Melanie’s Want to Read Wednesday #1
TITLE: The Robert Langdon Series; Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno
AUTHOR: Dan Brown
GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING:
- Angels and Demons – 3.79 out of 5 stars; 1,271,499 ratings
- The Da Vinci Code – 3.71 out of 5 stars; 1,209,642 ratings
- The Lost Symbol – 3.59 out of 5 stars; 278,211 ratings
- Inferno – 3.69 out of 5 stars; 171,422 ratings
Angels and Demons – Synopsis Source
It takes guts to write a novel that combines an ancient secret brotherhood, the Swiss Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, a papal conclave, mysterious ambigrams, a plot against the Vatican, a mad scientist in a wheelchair, particles of anti-matter, jets that can travel 15,000 miles per hour, crafty assassins, a beautiful Italian physicist and a Harvard professor of religious iconology. It takes talent to make that novel anything but ridiculous. Kudos to Dan Brown (Digital Fortress) for achieving the nearly impossible. Angels and Demons is a no-holds-barred, pull-out-all-the-stops, breathless tangle of a thriller–think Katherine Neville’s The Eight(but cleverer) or Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (but more accessible).
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati–dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism–is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out and the society’s ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, anti-matter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared–only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra’s daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilisation.
Brown seems as much juggler as author–there are lots and lots of balls in the air in this novel, yet Brown manages to hurl the reader headlong into an almost surreal suspension of disbelief. While the reader might wish for a little more sardonic humour from Langdon and a little less bombastic philosophising on the eternal conflict between religion and science, these are less fatal flaws than niggling annoyances–readers should have no trouble skimming past them and immersing themselves in a heck of a good read. “Brain candy” it may be, but it’s tasty. –Kelly Flynn, Amazon.com
The Da Vinci Code – Synopsis Source
Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes.
As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci – and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history.
Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever…
The Lost Symbol – Synopsis Source
Famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon answers an unexpected summons to appear at the U.S. Capitol Building. His planned lecture is interrupted when a disturbing object—artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the building. Langdon recognizes in the find an ancient invitation into a lost world of esoteric, potentially dangerous wisdom. When his mentor Peter Solomon—a longstanding Mason and beloved philanthropist—is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that the only way to save Solomon is to accept the mystical invitation and plunge headlong into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and one inconceivable truth . . . all under the watchful eye of Dan Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn–Brown’s most exciting novel yet.
Inferno – Synopsis Source
In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces…Dante’s Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust… before the world is irrevocably altered.
WHY I WANT TO READ IT:
Time for a bit of a story – The first time I read this series was in the early to mid 2000’s, around the time The Da Vinci Code (the novel) was first released. I actually read The Da Vinci Code before reading Angels and Demons, thankfully the order didn’t particularly impact anything. During this stage of my reading journey I was reading a lot of mystery novels because they were what my mom was reading and after she read something she would then pass it along to me, therefore, I ended up reading a lot of James Patterson, Carol and Mary Higgins Clark, Catherine Coulter, and many others. I went to the bookstore one day and happened upon The Da Vinci Code on the shelf, the cover caught my eye with the Mona Lisa staring out at me, so I took a look at it and read the synopsis. I became intrigued by the idea of this story and so, I bought it and took it home with me. Upon completing it, I realized that there was another book which featured Robert Langdon and with that, I made another trip to the bookstore in order to pick up Angels and Demons. I was absolutely floored by Angels and Demons, it touched on some subjects which were considered to be highly debated at the time and didn’t stop there, but brought to light how these tools of science could be utilized by members within one of the most influential religions in the world while allowing those users to maintain their covenants and follow their tenets! Time passed and though I have had The Lost Symbol for a while and just recently got Inferno, I ended up caught up in reading other things and these two books wound up near the bottom of my “To be Read” list. However, this nice little story still doesn’t answer the question posed by this entry; Why do I want to read it?!
I have a soft spot in my reader heart for books/novels/series which make me think, make me ask questions, and make me expand my world view which is exactly what Dan Brown’s first two Robert Langdon novels did for me. These novels opened my mind to possibility, to not be afraid to ask questions, and to the idea of an ever changing perspective; traits which I am proud to say that I still hold strong to today. Robert Langdon is a character who utilizes his mind, his knowledge…they are his greatest strengths, rather than the stereotypical strength portrayed through big guns or muscles. I find his use of intellect and wit in order to achieve his goals in addition to his ever present thirst for knowledge to be not only respectable, but something I can relate to.
Looks like I will definitely be moving this series up on my Re-Read and To Be Read List!