Synopses & Reviews
From the #1 New York Times
bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code
comes the explosive thriller that started it all.
An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target. When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to his first assignment 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 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.
Critics have praised the exhilarating blend of relentless adventure, scholarly intrigue, and cutting wit found in Brown's remarkable thrillers featuring Robert Langdon. An explosive international suspense, Angels & Demons marks this hero's first adventure as it careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.
"A breathless real-time adventure...
Exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Angels &Demons is one hell of a book...
Intriguing, suspenseful, and imaginative. "
12-time New York Times bestselling author, Dale Brown
"A reading experience you will never forget....Dan Brown has created another frantic paced thriller that rivals the best works of Clancy and Cussler. "
Book Browser Reviews
"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. "
Joe Mauceri, syndicated book reviewer
"Among the best books I have ever read...Angels & Demons is part thriller, part mystery, and all action. A highly entertaining, page-turning thriller."
"Thrilling Cat-and-Mouse maneuvers...Life-or-death cliff hangers, romance, religion, science, murder, mysticism, architecture, and action. Angels & Demons is a GO!"
"One of the best read we've ever seen...
If Tom Clancy and Umberto Eco got fused together, Dan Brown would be the result."
From the #1 "New York Times bestselling author of "The Da Vinci Code comes the first breathless adventure featuring world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon.
Picking up where international bestseller The Hangman's Daughter left off, the highly anticipated sequel about a dark legacy of the Knights Templar.
THE ANTICIPATED FOLLOWUP TO THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER, THE HANGMANS DAUGHTER
1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors the night a parish priest discovers he's been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength to scratch a cryptic sign in the frost.
Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl; his headstrong daughter Magdalena; and the town physicians son team up with the priests aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.
But theyre not the only ones after the legendary fortune. A team of dangerous and mysterious monks is always close behind, tracking their every move, speaking Latin in the shadows, giving off a strange, intoxicating scent. And to throw the hangman off their trail, they have ensured he is tasked with capturing a band of thieves roving the countryside attacking solitary travelers and spreading panic.
Delivering on the promise of the international bestseller The Hangmans Daughter, once again based on prodigious historical research into Pötzschs family tree, The Dark Monk takes us on a whirlwind tour through the occult hiding places of Bavarias ancient monasteries, bringing to life an unforgettable compassionate hangman and his tenacious daughter, painting a robust tableau of a seventeenth-century Bavaria still negotiating the lasting impacts of war, and quickening our pulses with a gripping, mesmerizing mystery.
About the Author
Dan Brown is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Da Vinci Code
. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts fully to writing.
In 1996, Dans interest in code-breaking and covert government agencies led him to write his first novel, Digital Fortress, which quickly became a #1 national bestselling eBook. Set within the clandestine National Security Agency, the novel explores the fine line between civilian privacy and national security. Browns follow-up techno-thriller, Deception Point, centered on similar issues of morality in politics, national security, and classified technology.
The son of a Presidential Award winning math professor and of a professional sacred musician, Dan grew up surrounded by the paradoxical philosophies of science and religion. These complementary perspectives served as inspiration for his acclaimed novel Angels & Demonsa science vs. religion thriller set within a Swiss physics lab and Vatican City. Recently, he has begun work on a series of symbology thrillers featuring his popular protagonist Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of iconography and religious art. The upcoming series will include books set in Paris, London, and Washington D.C.
Dans wife Blythean art historian and paintercollaborates on his research and accompanies him on his frequent research trips, their latest to Paris, where they spent time in the Louvre for his new thriller, The Da Vinci Code.
In its first week on sale, The Da Vinci Code achieved unprecedented success when it debuted at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller list, simultaneously topping bestseller lists at The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and San Francisco Chronicle. Later, the book hit #1 on every major bestseller list in the country. The book is now being adapted for film by Columbia Pictures.
Dan has made appearances on CNN, The Today Show, National Public Radio, Voice of America, as well as in the pages of Newsweek, People, Forbes, Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, and others. His novels have been translated and published around the world.
Reading Group Guide
Angels and Demons
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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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?