Despite the "hook" at the beginning, it took me a long time to get into this book, and by then things had started to sound familiar. I couldn't figure out why until Wednesday night. Half asleep in bed, I mused over incredible feats, clues and ciphers followed, mysterious buildings, staccato sentences, short cliffhanger chapters predominating...then it hit me. The Circus Boys, The Boy Aviators, The Pony Rider Boys, The Campfire Girls...all those old children's adventure series novels I've been downloading from Black Mask. Dan Brown's taken them all, mixed them together, added modern adult props--sex, graphic violence, computers, conspiracy theories, a touch of the (so-called) occult--tossed bits of Indiana Jones in, and come up with Angels and Demons. Somewhere along the line Phil Forrest of the Circus Boys and Robert Langdon have to be related.
Not that it doesn't draw you in with its theories about Illuminati, Masons, and the Catholic church--not to mention that twist at the end that's a doozy. It's a skillful juggling of plot in underground laboratories, underground vaults, underground libraries, hidden pyramids, hidden symbols, dark corners, dark chapels, dark squares and dark towers. I was told by someone that the revelations in this novel are "scary." What scares me is that, apparently according to reviews I'm reading, there are folks out there that think this rubbish is real. Good God, between Dan Brown and Anne Perry, you've got enough conspiracy theories to do another season of The X-Files. There's a reason they call this "fiction," folks.
Sigh. If you want to read a good novel with occult leanings and secret societies which is so well-written that you'll wonder if it was true, go find a copy of Katharine Kurtz's Lammas Night, okay? Angels and Demons works as pulp, but that's about it.