Author: Dan Brown
Setting: Modern Day Rome & Vatican
Robert Langdon, a symbology professor is called in at CERN to help in investigating a death in the campus. Certain marks from a mysterious organization the Illuminati make an appearance at the crime scene. Also missing is a mass of anti-matter created at CERN which can annihilate an entire area. The anti-matter canister is reported to be in Vatican where a conclave to select the next Pope is being held.
Langdon, accompanied by Vittoria Vetra, the daughter of the deceased CERN scientist arrives in Vatican. There they receive the news that the four leading Cardinals are missing and a Hassassin informs them of the imminent murders of the Cardinals at the designated time and place. Langdon undertakes a chase across Rome following the clues regarding the mythical Path of Illumination, but is unable to save any of the Cardinals.
In a dramatic scene, broadcast to the whole world, the deceased Pope’s Camerlegno manages to find the anti-matter canister and save the city from destruction.
However, it is revealed to Langdon, Vittoria and the remaining Cardinals that the Camerlegno himself had plotted the entire chain of events starting from the previous Pope’s murder due to a misunderstanding. On finding the truth, the Camerlegno commits suicide while the newly elected Pope keeps this information away from public knowledge.
Re-reading the book, after a trip to Italy. It was fun to read about places and artefacts mentioned in the book after having seen them in real life.
The book marked the first arrival of Robert Langdon on the literary scene. A successful arrival which has seen the launch of more such adventures, combining art interpretation with crime fighting.
Moral of the tale – Take in all facts before setting on a course of destruction. And the most hard-core believers are the ones who can shake up the foundations of the very faith they believe in.
Also, while the author begins with “References to all works of art, tombs, tunnels, and architecture in Rome are entirely factual (as are their exact locations). They can still be seen today”, there are some discrepancies. e.g. the uniform of the Papal guards were not designed by Michelangelo, but by Jules Repond. Better to do your own research as well!
Previously on BookMarks: A Storm of Swords