Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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*****= An all-time favorite
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***Angels and Demons

by Dan Brown

Reviewed April 22, 2005.
Atria Books, New York, 2000.  572 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN F BRO).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#8, Mystery)

This book was the perfect one to read just before a trip to Rome.  Coincidentally, in Angels and Demons, the Pope had just died, so it seemed even more immediate.

This is the first adventure written about Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of religious iconology.  The formula is basically the same as that of The Da Vinci Code.  Someone has been brutally killed.  Symbols at the site of the death bring Robert Langdon onto the case, along with a beautiful relative of the deceased.  Searching into the death shows evidence of an ancient conspiracy.  A sort of treasure hunt commences, with clues in works of art.  Instead of leading him all over Europe, all the clues in this book are found in the city of Rome.  For this time he is seeking not the Holy Grail, but an antimatter bomb that will blow up Vatican City along with the entire conclave of cardinals.

I did have a feeling that I’d read this before, it was so similar to The Da Vinci Code, and I didn’t particularly relish the gruesome deaths, but this book, too, had all the elements of an exciting thriller.  I’m afraid what I enjoyed most was the works of art mentioned, as it gave me something to look for on our visit to Rome, a fun focus to our visit, as well as a special interest in the works of Bernini.

There was one that he didn’t seem to get right.  There’s supposed to be an elliptical block in St. Peter’s Square at the base of the obelisk showing a picture of a billowing gust of wind.  I did find the block, but there are several, at each of the points of the compass, instead of just one, as the book implies.  However, it was fun to look for them and see that indeed the picture was just as described.

As with The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown has written an exciting thriller that uses actual historical works of art as clues.  In Angels & Demons, the clues are in one city, making them all the more fun to seek out yourself.  Quite an accomplishment!

Reviews of other books by Dan Brown:
The Da Vinci Code
The Lost Symbol

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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