Angel a Demon
If you have read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code you may have seen his list of other novels. Deception Point and Digital Fortress are based upon different characters, and as I'm not terribly adventurous in unfamiliar genres I decided to stick with what I know. I bought Angels and Demons a while back as it featured the same main character as Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon, and finally was able to read it while I was away.
If you liked the Da Vinci Code, chances are you'll equally enjoy this one. It is pretty much the same formula, and at first it seemed so familiar that I checked my copy of Da Vinci. I realised that I had read the first chapter of Angels and Demons before I purchased it explaining why it was so familiar.
Langdon is called in the middle of the night about a strange murder where a symbol has been burned into the victims chest. He is convinced to get on a plane to Switzerland where the adventure starts.
The majority of the book is set in Rome and in the Vatican and Brown's descriptions of detail in these cities is excellent. No one could ever claim he's under-researched. I've never been to Rome, nor, not surprisingly, the Vatican, but I think I'd be able to find my way around with the info in this book.
Not that it's all details mind. The whole story takes place within a day, and most of it in the last 6 hours. It's a race against time where the whole Vatican is at stake. There is the usual problem-solving-on-the-run and danger lurking around every corner to keep the tension taut.
Suspension of disbelief is the key to enjoying any story, and you have to hold firm to it while reading Angels and Demons. If you are too cynical about it you'll never accept that Langdon is able to solve mysteries that have remained that way for hundreds, even thousands, of years. But that is part of the fun.
For me, I enjoy the fact that it is a person who is well read who saves the day and not the big beefy monosyllabic guy. That doesn't mean Langdon doesn't get beat up, trapped or dropped from a great height. It means he can be eloquent about it.
There are far too many people who read Dan Brown's books as if they are non-fiction. I'll never read the 'facts behind the Da Vinci Code' books, because I don't care. They are good works of fiction, using a heavily researched factual backdrop.
Enjoy it for the rollercoaster ride around the Vatican and that you may learn a little something along the way.
(Never thought I'd ever use rollercoaster and Vatican in the same sentence!)