Book – Angels and Demons
Author – Dan Brown
Year – 2000
Pages – 620
Genre – Thriller
Series – Robert Langdon
I have been loosely doing Play-A-Day, and will update it here at some point, but I actually felt that I wanted to read something with a bit more verve at this strange time. Something easy to read and with a bit of zip to it. Restacking my bookcase has given me a kick up the backside following a couple of weeks where I haven’t really gotten into most of what I started, and I unearthed a copy of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, a book that I read whilst I was at uni back when the hype was pretty huge around his books. I remembered really enjoying it, and seeing as how I have read that and its slightly more famous older brother, The Da Vinci Code, but none of the others in the series, I thought a reread might be in order.
Angels and Demons is the first Robert Langdon book and introduces us to our Harvard professor hero. He is roused one morning by the head of CERN to help him to deal with the murder of a prominent scientist that he believes is linked to the Illuminati, a secret society of the past. Langdon is quickly embroiled in a thrilling night of craziness that sees kidnapped cardinals, a papal election, murders, twists, and all kinds of hidden symbols and history of art.
Dan Brown has been often lambasted for not being the best writer in the world. There are tropes and cliches strewn throughout the book, and the accuracy of a lot of what he presents as fact has been dissected over the years since the novel was written, and I am certainly in no place to say that any of this is unfounded. But quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter. You are not reading a thriller like this in order to soak up writing of the calibre expected of some of the greatest writers of the generation. You are reading it to be caught up in a ride. The plot is quite frankly ridiculous – just as it is in almost any thriller you ever read. The historical inaccuracies are almost certainly completely correct. But within the fabric of the book, all of it is allowable. The twists are fanciful, but work. The liberties taken with real life are close enough that they are believable and plausible. The preposterous nature of what is happening feels preposterous, but remains somehow earned.
And we really need that at the moment. Something a bit mindless and low stakes. I think I’m going to have plenty of time to read a few over the next few weeks (months? ye… no, not that far) so I am sure I can fit some weightier tomes in (although I probably won’t) but in the meantime, excellent nonsense like this will do wonderfully.