Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Long time ago I read Angels and Demons - that completes me having read all of Dan Brown's famous publications. In fact, I read it so long ago that I have almost forgotten the plot. What I do remember is that this one was not as boring or predictable as Deception Point or Digital Fortress. Again, Dan is obsessed with conspiracy theory, religion, secret societies and their obscure clues. I have no clue as to whether Illuminati existed or whether Bernini was one among them... But Dan has written one whole novel on such an assumption. What I do not understand is that if the Church knew about all these - why then did it not destroy all traces of the Illuminati?

Dan likes to insert action packed scenes in his novels... wants to make it like one of those Hollywood thrillers. Unfortunately does not do a good job. Is it really true that with just one stretch of fabric, you can survive a helicopter jump from 25000 feet? Even if you did, can you get out of bed, in just 10 hours? I don’t know... but I have read stranger things... like anti-matter :-)

Another striking similarity in Dan's novels is that all of them start with death. Sophie's grandfather in Da Vinci Code, Tankado in Digital Fortress, the Canadian geologist in Deception Point and Leonardo Vetra in Angels and demons. The villains in each of the novels are those who are projected to be men of honor in the entire first half of the novels. Leigh Teabing, Strathmore, William Pickering, the camerlegno - all of them are saints in their own respect for half of the novel. He better change the overall plot for the next novel.

This particular book is made interesting by definitely knowing when it will end even though we would not know how. At the very beginning, a deadline is mentioned and we call can easily guess that nothing extra-ordinary is going to happen before that, and at the deadline, the novel has to end. That certainty gives a comfort feeling. Also, there are intermediate deadlines that give excitement at periodic intervals... the clues are not entangled with each other and hence one part of the novel can be read even a week after the previous one was read.

Prashanth Kota