Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor of symbology and a world-renowned expert on the subject. His quiet life is turned upside down when he receives a fax with the symbol of the Illuminati branded on a murdered man's chest and an insistent summons to help with the investigation.
I enjoyed this book tremendously for the adventure, the history, the quick pace and the light romance. I literally couldn't put it down and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning reading because I had to find out who Janus was, what it is he was after and where the secret Illuminati lair was.
It was interesting to see the conflict between good and evil in this story and Mr. Brown's interpretation of it. You can't get away from it - it's in the title itself. It was fascinating to see how the same things could be perceived to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum depending on the viewpoint of the examiner: are science, knowledge, education and progress good or are they to be shunned in favor of almost blind faith? Is murder justified if it's a means to a righteous end? Can goodness become evil if it goes untempered?
I couldn't help but grow fond of Robert, Vittoria and even the frosty Maximillian Kohler. They each have a story that makes them who they are and this humanity makes them all but walk off the page. For the same reason the villain is that much more chilling - I know there are people in this world who are at the same level of delusional conviction and will do anything to achieve their goals.
The academic explanations tended to slow down the pace but not enough to pull me out of the story. It was more like listening to a highly educated person carry on a conversation in which their field is involved - they just can't resist telling you all the different things they find fascinating and venture off into the realm of lecture before they catch themselves but when it's all said and done you still find that you're glad they told you all those things.
I would recommend this highly satisfying read to fans of edge-of-your-seat mystery with elements of history. Just be prepared to not sleep much until you turn that last page.