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I’ve read all of Dan Brown’s books previously. With the motion picture release of Angel’s and Demons, I thought I’d run through the book again and try to remember what it is all about.  When I picked it up and saw that it was over five hundred pages, I almost had second thoughts. It’s not that I don’t like a long book. I do. In fact, I often pick up books at the book store because they are large.  But I wanted to get it done quickly so my wife could read it and we’d be ready to see the movie.

Fifteen pages in, I realized it wasn’t going to be a problem. I told my wife that she probably wouldn’t see me for a while and proceeded to devour the book.  I’d forgotten what Brown excels at.  The pages of his books go by faster than Superman on his way to a burning building.  Chapters are short, concise, and end with a cliffhanger.  It’s almost impossible to put down, because you know in another couple of pages that small plot point will be cleared up, but another will appear.

Brown’s books follow a formula. There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s exciting, even if you can predict a little bit what’s going to happen. Let’s run down the list:

  • Devious henchman with ultimate motivation – Check
  • Shadowy archfiend who’s identity we don’t find out until the end – Check
  • Clues that only one person in the world can figure out, and he happens to be there – Check
  • Tangled web of truth and fiction dealing with inflammatory historical material with potentially ulterior religious motiviation – Check
  • Surprise ending – Check
  • Excellent read, no matter your feelings on the subject matter – Check

Brown’s never going to get compliments for his prose, or even his character building. He’s writing a pulp fiction thriller, with lots of semi historical and potentially inflammatory material to build from.  For me, I think it’s great.  He makes people interested in art and architecture.  I’ve always wanted to go to Rome, but now I have specific things I’d love to see.  After reading the Da Vinci code, my interest in going to Paris and the Louvre was piqued. 

The religious aspects of his book don’t bother me in the least. If you aren’t strong enough in your faith to question it sometimes, or to do research on where the religion came from and what it’s been through, then you may have a larger problem than the plot of a Dan Brown novel.

And besides, it’s fiction! It’s a story.   And a pretty enjoyable one at that.

If you like this book and haven’t read the Da Vinci Code, you need to do that. And don’t forget his new book, The Lost Symbol, comes out this September.

Rating: 4 out of 5. (what do the ratings mean?)