Angels and Demons
|First edition book cover of Angels & Demons|
|Media Type||Hardback & Paperback|
|Pages||480 p. (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-671-02735-2 (first edition, hardback)|
|Followed by||The Da Vinci Code|
- Robert Langdon: A forty-year old Harvard symbology professor.
- Maximilian Kohler:
Robert Langdon is awakened from a nightmare by a phone call from a discrete particle physicist Maximilian Kohler. Although they have never met or even spoken before, Kohler insistently requests Langdon’s presence. Langdon responds by refusing and hanging up. He dismisses the phone call as one of many he has received from excessively fascinated “fans” of his books on symbology.
It quickly becomes apparent that Kohler is not a fanatic when Langdon receives a faxed image of a dead man with the word “Illuminati” ornately burned onto his chest. The word, and its graphic symbol, immediately grab his attention, and he reached=s for the phone.
Kohler admits to locating Langdon through his website, which contains information about his book The Art of the Illuminati. Langdon agrees to an hour’s flight to Kohler’s research facility, convinced by his amazement at the infamous yet never before photographed symbol from the fax.
Thousands of miles away, a killer and a leader meet in the shadows. The killer has done something terrible, and in the process stolen a heavy electronic devise. Meanwhile, the leader praises him for his good work, and promises, “Tonight we change the world.”
Robert Langdon drives to Boston’s Logan airport as fast as he can, only to discover that his plane has just landed. His first view of the plane leaves him in a state of shock – it is like nothing he has ever seen before. It appears to be a huge wedge from space, and the pilot gleefully informs him it runs on slush hydrogen and can travel two hundred fifty thousand kilos when fully fueled. His amazement at the aircraft is only eclipsed by his discovery that he is traveling to Geneva, Switzerland; and that he will arrive in exactly an hour in a plane that travels at Mach fifteen, or 11,000 miles per hour.
Meanwhile, in Europe the killer travels through a crowd and enjoys the success of the kill and subsequent liberation of a particular item. The killer, a descendent of the infamous Hassassin (now pronounced assassin), considers his employer, codenamed Janus, whom he has never met, and whom represents, “the brotherhood”.
Langdon lands in Geneva with a mild case of altitude sickness, and an even more intense case of confusion. He finds himself located at Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), and receives a personal greeting from the wheelchair-riding director general himself, Maximilian Kohler.
It quickly becomes clear that Kohler is more than a director general – he is an impersonal king on the throne of CERN. His wheelchair is a virtual mobile command center, and his voice contains no identifiable emotion despite the circumstances. Kohler speaks of miracles in the science labs of CERN, and their development of the World Wide Web as a way for the scientists to share daily findings. The two men walk past a free fall tube used for indoor skydiving and stress relief, and Kohler casually comments that one square yard of drag will slow a falling body almost 20 percent.
The CERN campus houses more than three thousand physicists of various nationalities and academic backgrounds. Langdon is escorted to “The Penthouse” where Leonardo Vetra, a brilliant scientist, was murdered only hours before, and he discovers the uncomfortable truth that only Kohler, Vetra’s adopted daughter, and himself are aware of the homicide. The discretion is to allow Ms. Vetra time to return from her field work and assess the private nature of the lab she and her father shares before a formal investigation takes place.
Leonardo Vetra’s corpse lies on the floor of his Freon cooled suite, and Langdon is faced with the brutal nature of his death first-hand. The Illuminati symbol emblazoned on his chest brings to light the question of the nature of this elusive group. Langdon describes them as a brotherhood of scientists in sixteenth century Rome who strove to combat the Catholic Church’s restraint. One leader, Galileo, believed that science and religion were allies, and was arrested by the church. Meanwhile, four Illuminati members were branded alive with the symbol of a cross and brutally murdered, their bodies scattered throughout Rome as a warning to others. As a result, the group went underground and gradually grew in power to become the world’s most powerful anti-Christian force.
In a deserted ally, the Hassassin prepares himself for the battle to come. He celebrates by catering to his innermost hedonistic desires; visiting a brothel and subsequently practicing bondage on one of the women.
Langdon explains to Kohler the importance of the Illuminati as a satanic cult of educated men standing against the church. The Illuminati design was successfully kept secret in a plan to resurface it only when they had gained enough power to safely come out of hiding. In the meanwhile, the Illuminati were absorbed by the Freemasons and gradually gained power within that organization. Kohler requests Langdon’s help in locating the Illuminati despite a lack of activity for more than 500 years, and when Langdon all but refuses Kohler takes him into Vetra’s study.
In another country, a security guard who watches images of ornate hallways, offices, and living quarters finds himself viewing an unexplainable object from a camera that should be showing a hallway.
Vetra’s study is an eclectic mix of scientific and religious artifacts. Kohler reveals that he was not only a brilliant scientist, but also a Catholic priest who believed that through science he could prove God’s existence. Vetra had found a way to demonstrate that particles are connected, and referred to this new field of particle physics as New Physics. Kohler explains Vetra’s secretiveness and his development of enemies as a result of his work. Although it at first appeared nothing was stolen, the two men realize that the murderer stole Vetra’s eye right out of its socket.
Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful Bio Entanglement Physicist who studies the interconnectivity of life systems, returns from her field work. When she discovers Kohler’s deception towards the CERN staff concerning the murder of her father, she informs him that the lab is irrelevant because of the secrecy she and her father maintained.
The three individuals approach Dr. Vetra’s subterranean lab. Vetra explains that the lab contains the world’s largest particle accelerator (the LHC); over twenty-eight kilometers long and eight kilometers in diameter.
Back in the security guard’s domain, a technician it trying to locate camera #86. They know the camera is on the premises because it is wireless and cannot operate out of range. Unfortunately, the camera cannot be located, and the only clues are that the camera seems to be in the dark and that the image transmitted contains a modern-looking devise that looks like trouble. The security guard phones his supervisor.
Vittoria Vetra leads the two men into the depths of the lab she shared with her father, and reminisces about her childhood and the dreams she shared with her father. When they reach the retina scanner that permits access to the lab, it quickly becomes obvious why the killer stole Vetra’s eye.
Back in the brothel, the Hassassin is finished with the woman he “purchased” and reminisces on the pleasure of her physical submission. He believes her to be subhuman, existing only for his pleasure and therefore expendable, but he does not give into his desire to kill her. In his mind, he is honored by his role as the brotherhood’s assassin and messenger – the Angel of Truth.
Langdon, Kohler, and Vetra find the subterranean lab deserted. Vetra describes how her father sought to prove that science supported the concept of God, most specifically in describing the moment of singularity, or Genesis, in regards to the Big Bang. Leonardo Vetra had developed a way to create matter out of nothing using the accelerator tube. Not only did he succeed in creating miniature universes, but he also created the dark matter which comes hand in hand with the known matter here on earth. Several specimens of anti-matter are contained in canisters in the lab.
The Hassassin travels quickly through a dark, ancient tunnel. He is moving towards his enemy, and carefully considers the plan Janus laid out for him, including the careful recruitment of inside assistance.
Vetra explains that anti-matter is the polar opposite of regular matter, and how if the two meet they will instantly destroy one another in a process called annihilation. The canisters, or anti-matter traps, containing the material are carefully designed to keep the anti-matter from ever coming into contact with matter, even air, unless intentionally.
The anti-matter traps are capable of running off of a battery for exactly twenty-four hours, and Vetra removes one to demonstrate annihilation. The result is a brilliant point of light and a massive release of energy, vaporizing the canister. It is clear that the anti-matter is an awesome power, and Vetra believes it to be the ultimate energy source of the future.
Kohler confronts Vetra about why she and her father did not inform CERN of what they had created. She defends herself by explaining that they wanted time to further develop the technologies to make it safe, and consider how to avoid the political implications.
In the course of the discussion, Vetra reveals that they had created a very large specimen of anti-matter, with the intention of proving its cost effectiveness. This half gram sample is capable of annihilating everything in a half mile radius. She brings the two men down to see the specimen, and it becomes clear that someone has used Leonardo’s eye to access the massive sample!
The security technician and his commander are staring at the image of a transparent canister containing a strange metallic droplet of liquid, which appears to be floating. Suddenly, four letters can be clearly read on the side of the container, and the commander immediately requests silence from the technician.
Vittoria Vetra grapples with the horror of Leonardo Vetra’s murder, and the implications of his stolen eye. The half gram sample of anti-matter is gone, and not even Vittoria knows who could have known about its very existence outside of the tight circle of trust between herself and her father. She realizes that she had twenty-four hours to prevent anti-matter from becoming the world’s most notorious and deadly terrorist weapon.
Meanwhile, Robert Langdon is struggling with the context of the crime. He believes that the Illuminati are defunct, and even if they were still active, would not participate in a plot of this magnitude and devastation. Vittoria threatens to call Interpol but cannot until they leave the subterranean lab.
The Hassassin is permitted entrance by an insider who unlocks the door for him. He waits patiently for five minutes, as instructed, and then crosses the threshold.
As the elevator ascends, Vittoria and Kohler continue to argue about the merits of calling the authorities. She realizes that pressuring Leonardo to create the large specimen placed everyone involved in a dangerous situation. Finally, Kohler admits to Vittoria the apparent connection between the Illuminati and her father’s murder, and he further shocks her by showing her the faxed photo he originally sent Langdon.
Kohler’s secretary Sylvie Baudeloque is thoroughly confused and equally frustrated. She has not been able to contact or locate Kohler since early morning, despite repeated efforts. After receiving an urgent phone call from an unbelievable source, she utilizes the