I enjoyed reading the Angels and Demons book of Dan Browns which I had read long before the famous Da Vinci Code came out. And I must say what a fantastic guide to Rome this is. Putting the story to one side, if you take the book around Rome, you get to see and appreciate a lot of the sights that a tourist might normally miss, or at least see them in a different light.
The imposing and eerily lit Castel Sant’Angelo and St Peters Square is amazing in any situation, but after having read the novel, you can imagine and ‘see’ so much more. The secret passageway is more noticeable after reading the book and the act of Conclave comes to life in the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Particularly down in the Catacombs!!
The book describes a path – a path of illumination with four points which has been set as a trap by the Illuminati. The Illuminati are a secret society who set the path as a means of inducting new members to the order. Four priests have been kidnapped and are to be killed at four sites around Rome. This leads Langdon to four places where each is associated with one of the primordial elements: ‘Earth’, ‘Air’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Water’.
I also enjoyed learning about the ambigrams – an art form that may be read as one or more words not only in its form as presented, but also from another viewpoint or orientation. I have used this in some typography work I have been involved with recently.
I admit I did the journey following the path to see the fountains and the churches and to trace in Langdon’s footsteps. I didn’t think I believed in all the hype but I admit I didn’t dare take it into the Vatican as a mark of respect just incase.