Angels & Demons
The book starts off with Leonardo Vetra working in his lab when something gruesome happens and he is assasinated. It then goes to introduce Robert Langdon, a Harvard University symbologist who knows much about the mysterious Illuminati. Awakened from his sleep, he is called upon by Maximilian Kohler, director of CERN, to get him to help with Mr. Vetra's mysterious murder with which he was branded with the word "Illuminati." Upon seeing a fax of Vetra's body, Robert immeadiately agrees to come. When he arrives, he finds out that Vetra created a large container of antimatter, a substance that could destroy the Vatican City. After Vetra's daughter, Vittoria, arrives, they head out to the Vatican City where they have been called upon by the Swiss Guard. There, it seems, the antimatter has been taken and set up in front of a camera and transmitted to the location of the Swiss Guard. After conversing with the leader of the Swiss Guard, Commander Olivetti, they are finally aloud to see the camerlengo, a man with high religious conviction and temporary fill in for the pope who had recently died. After much discussion, and an interuption from the assasin of Vetra, it is decided that Langdon, Vittoria, and some of the Swiss Guard will follow the Path of Illumintation, the path which would, in the past, show the way to the Illuminati headquarters and the spots where the four preferiti, the four cardinals most likely to become pope, will be murdered. The Path of Illumination was shown as a path led by angels, pointing to statues that are, in secret, tributes to the elements. After finding out about this, the camerlengo grants Vittoria and Robert access to the Vatican Archives in order to find out where the path started. Leaving there after finding what they need, the head towards the Pantheon where the clue seems to lead them. Realizing that they are at the wrong place, Vittoria and Langdon quickly head to the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, real beginning of the Path of Illumination. Not long before they head over, BBC officials that were sent to record conclave are given the tip about the preferiti being kidnapped and killed every hour on the hour until midnight. Back with Vittoria and Robert, they head to the church and find the true demons hole mentioned in the poem about finding the Church of Illumination. When Robert heads down into the hole to see if the person that is seen within needed help, he finds one of the preferiti murdered with their mouth filled with dirt. This is the first of many murders that involve the elements that originally existed to the Illuminati. Earth. After being pulled out of the hole, they find the next marker, an angel built by Bernini, the secret artist of the Illuminati. They follow the direction which the angel is pointing to Saint Peter's Square. The BBC officials follow them in order record a more interesting story about the death of the pope. Arriving barely on time, Vittoria and Robert find the next preferiti killed by having his lungs punctured which involves the next element, air. Following the center breath of the angel, the two then go to the next place where the next preferiti would die by fire. As this happens, it is revealed that the Illuminati assasin murdered the pope. Going to the archives once again, this time alone, Robert nearly dies when the air supply is gone and the doors are locked. After this event, Robert returns with the location of the next church. When they arrive, Robert leaves and finds that Olivetti had been murdered by the assasin and, while trying to save the third cardinal, Vittoria is taken by the assasin who then attempts to murder him. This nearly works until Langdon gets trapped under a sarcophogus and goes unconsious. After being awakened by the special firefighters of the Vatican, he finds another play on words in the poem that described the Path of Illumination. Looking at a map, he realizes the the churches form a cross, mockery of the church that was so against science. Going to the last church in an attempt to save the last preferiti and Vittoria, Robert fights the assasin and pretends to die, in the end failing to save the last cardinal. He continues to follow the path in order to save Vittoria who at the time wakes up and tries to escape just as the assasin comes back. Arriving at Castel Sant' Angelo, Robert fights the assasin once more, this time with Vittoria's help. After the assasin dies, they run to warn the camerlengo of the attempt to brand and kill him by the one who led the assasin. They arrive just in time to see the camerlengo burned and Mr. Kohler shot because of the fact he held a gun and the brand near him. Rocher, the next in command after Olivetti's death, is then also shot when the camerlengo calls him an illuminatus, a member of the Illuminati. After this happens, they attempt to take the camerlengo to the hospital with a helicopter. When they go outside, the camerlengo seems to have a sudden delusion about talking to God and then runs to Saint Peter's Basilica, and the Tomb, when he believes he knows where the antimatter is. This turns out to be correct and, in a bizarre moment of thought, runs out and gets into the helicopter with plans to fly high above the city to let the antimatter explode. Robert follows after thinking that he plans to drop it over the ocean or quary nearby. Camerlengo then takes the only parachute and jumps while Robert throws himself at the last minute with a windshield cover which would end up saving him. The camerlengo is then thought to be a hero and nearly elected pope while Langdon hears a tape of the conversation that Mr. Kohler and him (the camerlengo) had before everyone burst into the office. This reveals that the actual person behind Illuminati scheme was the camerlengo himself, the pope's actual son who was created thanks to science. Believing that his father had betrayed the church by helping science and having a child, the camerlengo thought to renew peoples' hope by the death of the pope and cardinals along with his miraculous survival. After finding out that the pope was his real father, the camerlengo burns himself alive.I found that this book was quite as good as the Da Vinci Code, filled with odd knowledge and interesting twisted throughout the whole book. I love how Dan Brown always ends his book with a surprising villain and outcomes which aren't expected when you first start. I believe that this book brings out a more interesting idea that science and religion are the same through one of his characters. Filled with adventure, riddles, and death, I found this book to be a great read and am surprised that the movie was so different than how it originally had been.