Angels & Demons

by Dan Brown

Paper Book, 2003




Atria Books (2003), Edition: 1st Atria Books Hardcover Ed, 572 pages


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.… (more)

Original publication date






½ (13831 ratings; 3.6)

Media reviews

Romance, religion, science, murder, mysticism, architecture, action. Go!
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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... Though its premises strain credulity, Brown's tale is laced with twists and shocks that keep the reader wired right up to the last
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User reviews

LibraryThing member keywestnan
I read this when The Da Vinci Code went huge to see what the fuss was about. Gotta say, i don't get it. This was one of the worst-written pieces of fiction I've read (and I really appreciate a well-crafted work of brain candy). I'll admit the plot finally got to me and I wound up turning the pages
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to find out what happened. But it was painful along the way. And what kind of moron thinks that British TV journalists are eligible for Pulitzers?
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LibraryThing member steveclark
I know that there are worse books than this - and written by the same author - but this is far and away the worst book I own. He doesn't follow the conventions of grammar, or syntax; not because he wants to be daring, but because he can't.
This book never rises to trite.
LibraryThing member jessilouwho22

Before I begin my review, I want to preface it by saying a few things.

I know a lot of people think Dan Brown is a crappy writer who writes crappy books about crappy stories with crappy characters and crappy, unbelievable plots.

I know a lot of people think Dan Brown is one of the best at the
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"cheese factor" and roll their eyes at his stories.

I know a lot of people out there know more about European history, etc. etc. than I do, and therefore, I might not be the appropriate judge of this story.

And I'm also aware that this is not the next literary classic.


I loved this book.

Every time the action picked up in this book, I had a serious adrenaline rush. My heart raced, my eyes frantically read line after line, and my hands automatically went to my mouth. I was totally engrossed in the story Dan Brown told, even though I had already seen the movie. Watching the movie before the book is very uncharacteristic of me, but I'm glad that it happened that way in this case. Reading the book cleared up a lot of unanswered questions for me, and the book was different enough from the movie to keep me gasping out loud at plot twists. For me, I was hooked along for the ride, and even though some might find his twists unbelievable or even predictable, I was just in it for the story and found myself completely absorbed. I appreciated the facts (or "facts") throughout the story that were presented to the reader about the Illuminati, Vatican City, etc. and I loved the feeling of being on the inside of solving a puzzle while racing against time. I appreciated Robert Langdon's character, and I'm so glad they cast Tom Hanks to play his character because even when I read The DaVinci Code years ago, Tom Hanks is always how I pictured Robert Langdon. Pretty damn intelligent, resourceful, and witty. Dan Brown can be pretty witty, too, and I found myself chuckling from time to time. I even enjoyed the general mechanics of this book--I liked the short chapters that kept me coming back for more. They made it easy to fly through the pages. I would look down maybe after a half hour or so into reading and be 150 pages further in the book. The "dun-dun-dunnn" moments at the end of pretty much each chapter had me flipping, too, even though I could understand how some might find that worthy of an eye-roll or two. My favorite part of the book, besides the adrenaline rushes, was how he bounced from one point of view to another without leaving the reader feeling disoriented. Rather, it had the opposite effect for me, clarifying everything by being able to watch the story unfold from all angles.

After reading The DaVinci Code a few years ago, I was a little hesitant to pick this one up...would I love Dan Brown as much (or more)? Or was The DaVinci Code a one-time deal? Well, I'm here to say that I can officially consider myself a fan of Dan Brown, however crappy others might want to declare him.
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LibraryThing member audreya2
It is a shame that such a poorly written book has become a runaway best seller. Although at first the plot is fairly clever, Dan Brown's atrocious writing style keeps the reader from ever becoming engrossed in the book. Brown has absolutely no variation in his sentence structure. Every sentence is
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short and composed in the same rhythm so that reading the book is like reading an essay written by a third grader. In fact, Brown treats the reader as if he were a small child and had to be told every single thought going through a characters mind, from obvious emotions to completely irrelevant reminiscences. During one "climactic" scene, the main character, Robert Langdon, recalls a date he went on a few months prior. The date had no bearing on the rest of the book, and the tangent completely killed any suspense the scene carried with it.
******* SPOILER ALERT!!!!! ************
As stated earlier, the plot is fairly clever at the beginning, towards the end, however, it becomes more and more contrived until it is laughable. The twist at the end makes the whole adventure seem pointless, not to mention utterly improbable.
Though seemingly meticulously researched in terms of art and history, Brown makes such glaring mistakes that it is hard to trust any of the seeming "scholarship" in the book. Winston Churchill was not Catholic. Early Christians were buried facing the east not because of sun worship but because they were facing Jerusalem in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. And whether or not you believe in the Catholic Eucharist, it is absurd to claim that Christians got the idea of "eating your god" from the Aztecs. Referrences to the Eucharist and eating the Body and Blood of Christ exist in historical Christian documents - documents that existed long before the conquistadores encountered the Aztecs in the 1500's. Finally, in the climax of the book, it is revealed that before he was elected to the papacy the former Pope fathered a child through artificial insemination with a nun and because he was still celibate, he had, according to the College of Cardinals, "committed no sin." If Brown knew anything at all about Catholic doctrine, he would know how ridiculous this is. Catholics condemn artificial insemination and there is no way the College of Cardinals would find that acceptable behavior in a papal candidate. Again, this has nothing to do with personal belief - it is fact.
This book is utter drivel. Life is too short to waste on such inanity.
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LibraryThing member theokester
I approached Angels & Demons having already read DaVinci Code and enjoying it. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but suspected some sort of religious conspiracy plot coupled with treasure hunting puzzle solving to save the day. That's exactly what I found, but the result was much more stunning
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than I expected.

While critics argue that Dan Brown isn't destined to be categorized as classic literature in years to come, he presents us with a gripping, suspense filled story that kept me turning pages as fast as I could. The format was interesting in that he generally set up a small chapter for each of the major players in the plot such that in the span of 5 pages, you could have 3 or 4 chapters each spinning the plot on its head.

Aside from Robert & Vittoria, most of the characters felt fairly flat (until the last few chapters when the charmelengo (sp?) and Kholer gained some added depth). Still, each character had enough depth to keep the story progressing and make their actions believable. Some of the quirks & depth that Brown used to present backstories felt a little painted on at times as I turned through numerous sections of flashbacks, but they were still presented well and helped add variety and depth to the story.

What I liked most was the fast paced story with it's intriguing and well-researched treasure hunt. The frantic action felt more believable in this book than it did in DaVinci. The underlying terrorist plot (in Angels)felt like a more compelling impetus to action than the threat of arrest or an impending discovery (in DaVinci). Even so, I kept having the nagging feeling that somebody else in the past few hundred years would likely have stumbled upon the clues or people Langdon was following. I think it was that feeling that helped me swallow the ending a little more.

As to the ending (without spoiling it for anyone), I really liked the way it was played out. Brown did a great job of throwing red herrings in the path again and again to keep me guessing. Even through the last 50-100 pages, things were changing or being revealed so rapidly that I felt myself caught up in the same excitement that the characters were feeling. It was great.

My main complaint about the book was the length. Approaching 600 pages felt a bit steep for the "pulp fiction" novel I had been expecting. Even with all of the intrigue and depth of the conspiracy theories and historical background, there were times that I glanced at how many pages I had left and got a little disheartened and hoped it would wrap up sooner. At the same time, as I look back I can't think of any scenes or segments that I would rip out whole-heartedly and shrink the book size. Perhaps some of the flashbacks could have been shorter or excluded, but even without those, we'd probably only lose a hundred pages or so at max (and that feels like a very optimistic count). Truly every chapter helped build the suspense, mystery and excitement and kept me thoroughly engaged.

Overall, this was a VERY fun read and I enjoyed reading it much more than I did DaVinci Code. DaVinci felt rather slow in many spots, so much so that I felt like I was reading a history textbook a few times. Angels & Demons still included segments of historical narrative, but they were more compact and effective and didn't really detract from the pace and plot of the novel. I still enjoyed the ideas explored in DaVinci, but as a story, I found Angels & Demons a much more engaging read.

3.5 stars (out of 5)
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LibraryThing member eheleneb3
A good, solid thriller. Read on the beach or at the pool, when you don't want to strain your brain. Probably best read before The Da Vinci Code, although I think this is actually a superior book to DVC. It's not so much that Brown's writing is anything remarkable (because it's not) but that he
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comes up with fascinating plots and takes the reader through so many interesting places. (The Vatican City, Roman museums, a Swiss science facility, etc.)You will want to hop on the first flight to Italy after you read this book, but you probably won't be running to the book store to buy more of Brown's books.
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LibraryThing member nesum
First, the good. Brown's novel is a quick (despite being 700 pages) and interesting read, and it really does hold your attention. The action was good, and the suspense quite nice.

That being said, there's not much in this book worth considering after reading it. Brown's theories on Christianity are
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often so silly that they caused me to laugh out loud (such as Christianity stealing the idea of Communion from the Aztecs). The conspiracy in the book is so complex and complicated that I also had to laugh at some of the final revelations (pun very much intended). There's nothing here that passes the believeability test. It is only ranked as high as three stars with me because it is entertaining, at least.

Also, does it bother anyone else that ALL of Brown's characters speak like Americans? He throws in some Italian every once in a while, but other than that, there are absolutely no accents whatsoever, no idioms, and very few people who don't speak absolutely perfect English (despite the fact that most of the novel takes place in Italy).

There are so many better books with actual literary value that are just as exciting (if not more so). We don't need to stoop to such novels just for a thrill.
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LibraryThing member KatharineClifton
Easy to read and fast-paced. An enjoyable mystery. What can I say, I'm a fan of Bernini, Rome, the Vatican, so I think I may have gotten more out of it than some. Requires a healthy suspension of disbelief. Some of the stunts, etc are, to put it mildly, unbelievable, but I was willing to disregard
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my doubt and just enjoy the story. For my taste it wasn't as good as the Da Vinci Code, but a solid effort worth reading if you enjoy the genre.
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LibraryThing member BridgetMarie
It took my fiancee two weeks to read this book. And he hasn't read anything all the way through since he was in the second grade. I highly enjoyed this one, much more than the Da Vinci Code. I felt like that one should have come first followed by this one. I mean I understand Jesus' bloodline
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trumps the Pope, but the action was still better. The action went all over the place and kept me guessing and even as horrified as I got over the course of the action, it was worth it.
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LibraryThing member TadAD
I tried this after The Da Vinci Code just to see if the problems with the latter were an anomaly.

Well, no.

All the faults of The Da Vinci Code, plus a plot that strains credulity to the point of breaking, laughable characters, and a tedious amount of speechifying about the conflict between
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religion and science.

No more Dan Brown for me.
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LibraryThing member siafl
Much like the Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons was a page turner for me. It took me only two days to finish its 710 pages because the riddles and adventures were ever so gripping. The ambigrams were my favourite part of the book, as well as the many references to sites in Rome.

But as I read beyond
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the murders and the brandings, when I was still in preparation to call this one "much better than The Da Vinci Code", the "real" plot started to emerge, and it bothered me. To me it didn't make much sense, how everybody's not who they said they were, the deceptions, the reversals of roles... Never had I thought that someone could abuse cliff hangers like Brown did in the book. Nor had I ever thought that authors could twist and turn plots into something that would lose its audience. I honestly did not care for anything beginning at the 11th-hour Samaritan. And from there on were another 200 or so pages to go.

Many of the books I read and enjoyed I had bits of down time in the middle with them, and found that their endings got better and better. Brown's books tend to be very good at the beginning and very exciting in the middle, and crumbles towards the end.

Frankly the book needn't be this long.
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LibraryThing member philae_02
I listened to this on Book-on-tape, (while at work) and I loved it...I had no idea that the 'bad' guy was going to be who it was. Brown kept me guessing on whether or not everything was turn out okay--and I particularly enjoyed the romantic connection between Langdon and Vittoria. I enjoyed this
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book better than the Da Vinci Code.
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LibraryThing member Cailin
Entertaining, but not great.
LibraryThing member Craftyone
It was a coincidence but I was reading this book when Pope John Paul died, and the new Pope was being real life was eerily reflecting a book...made it more enjoyable.
LibraryThing member ponsonby
Written before The Da Vinci Code (despite being presented in the recent film version as a sequel to Da Vinci), and a better book than either that or the more recent 'Lost Symbol'. Is also better than the eponymous film. Has a very tight and involving construction, and maintains tension to the end
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very well. Also less improbable (somewhat anyway) than the other two books in its basic premise. Information is conveyed reasonably well through the action, with less of one character just telling another 'facts'. Has a strong sexual undercurrent (largely diluted in the film), and is not suitable for children under about 16. Overall, the best of Dan Brown's five books to date.
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LibraryThing member phaga
The same review I wrote for The Da Vinci Code applies to this, only this book was a slower read for me. Again the story is somewhat interesting but nothing to write home about.
LibraryThing member verenka
I'm really torn on this book. On the one hand, it's well researched and really thrilling. I visited Rome a couple of years ago and still remembered some of the sights mentioned in the book. I also tracked the path of the Illuminati at the enclosed maps. And as I mentioned before, I like reading
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about places I have seen.

But with every page I read my suspicion grew that Dan Brown really wrote only one book and then proceeded to make 4 out of them by changing a couple of names, occupations and cities. There is only one set of main characters:
- the handsome, 40-something scientist, keeping fit with some sort of sports that will eventually help him escape the hired killer on his heels (ideally numerous times), with some sort of phobia that is caused by a childhood accident, widower (because divorcee or simply single would imply that he's not capable of maintaining a healthy relationship, while as a widower implies he is capable of love, but was hurt too much..)
- the good looking 30-something brilliant scientist (female), single, not a widow, but too busy with her career to actually meet interesting men, practicing sports also, orphan or half orphan. in addition there is a father-like mentor that taught her everything.
- military or police marginal character, always acts suspicious, but only because of their unbent loyalty to whoever they protect, they have to follow the rules. turns out to be the good guy after all
- a charismatic leader figure that seems to have only the best interest of everyone in mind. turns out that it's his organisation's best interest he has in mind and he is prepared to accept substantial collateral damage in order to protect/advance his organisation. turns out to be the bad guy in the end.

Besides there are always the most trivial soap like plot twists (lost twin, "I am your father, Luke"), which I personally think could be avoided.

This really spoiled the book for me, because although the plot was carefully crafted and I didn't know how the ending would turn out, I already knew who would turn out to be the bad guy by simply following the rules established in the other 3 Dan Brown books. And this is a shame, really. Because he proves to be able to write thrilling books and he does a very good job researching the topics he writes about. So why didn't he bother to think of something new? Instead he just pours out books using the same pattern that has proved successful in thrillers and hollywood films.
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LibraryThing member zbyshko
i wrote a review of _The_Da_Vinci_Code_ just a few minutes ago (for me). i guess the best way to review this book is to copy my review of _The_Da_Vinci_Code_ to here. once you read it you may gather the irony in my lazy copying of the review!

"I read this shortly after reading _Angels_&_Demons_ yet
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before hoopla and dedinitely before the movie was announced. the theories of Christ's life and family aside, and forgetting the desires of the real Opus Dei, i must say i was a little disappointed in this novel in the end. it is so bleeping formuleaic! the plot and it's devices are so parallel to Angels & Demons, Euclid himself could use it as a proof!

if you intend to read each and haven't yet! read no further in this review. if you read one, you can pace yourself through the other! first, the same protagonist is pulled out of security and peace for a crytpic crime, he is quickly presented with a female who is younger, just as intelligent (if not more so) and connected to the deceased by blood - AND supplies subtle sexual tension for the rest of the book. each story has a direct villain who performs the dirty work and a shadowy villainous group who manupulates him. then theirs the introduction midway of a helpful guy who helps move the plot along by having more specialized information or deeper involvment in the settings trappings - he is revealed before the climax to be the real, button-pushing badguy, connected to the wet-work villain! but that guy doesn't get his come-uppance till some tense crap later!

i was going to read more Dan Brown until i read the back of the other novels and got a feeling i already read them twice."

yeah, Dan Brown's lack of originality took it's toll on my reviews originality!
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LibraryThing member RachelPenso
This book was definitely a "fun" read. One of those books where it's okay for everything to be unbelievable because it is supposed to be an exciting and action-packed (unbelievable) story. Even so, there were two things that (to me) were exceptionally unbelievable to the point of annoyance. One was
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in the first dozen pages of the book and made me unsure about reading it. It was the Mach fifteen airplane that got Robert Langdon from Boston to Switzerland in one hour. The other one I will not explain, as it happened at the end of the book and I don't want to include any spoilers. Anyway, once I got past that, it was an exciting and fun book.
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LibraryThing member sjh4255
Great read! Kept you intrigued, and interested in the whole background on the main plot. Dan does a great job in using real life history and adding his own twists into his fiction novels.
LibraryThing member musicgurl
After reading Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code', I was eager to read more of his works. I thought that this book was a much more enjoyable read than 'The Da Vinci Code' and that Dan Brown really excelled himself by getting facts about Italy and the Illuminati correct. However, one factor of this book
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which proved a little rushed and moderately written was the ending. I also found this in Dan Brown's other novel, 'Deception Point'. The ending was a real dissapointment, it could have done with a few more chapters to tie up loose ends and to clarify the meaning of the story.

However, it was a gripping and (mostly) well written. I thought that Brown did well to intergect bits of gore in it to make it that bit more interesting.
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LibraryThing member justinmenard
Good book, cant wait to see the movie.
LibraryThing member pjsmac
Book was excellent
LibraryThing member Blazingice0608
Awesome book, even a little better than Davinci code imo. Just non-stop action, great plot twists with tons of intriguing facts surrounding Rome. Not much else i can say other than it was a great read.
LibraryThing member bitemeeric
a powerful and entertaining book! A lot of twists and turns to keep you entertained. Now, because I have been influenced by the movie, though I have not seen it, I can not help but to see Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Langdon is a symbologist asked to assist in solving the mysteries behind the
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murder of a great scientist, Leonardo Vettra. There he meets his daughter,Vittoria Vetra. They both soon realize that Leonardo's death is part of a larger sceme aimed to destroy the Vattican. I will definately re-read this book so that I can pick up what ever I missed the first time around.
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