Merging an education in symbology with telling a scintillating story: The case of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons

This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series Reviews season two

Last Updated on June 2, 2018 by Memorila

Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy writes that in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, the author set a pace that other writers might find hard to beat, because while entertaining his readers, he still managed to enlighten them.

If there is one writer that I have come to revere so much now, it is Dan Brown. This is one writer who tells a scintillating tale and still manages to enlighten you about the things you see and hear regularly but take for granted. I would not say I have read much of him, I have only read Da Vinci Code and of recent, Angels and Demons. But I must admit that his novels are filled with so many revelations that leave the reader better informed than he was before reading them. Angels and Demon is another thriller with two continents and three countries for its setting, it began in America, moved to Switzerland, and ended in the Papal State (Rome).

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A Catholic priest cum scientist has just been murdered and the cadaver branded with the word “ILLUMINATI”. Being an authority in the history of the Illuminati, Professor Robert Langdon is contacted to help solve the murder and help catch the killer. He is whisked off to Switzerland and he comes to discover that the killer has not just come to kill alone, he has also come to steal the “antimatter”–a recent discovery by the murdered scientist cum priest which he (the priest) felt would help prove the existence of God and His being the originator of all beings.

But there was one problem, the antimatter is yet to be stabilized, taking it from the lab could be dangerous and its explosion would be more dangerous than that of a nuclear weapon. A call is received, the antimatter has been spotted in Rome; a camera transmits the image of the antimatter from an unknown location in Rome and it had CERN written on it. Langdon and Victoria (the scientist’s adopted daughter) rush to Rome to find the missing antimatter before it explodes and they have just until midnight! How perfect!

In their bid to find the antimatter, we witness lots of intrigues, deceit, brutal murder and hypocrisy, all to draw men towards religion.

Nice story but not neat enough, I am yet to figure out how the assassin got access to CERN quarters (which is described as highly fortified with security cameras and metal detectors) to kill the priest, brand him, infiltrate his underground lab and manage to leave the premises with the antimatter without any help from an insider; especially Kohler? To attain such feat, one does not need an assassin, you need a superman!

Langdon escaping that blast is another improbability I am yet to come to terms with. Moreso, the Carmelengo organising the whole tirade is a beautiful contrivance but do say, how did he get to know that much about the Illuminati? And to think that one with so much piety could organise such homicide is simply confounding and beyond comprehension!

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I would not say much of Dan Brown’s style of writing till I have read another of his work but I see the same undercurrent running through his work. Both The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons begin with a murder of a personage and somehow Professor Langdon finds himself involved, the personage must have a daughter who Langdon will eventually develop some chemistry for and if you think you know the villain, you would be mistaken and you find out that in an absurd manner, one who should be the hero becomes the villain and the one who you think to be the villain becomes the one who saves the day (the exact role played by the police chief in The Da Vinci Code and the role of Kohler in Angels and Demons).

For all those writers who feel that writing a thriller is all about telling a suspense filled story, Dan Brown is telling you something different and setting a pace you might find hard to beat. Brown knows his object too well and he manages to tell his story while enlightening his readers. Good work!

© Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy, 2018

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Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy

Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy holds a degree in English language and literary studies. He is a short story writer, copy editor, book reviewer, literary critic, poet, and essayist. He teaches English as a Foreign Language in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

2 thoughts on “Merging an education in symbology with telling a scintillating story: The case of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons

  • October 19, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    That’s a well detected plot hole. The assassin’s entrance into CERN. I didn’t even reason it until now.

    And yes, Langdon’s survival obviously, as he answered the Vatican guard that brought him Pope’s letter, will forever remain a mystery.

    Nice review.

    • October 20, 2018 at 7:14 am

      Thank you C. M. for taking time to read through. We remain dedicated to bringing you better reviews.



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