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Angels & Demons

by Dan Brown

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown X
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
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  • First Published:
    May 2000, 480 pages
    Jun 2001, 480 pages


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John Lomax

A successful hack at work
This novel is decidedly hack work. I cannot quite understand how a book this badly researched and written ever made past the fact checkers and copy editors. Simon & Schuster ought to be ashamed of themselves for letting one of their leading authors look so bad. I guess that one best seller inevitably leads to another, no matter how awkwardly written and inaccurate the next book is. I must say that Angels and Demons has relieved me of any urge to read The Da Vinci Code. What are my principal complaints? Brown displays no ear for the English language. He cannot HEAR what he writes, or plainly his writing would not be so very clunky. He seems to be the kind of writer who takes words from a thesaurus without any feeling either for the denotations or the connotations of the words that he finds. Thus he uses words that are ALMOST right time after time after time. They are off just enough to produce a distinct "clang" when read. The effect is jarring. The book has a pseudo-profound texture that is one mark of a self-important but mediocre writer. Symbology? Why not semiotics, the term that the academic world actually uses? And how many factual mistakes can Brown make? I lost count. His translations of Latin and Italian are frequently off and sometimes flat wrong, but I admit that his mistranslations usually serve his story nicely. Any reasonably well-read layperson would have a better grasp of recent science than he exhibits. Historical accuracy? Forget about it! Brown's characters are endlessly "shocked" by information that could easily be gleaned from TIME magazine. The same goes for Brown's (mis)understanding of Christian theology, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Vatican. His grasp of the layout of Rome is less firm than what a tourist with a good street map might pick up in a few days. And could he not afford to hire someone to draw him an accurate map of Rome? His big manifesto in chapter 94 is maudlin, trite, and embarrassing. Why read the book? I kind of liked the movie. I mean, who doesn't like Tom Hanks? Plus, the screenwriters actually know how to write. I have to admire the way that they reworked this dog into something coherent. When I saw a copy of the book for $3 at Big Lots, I thought, "Why not?" About 20-25 chapters in I had become desensitized enough to its fundamental badness that I stayed around to find out how it turned out. It's a decent story, badly written. I congratulate Dan Brown on making the most of sloppy research and limited writing skills. Nice work if you can get it, and plainly Brown can.

I am reading Angels and Demons after the Davinci Code....and I found this book even more inaccurate and not well written than the code...

I am Italian, living in London, so I am reading the English version of Angls & Demons....It is my dtrong intention, once finished, to read it again and highlign line by line, sentence by sentece, in a exact way, all the rubbish of the book!

Few points to start and to make you think about, before sayinf that this book is a masterpice!

1) leonardo vetra is italian, he is a priest and he cannot adopt anyone...according to the italian law a singlle person cannot adopt...and according to the Roman Church laws a pries cannot be married and cannot have children...

2) Brown uses many times sentences in italian...95% of the time htey contain grammar ans spelling mistakes, or simpli they do not make sense at all......when Vittoria ask to her dad " Dad! Ask me what s the matter?" and once her dad aske the question, she answers " Atoms, Electrons, etc.!....." Well I assume that they speak to each other in italian,and if you traslate this in italian, it does not make sense! Mr Brown, for your next book could you please employ someone to check the exotic languages you make your characters speaking..... a simply disaster was made also in the Davinci code using the french!

3) Vatica City was born arond 1922 when Mussolini government reached an agreement with the pope! Before 1861 the Pope Kingdom extended for the hole centre italy! It is incredibly wrong when Robert Langdon excludes some of the monuments fro his search because they were outside Vatican the 17th century rome was all under the power of the pope!

4) Where is the italian police! THe swiss guards have not any power at all outside Vatican fact n too much power either inside!...they are pure ornament! In fact the italian police provides for most of the security of the Vatican and the pope! Try to look at some videos from S Peter can see only italian police! and it s totally unbeliveable that the italian police it s not used in the book! Mr borwn ! you cannot neglet this aspect just to make your story going!

5) as art expert Mt Langdon is very bad! I am not an art expert, but it took to me about 5 seconds to guess the 4 rivers fountain in Pzza Navona! Oh! btw i challange you to go to Pzza Navona at any time and find the square empty! When the 4th cardinal is killed is 11 pm....the square should packed with turists drinking and eating in the restaurant! But Mr Brown , after removing all the police from the plot, decides that even the turists can be an ostacle to his plot!

..Well I have s many other points but no too much time!

Readers! Open your eyes, do a bit of reserch if you want..

As a reader I m deeply annoied! This man is making a fortune writing books without bothering of do hte proper homeworks, his plots just doesnt work but he doesn t seem to care too much! But this is an offense to his public that are makeing him a rich men buying his books!..

If you disagree with me or want to discuss any aspect of the book!

Well is my email!

joe k

i couldn't put it down... fast enough
I'm sure DB is an interesting guy and his passion for art must run deep... but I was truly embarrassed for him as I read Angels & Demons. This is not a novel a serious Catholic can respect. I'm not an expert on Rome, artwork or Galileo (heck, I'm not even sure if I spelled his name right), but I have a basic grasp of the Catholic faith, and a great respect for it. To earn a reader's willingness to suspend disbelief, an author has to have an inkling of how his characters might think. Brown clearly had no guidance from a Catholic clergyman -- or even probably from a knowledgable Catholic lay person, for that matter -- as he wrote.

The minimum amount of time priests-in-training spend studying philosophy, theology, Church history and other such subjects is six years. Those at the Vatican typically spend much longer. Brown, however, has them speaking at remedial levels of understanding, as though they just emerged from their first high school Catholic Moral Theology class. At one supposedly climactic point in the novel, he actually has a priest speaking "to" the very concept of science, as though it were some kind of being! At another, he has a Catholic priest having a supposed revelation from God that causes him to completely misinterpret the Scripture verse "thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church." He calls the "most sacred" thing in the Basillica of St. Peter the tomb of St. Peter -- completely neglecting to mention Christ Himself in the tabernacle. Also, it doesn't help that Brown puts his story in a backdrop of half-truth, half-stuff-he-just-makes-up (e.g., only cardinals present in conclave can be elected pope). I could go on.

At least his recklessness in treating his subject matter didn't ruin good storytelling. There was very little of that, Brown uses a lot of cliches. He employs far too many predictable would-be "cliffhangers." And if a reader knows anything about foreshadowing, hardly anything in this book would come as a surprise.

Finally, I have a moral problem with the book, too, and would caution anyone serious about their relationship with God to consider it -- particularly my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church. The book uses Christ (i.e. the Church) for strictly entertainment purposes, devoid of moral value -- so is a reader of the book using the notion of our Sacred Lord for a "cheap thrill," in a sense? Am I too serious? Think about it -- after all, God did take the initiative to, literally, write something in stone for mankind to look at. Is using God as a character in a suspense novel with scant or no moral value using God's name "in vein?" This thought did kind of make me squirm as I read, especially in light of the author's lack of both respect for and understanding of the Church. I'll offer you this comparison: C.S. Lewis first conceived the fine book "Screwtape Letters" to convey the thoughts of devils as they tried to tempt a man, and angels as they tried to guide him closer to God. After prayer, Lewis wrote the book only from the devils' perspective. His reason?: He had too great a respect for angels to even pretend he could know their wisdom. In other words, he had a sense that there was something too sacred to write about. In my own life, I would like to keep such a sense of the sacred, and that includes not (again) picking up a book that uses Christ (i.e. the Church) without a higher purpose than simply to entertain. Please, do think about it. May God bless!

Dan Brown wishes he was Robert Langdon
I quite liked the DVC, but thought Angels and Demons was a pathetic, pedestrian, and basically stupid novel. The most glaring fault is that Langdon is constantly suprised, blown away, and struck dumb by the events of the book. It seems like every page he has a breakdown where his legs "turn to jelly" or he feels shock "in the pit of his stomach". If he really was a world-class scholar, he would have realised in the first stages of the story that he was going beyond his realm of experience. He is portrayed as reacting like a dim-witted fool.

Besides which, who else thinks that Brown desperately wishes he was Langdon?

deliver us from dan brown
"Angels and Demons" is possibly the worst book I've ever read. It's a work full of errors and misconceptions too numerous to mention. The dialog is stilted and unconvincing--does Langdon really have to explain to an Italian what the Swiss Guard are?

The villains are ethnic stereotypes and the supposed dichotomy or clash between science and faith is so outdated that it's hard to imagine Brown ever heard of quantum physics and the philosophers of the early 20th century. His character Langdon exists in a similar philosophical vacuum though we are expected to believe he teaches at Harvard.

Brown's lack of understanding of Catholicism and the Catholic Church and the farcical activities he imagines at the Vatican border on bigotry, as does his depiction of predictable stock villains, Middle Eastern assassins and terrorists, whom he describes as "dark and potent."

Then there's the plot--to say it is strained would be kind. Like the rest of the book, it's ridiculous (complete with gratuitous sex thrown in .....[text deleted by BookBrowse to remove plot spoiler].

The only good thing I can say about reading "Angels and Demons" is that it saved me from reading "The Da Vinci Code."

My biggest issue is that Dan Brown doesn't have a firm grasp on the beliefs and values of the Catholic Church. The idea of a priest (the future pope) conceiving a child with a nun via artificial insemination -- and the College of Cardinals acting as if this was a way to both have a child and maintain their chastity -- is utterly ludicrous. The church teaches that all sex must be within the bonds of marriage and that sex must be both unitive and procreative. This means no birth control (which is not procreative) and it means no artificial insemination (which is not unitive). Even married couples are not permitted this option according to the Church, let alone a priest and a nun. Whether you agree or not, that's the Church's stance. The fact that the camerlengo was artificially conceived does not make it less sinful according to the Church, and there's no way a priest like the camerlengo or the College of Cardinals wouldn't have recognized that. It was a great book, until the end, which was just soap opera, akin to trash like "Thorn Birds."

i read this within a week which would suggest that i enjoyed which i did while i was reading it. thinking about the plot after though left me disapponted. how did the hassassin get into cern a top secuirty organisation? how did he walk around without anyone seeing him from the entrance to the living quarters to a high security lab that even the director of cern had no access to.

and giving the knowledge that we now all of us possess about the catholic church and its abuse of children would anyone be that upset at a pope fathering a child. surely also the camerlengo would have shown some sign of mental instablity before this absolute madness that overtook him on hearing about the pope. did he not for instance react with all the scandal of recent times.

the bomb also if a device as powerful as this one was how could the camerlengo and langdon survive it?

how could there be no effect on the city below. and where were the autorities would the police and politicans of italy have left it to the swiss guards ?

Diana Lingholt
I won Angels and Demons from your site, and I never have enjoyed a book as much as this one. Thankyou so much for your great site. I just went out to buy Dan Brown's other book, Digital Fortress. He is a wonderful writer, and thanks to you, I was introduced to his novel. He autographed the book, and I wrote and thanked him, after I read the book, and he was nice enough to respond.

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