Dan Brown has become famous after the Da Vinci Code as his previous novels were moderately successful having sold less than 10,000 copies. However, when I picked up Angels and Demons [AD] amazingly it turned out to be real page turner and I find it better than The Da Vinci Code[DVC], which follows mostly same plot as AD.
**Spoiler ahead some plot is revealed **
Robert Langdon ,a well known symbologist of history and professor at Harvard University, receives a phone call in early morning requiring his expertise , which he refuses. Immediately he receives a fax of a murdered man with a symbol of “Illuminati” branded on his chest.
Now Robert is forced to visit his caller , Maximilian Kohler the Director of CERN Laboratory, Geneva, Switzerland.Where he discovers that the murdered person is , Leonardo Vetra, a famous scientist of physics and involved in a secret research project. Kohler had done search on internet for “Illuminati” , an ancient secret group of scientists raising their voices against the superemecy of the Church and religion, and now he wants the assistance of Robert for finding out the murderer.
Vittoria , the daughter of Leonardo soon arrives at the scene and Kohler demands the details of the secret project on which she and her father were working on. Vittoria explains every things about their research on Anti-matter, which is has incredible resource of energy, if used constructively. As three of them reach to her storage room where they have stored large quantity ,a droplet, of the Anti-matter generated by Leonardo, in their horror find that the canister containing the droplet of Anti-matter is stolen.
Suddenly Kohler receives a phone call from the Vatican , Rome about strange canister appearing on the security monitor, but the Swiss Guards are unable to locate. Vittoria and Robert fly to the Vatican and meet the Commander Olivetti.
There is so much activities at the Vatican as the fifteen days ago the Pope has died by a stroke and now conclave is arranged and 165 cardinals from around the world have met, to elect new Pope. Four of the senior cardinals, who are chosen one, and anyone of them likely to be new Pope, are reported missing.
Robert and Vittoria met with Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca at the chamber of the late Pope where he receives phone call from Hassassin that he has kidnapped all four cardinals and they will be murdered publicly one after one.
Robert believes that he can find the venues of proposed murders if he is allowed to access to the Archives of the Vatican where a secret diary of Galileo is stored and from the diary he may be able to find clues about the places of murders.
Robert and Vittoria decode the locations one after one but they are always little late from saving the cardinals who are murdered using four elements of Illuminati , earth,air,fire and water. During the third murder Vittoria is kidnapped by Hassassin.
Then Kohler decides to arrive at the Vatican , as he may be having the location of the cannister placed, which is to be removed otherwise destroying entire Vatican. However, from the talks of Hassassin Robert suspects that infact Kohler is Janus, the head of Illuminati to finally eliminate the Camerlengo and they rush to the Vatican to save the Camerlengo.
Intense suspense is created thereafter, whether Kohler is Janus? whether Illuminati is able to infiltrate the most secure place of the Vatican? What happens to the Anti-matter?
I have not described “Illuminati” in details to avoid spoiling the suspense.I must say that AD is better than the DVC and surprisingly, did not receive any attention till the DVC became famous. If you have enjoyed the DVC , then this is treat for you, the first adventure of Robert Langdon. I find the DVC storyline much similar , rather it is dull comparing with AD. Probably the name of Da Vinci caused attraction .
If you are interested in to know more about ambigrams used in the novel here is the link of John Langdon , an ambigram artist a part of inspiration , as said by Dan Brown, for the novel and the character Robert Langdon.