This is the second book featuring Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. Unlike the movies, 'Angels and Demons' actually comes first.
As far as action thrillers go, this book was good but not great. Yes, it kept me reading. It was interesting enough to keep me engaged. But there was also a lot about the book that I hated.
I understand that this book is fiction. And I would have no issues with the religious animosity and blatant anti-Christian propaganda if this book were strictly claiming to be just a work of fiction. But it's not. Brown clearly states in the opening pages that everything in the book (minus the actual fictional characters and plot) is fact. He attempts to present his fictional story around what he claims to be well-researched, documented, historical and religious fact. People who hate the book because of its anti-Christian content are told, "Lighten up, it's only fiction!" while people who love the book because of its anti-Christian content proclaim, "Look at what the Church has never told us! And all of it's true!" Brown has expertly played both sides and it seems that he has the book sales to prove it.
For anyone with even the slightest understanding of early church history (or any early history at all) they will find the claims in this book to be laughable. Sadly, millions of people have taken this work of 'fiction' as gospel truth (and have used it as 'credible' ammunition when rejecting the real gospel as truth.) Brown's hatred is obviously directed specifically at the Catholic church. I'm not sure why the multitude of Protestant denominations were left unscathed...perhaps he is saving their inclusion for a future book.
In all, if you can completely suspend all sense of accuracy when it comes to history (this is fiction after all, right?) then this book is an interesting read on an Indiana Jones/ conspiracy theory/ international scandal type of level. But the moment you take it as more than fiction, it sinks into poorly veiled ideological propaganda and the story itself becomes nothing more than a means for Brown to attempt a rewrite of otherwise well-documented history.
It's no surprise that so many books have been written in response to this one. Since Brown claims that everything in the book is true, it's only fair for others to point out the difference between what is true and what is embellishment, fabrication, and blatant misrepresentation of fact. For a solid, well-researched, well-documented counterpoint to The DaVinci code, I recommend 'The DaVinci Hoax' by Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel.
This was another fascinating read by this author. I didn't feel the need to read it as fast as "Angels & Demons" since I had seen the movie, but that didn't take away from the book at all. It's a story that really makes you think about things that we've been told and how history is written by the "winners" and people with an agenda. The characters in this book are well-written and I really appreciate how Langden is a smart man, but not a know-it-all, so that when he makes mistakes or misses clues it's believable. I hate characters who are the know-it-all types that I've read in some books but always miss the obvious when it counts. I highly recommend this book!