be that the two are ultimately compatible. I did my dissertation on the Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925 and in the spectacle of Clarence Darrow cross-examining William Jennings Bryan that is codified by the fictional "Inherit the Wind," history has forgotten that the original position of the Scopes defense was that there Genesis and evolution were compatible. Consequently, I have a lot of sympathy for Brown's position and I think a careful reading of the text offers as strong a critique of science as it does of religion. Certainly that ideal is represented by the man who is murdered to start off the story and whatever faults in the history and theology of the Catholic Church might be discussed, there are just too many men of devout faith in the narrative to support the idea Brown is out to get the Church.Nor do I have any real concerns with the extent to which Brown is playing with historical "facts." The whole idea here is to create a sense that the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I do not think for a second that these novels are true; all I need is to believe that they are plausible, so telling me that some statue's finger is pointed in the wrong direction if you go to Rome and see it for yourself is not going to matter to me because I understand how far the rules of the game apply to the real world. Even so, I think that Brown's factual foundation is more substantial than we will usually find under such circumstances, which would end up being a plus rather than a minus. Besides, I like all of the flashbacks to Langdon's discussions with his students (more classroom scenes in the future, please).Solving the puzzles is the key enjoyment of these novels and that part of the creative process makes up for Brown's tendency to overplay his red herrings and to hide his true villains in plain sight. Ultimately the game matters more than the characters or the plot. As soon as you know that there will be four more murders you realize that at least three of them have to happen because the game has to be played out to the end, so it is not until the frantic end game that your attention really perks up and it is at that point that Brown starts unloading a whole lot of really big surprises on his characters and his readers. In the final analysis the point here is neither history nor theology, but to tell an exciting adventure yarn where the hero gets by mainly on his intelligence rather than good looks and/or weaponry. This is a hero I can actually identify with for once and that is fine with me too. 89 of 104 people found the following review helpful. A genuine page-turner By Kevin Lauderdale Harvard professor Robert Langdon and CERN scientist Vittoria Vetra have just one night to prevent the Vatican from being destroyed by an antimatter bomb. Can they do it? Of course. But the fun lies in how and why.A sample of antimatter has been stolen from physics center CERN by the Illuminati -- the all-powerful group made so famous by Robert A. Wilson's books. Here, they are represented as being an ancient order of scientists upset with the way the Church has treated science and scientists. (Me, I always liked the bankers-as-secret-force or blood-relatives-of-Jesus explanation of the Illuminati, but this will do.) This provides for plenty of science vs. religion conversations, and Brown does a good job with them.ANGELS AND DEMONS is a fast, but satisfying read. It rolls along unstoppably, not the least of which because the action takes place over a 24-hour span. Even if -- as I did -- you guess what's really happening half-way through the book, you'll never guess what happens in the last 40 pages.The book is laced with fun facts about electing a pope and the Vatican, like that St. Peter's bones are not in the golden casket in St. Peter's Basilica, but two stories under it. Brown knows the layout. And that the artist Raphael's last name was Santi. He also knows how marble statues were carved. Brown's no Irving Stone (THE AGONY AND THE ECSTACY), but he does manage to inform without being pedantic.As Vittoria and Langdon race around Rome, we get quite a tour, with great descriptions. (Pick up a paperback copy next summer and bring it to Rome. Take the Brown tour.) What's interesting is that all the places and pieces of art in this book really exist. So Brown has played a version of the Sherlockians' Great Game by linking them all with his "history" of the Illuminati and their doings. No small feat.Several of the plot elements have to be taken with a grain of salt. First, there is the fact that everyone in this book is absolutely amazed by amibgrams (these are words which can be ready the same upside-down as right-side up -- the book's dust jacket has the title in ambigram). They play an important role in the story, and everyone who encounters them is practically struck dumb the fact that even exist. They "seem utterly impossible." I guess no one else in the story (including symbol expert Langdon) remembers that OMNI magazine ran an ambigram contest in the 1980s and published dozens of the thousands of entries they received, I imagine that by now there must be a software program or web site that can make them for you (and make an acrostic that spells out your girlfriend's name). In short: they aren't that amazing. Then there are things like the fact that Vittoria (a physicist) isn't familiar with the classical four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Come on.Great literature? No, but you sure keep turning the pages to see what happens next. 125 of 151 people found the following review helpful. An absolutely STUNNING Thriller! By Jeff Edwards My first introduction to Dan Brown was through his incredible thriller, 'The Da Vinci Code' and figured that I had missed out on his previous works, so I picked up 'Angels & Demons' the day after I finished TDVC. This is in every way it's equal. Every bit as compelling. Every bit as entertaining. Every bit as FUN. If you enjoy solving puzzles -- especially REAL ones, than Dan Brown is an author you NEED to get to know and F-A-S-T.One of the things which made this book so instantly enjoyable was one of the main characters I already knew, Robert Langdon, world famous Symbologist from 'The Da Vinci Code'. Set aside some time to completely absorb this amazing tale, because once you start it, you will instantly be captured up in this highly addictive story. Robert is suddenly awakened early in the morning by the Director of the worlds leading science center, CERN located in Switzerland asking for advice. Robert is less than interested and hangs up when his fax machine spits out a picture which makes his blood run cold. Within a few hours, he is on a quick trip to Europe (heavy emphasis on the word 'Quick'). A murder has been committed. The victim, one of the most gifted scientist in the world has been brutally killed and the mysterious brand of the secret brotherhood of the Illuminati is left on his chest. NOT just ANY brand either, an Ambigram, a word which can be read the same right-side-up as well as upside-down. But Robert is convinced that the Illuminati have been disbanded for the better part of a century. Even so, his curiosity leads him on a quest which will take up the rest of the day and open up secrets long forgotten and better left buried.Somehow Dan Brown has introduced the element of Antimatter into the story in such a way as to be totally believable. The substance in actuality has been manufactured in microscopic quantities. It's a power source if harnessed could benefit mankind in untold ways -- however with most things the opposite is also true. In this case Antimatter can also be a weapon of catastrophic proportions. Just a tiny half-a-gram of Antimatter if it came in contact with literally ANYTHING, even air, would create an annhialation equal to a 5 kiloton nuclear explosion. When some of this material is stolen from a lab in Geneva and turns up hidden somewhere inside the walls of the Vatican, the chase is on to find it before it decimates the headquaters of the worlds largest Christian Religion. Oh, and to throw a little curve ball to the plot, the Pope has recently died and the worlds senior Cardinals have gathered for Conclave, to decide who will be elected Pontiff. Along the way, we find out the Illuminati's ultimate goal of destroying the Catholic Church, and suddenly it all seems possible -- frighteningly possible. When 4 of the Senior Cardinals are kidnapped and threatened to be murdered one-by-one until the Antimatter goes critical, the stakes suddenly are as serious as the Church has ever faced.Let me tell you this: NOTHING is as it seems, and NOBDY is safe from suspicion. I was absolutely convinced that one character was involved in the conspiracy and BOY was I WRONG. The surprises are fast and many, and the trip was one well worth taking. Catholics take note: You MAY be a little unsettled at how the Church is portrayed in 'Angels & Demons' but ultimately I believe the basic idea the author conveys is one of hope, and the Church provides that in many ways. I will be recommending this book (as well as 'The Da Vinci Code') to ALL my friends. HIGHLY recommended, and absolutely INCREDIBLY fun. See all 3376 customer reviews...
Amazon.com It takes guts to write a novel that combines an ancient secret brotherhood, the Swiss Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, a papal conclave, mysterious ambigrams, a plot against the Vatican, a mad scientist in a wheelchair, particles of antimatter, jets that can travel 15,000 miles per hour, crafty assassins, a beautiful Italian physicist, and a Harvard professor of religious iconology. It takes talent to make that novel anything but ridiculous. Kudos to Dan Brown (Digital Fortress) for achieving the nearly impossible. Angels & Demons is a no-holds-barred, pull-out-all-the-stops, breathless tangle of a thriller--think Katherine Neville's The Eight (but cleverer) or Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (but more accessible). Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the society's ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared--only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra's daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization. Brown seems as much juggler as author--there are lots and lots of balls in the air in this novel, yet Brown manages to hurl the reader headlong into an almost surreal suspension of disbelief. While the reader might wish for a little more sardonic humor from Langdon, and a little less bombastic philosophizing on the eternal conflict between religion and science, these are less fatal flaws than niggling annoyances--readers should have no trouble skimming past them and immersing themselves in a heck of a good read. "Brain candy" it may be, but my! It's tasty. --Kelly Flynn Look Inside the Motion Picture Angels & Demons (Sony Pictures, 2009) Click on each image below to see a larger view Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca with College of Cardinals Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon and Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra Armin Mueller-Stahl as Straus and Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra, and Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca Ewan MacGregor as Carlo Ventresca From Publishers 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. "A breathless, real-time adventure. . . . Exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ." -- San Francisco Chronicle
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