Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
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Week 1


Laura (D)- Questions

1. Do you think Leonardo Vetra told anyone about the antimatter? If not, how did anyone find out about it?
Leonardo Vetra most likely did not tell anyone, because in the book they clearly state that Vittoria and Leonardo kept the secret between the two of them. Also, the Illuminati, who most likely stole the antimatter, probably have people in their organization who work at CERN. They most likely found out about the antimatter somehow, and planned everything perfectly so that they would be able to steal the canister.

2. Why do you think Olivetti is so reluctant to believe Vittoria and Robert Langdon?
Olivetti is so reluctant to believe Vittoria because she is the one who created the antimatter. First of all, Olivetti does not know anything about the antimatter because it has not been introduced yet. Also, Robert Langdon is from the United States, so he is not seen as trustworthy to Olivetti.

3. Do you think the four missing cardinals have anything to do with the stolen antimatter canister?
Yes, the four missing cardinals have to have something to do with the stolen antimatter canister. The conclave is one of the most prestigious events in history, so they must be after something very serious and important in order to miss this event.

4. If the Illuminati have been 'dead for decades', why do you think they are supposedly back now? What are they back for?
The Illuminati weren't destroyed, they were in the loom for decades. Because the Illuminati are against the church, they are back to destroy the Vatican, which is the most important and sacred place in the Catholic church. The Illuminati have planned to do this for decades, and maybe they are back now because they were waiting for the right time.

5. If it was the Illuminati who stole the antimatter canister, do you think they timed it purposely to interrupt the conclave?
Yes, the Illuminati most likely timed their entire scheme perfectly. Because of their strong views, they wanted to do something that would ruin the Catholic church. The conclave is rarely held, and when it is, it is a very big deal because they are choosing the new Pope. The Illuminati wanted to interrupt the conclave and destroy Vatican city so that it would ruin the Church.

Jesse Krantz (B)- Weekly Discussion: Characters

Robert Langdon is a Harvard symbologist who is introduced as the main character of the novel. He is called to help investigate a curious murder. Langdon is extremely smart and is very good at his job. He easily recognizes the Illuminati symbol and is able to give extensive details about anything that arises. He seems like a key figure to have around, which makes it no coincidence that he was called to help with the investigation.

Maximilian Kohler is the director of CERN, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research). Kohler is the one who discovers his murdered colleague and calls Robert Langdon. Kohler is handicapped and in a wheelchair, but what he lacks in physical talent, he surely makes up for with mental performance. The man seems brilliant, which is reassured when he speaks of all the inventions CERN (which he directs) have discovered. Kohler claims CERN has discovered the world wide web and many other organizations and points out that many people are not even aware that it was them. This shows Kohler and CERN's disregard of praise for their discoveries and shows a lot about the modest nature of Kohler and the people at the organization.

Leonardo Vetra was one of the top physicists working for CERN. He is found murdered in his quarters, but no police investigation is initiated and instead Langdon is called to investigate. Kohler believes that he needs to keep the situation isolated until he has more information about the Illuminati, who left a mark on his body, and until he believes the situation does not pose a threat to others in the facility. Vetra was specifically working on antimatter, a complete opposite of matter, which is highly unstable and can cause deadly explosions y just coming in contact with matter. Vetra is also found to be a priest. His only family member mentioned is his adopted step-daughter Victoria.

Victoria Vetra is the adopted daughter of Leonardo Vetra. She is alerted of her father's murder after Langdon begins his initial investigation. Victoria, also working at CERN, works specifically on biology and physics, although she claims to have helped her father with his studies on antimatter. She joins Langdon on his search to find Leonardo's murderer and to uncover the secrets of the Illuminati.

Hassassin is the name given to the assassin hired by Janus (a pseudonym for an unknown character) to murder Leonardo Vetra. He is of Middle Eastern decent and tells of his ancestor's hatred of the church and he describes how he is doing what he was born to do by continuing the work of his family past.

Meeting Summary

Being the first week of book club, there was much to discuss about Angels and Demons. We started off our discussion on the characters that we were first introduced to. Having previously read The Lost Symbol, also by Dan Brown, we already knew much about Robert Langdon, so we all agreed that it was easy to follow along. In addition, we discussed the Vetra's (Leonardo and Vittoria). It was quite a shock to start off the book with both a brutal murder and the beginning of an international crisis. We then began to discuss the situation of the missing antimatter canister. We discussed whether or not Leonardo Vetra told anyone about this canister, despite the promise he made with his daughter, Vittoria. We all decided that something must have happened or there must have been a insider at CERN that knew something about this canister. They also knew the only way to get into the lab room was with a retinal eye scan that could only be Vittoria's or Leonardo's, which clearly explains why the murderer cut out Leonardo's eyeball. Because he was then able to gain access to the lab, he stole the canister and somehow got out of CERN and to Vatican City almost immediately. We all agreed that this seemed somewhat suspicious.

After this discussion, we began discussing some of the questions for this week. We began to talk about the Illuminati and how they could have possibly known about the antimatter canister, being that they were 'in the loom' for decades. We then began to give each of our individual opinions on why the Illuminati would want to steal the antimatter canister. However, after discussing this for awhile and applying it to some of the text, we found out that the Illuminati wanted to destroy Vatican City, which would destroy the Catholic church altogether. The Illuminati is a group that does not agree with the Catholic Church's religion. Actually, they are so against it that they want to destroy the church, which would destroy the entire religion. Finally, we ended our discussion with further opinions on how this situation was going to be resolved; however, we all agreed that we have our doubts on it.

Week 2

Jesse Krantz (C)

This week's meeting began with bad news; no food. The period began and only Becca and I were in school, since Shah was out due to his injuries and Laura did not come in and that meant no food. The meeting began with Becca's questions, which immediately led us off track into a discussion on the similarities between Angels and Demons and Dan Brown's other book The Lost Symbol. We discussed the similarities between the enemies in both books, which are both described in the same manner. Another striking resemblance was in the beginning when Langdon was asked to help in a globally important matter (both dealing with murders), in both cases the invitations and situations which occur are almost exactly the same. After finishing the discussion, we reverted back to the unanswered questions.

After finishing the questions we did not have a discussion written (Shah could not attend) to discuss, so we began discussing the language based on what we read thus far. With more time to spare, we revisited all the events of the chapter, since there was not much left to do, due to our lack of group members. We concluded our meeting when I described the events so far that have differed from the movie and which one I thought was better (usually the events in the book). The book had much more detail and time to expand on themes and events, which the movie did not have time to do. Examples are the beginning of the book, when Langdon is called, the assassination by the "Hassassin", and many other events which have occurred in just the first 2/5 of the novel. With a few minutes left, we shortly discussed what we think will happen in next weeks reading.

Weekly Discussion: Language

Angels and Demons is the type of book that you have to understand in order to enjoy. Meaning, if you have not read another Dan Brown book in this series, then you most likely will not understand what is going on. Because there is a lot of historical content, you have to be able to understand it in order to follow the book. However, in my opinion, the language in Angels and Demons is somewhat easy to read. It is very conversational, which adds to the overall language of the book. This makes it a somewhat fast read because it is very easy to follow along with. On the other hand, Angels and Demons does use many words that I do not understand. Many of them reference historical content, which is sometimes hard to follow. However, usually you can find the meaning in the context of the next sentence or paragraph. That way, it makes it much easier to understand what is going on in the book. Furthermore, Angels and Demons is most definitely written at a higher grade level. This is not to say that you have to be older to read this book; however, you do have to be interested in the topic and you do have to be able to understand the meaning of many of the words and historical content. If not, it can be very difficult to follow along with the text and overall language of the book. In my opinion, this book is most likely written for high school students and older. Most high school students would be able to understand many of the topics written in this book, much of which middle school students would not be able to understand. The language of Angels and Demons makes for a conversational, yet very classic book, which adds to the greatness of the book.

Questions

1. Where do you think Kohler is and what do you think he is up to?
We previously found out that Kohler was still being treated in his hospital unit. However, Kohler got up and left his room without permission and without telling anyone where he was going. It is possible that he is going to Vatican City, but there is no way in knowing where he may be heading.

2. The camerlengo is clearly no confident that the Swiss Guard will find the antimatter canister. Why do you think this is so?
Although the Swiss Guard is filled with highly trained men, the antimatter canister has been missing for more than several hours. They have searched two thirds of the white zones, but they have not searched other areas of Vatican City. The canister could be anywhere, so the camerlengo does not feel very confident that they will find it soon enough.

3. Do you think the video Gunther Glick and Chinita Macri shot will get out to the world and cause major problems for Vatican City?
Yes, it most likely will. Vatican City does not want anyone in the area to know what is going on, let alone the entire world. If this video gets out to the world, Vatican City will have a lot of explaining to do and at this point, nobody wants to deal with the press. If the press finds out, people will be all over Vatican City trying to get a shot of what is going on.

4. Do you think going in the Archives will help Robert find a piece of artwork by Bernini that has to do with fire?
Yes, because the Archives hold so many ancient manuscripts and books that is not released to the world for a reason. Robert and Vittoria previously found Diagramma by Galileo in there before, so there is most likely something in there by Bernini.

5. When Robert was stuck in the Archives, do you think it was someone purposely trying to kill him?
At first, that is the main thought. Without proper oxygen to breathe, Robert could have died in the Archives. The doors would not have shut by themselves and locked Robert in there just by coincidence. It is clear that someone was trying to lock Robert in there long enough so that he would die, and not be able to continue on with his search for the Hassassin.


Week 3

Laura Bilash (B)- Weekly Discussion: Mood/Tone

The overall moods and tones of Angels and Demons by Dan Brown is suspense and mystery. Throughout the book so far, the main characters have experienced so many overwhelming things, all of which cause a lot of emotion. In addition, because the book has so many twists and turns, the reader never knows what is going to happen next, which is what causes the suspense. The content of the book is so different yet very mysterious because the main characters are faced with a situation that they are solving step by step. Because the characters don't even know what is going to happen next themselves, it is almost impossible for the reader to predict what is going to happen also. The overriding emotion of this book is so difficult to define. This is because there are so many different emotions, all of which are occurring at the exact same time. However, in my opinion, the overriding emotion would most likely be distress. Robert and Vittoria have been faced with the most unpredictable situation. Because everything has to be so secretive, they cannot reach out to just anybody to seek help. In addition, the fact that Vittoria is trying to solve this situation less than 24 hours after she found out that her father was brutally murdered must be very stressful. However, despite all of the emotion Vittoria must be feeling, she continues to help Robert in solving the problem. In addition, as said before, the characters are also faced with so many emotions. They have seen things that will probably burn into their minds for the rest of their life, yet they still continue on in finding the assassin. Overall, Angels and Demons is filled with many emotions, all of which are greatly felt by the main characters. The suspense and mystery also intertwined within the book is so overwhelming, and it continues to do so throughout the book.

Questions

1. Why do you think Vittoria and Robert continue to try and catch the Hassassin, despite their previous failed attempts?
Vittoria and Robert have come so close each time, so the only factor is time. Because they have Robert's knowledge, they can easily find out where the next murder will take place, so the only thing they really have to worry about is getting there in time.

2. Why do you think the camerlengo wanted his speech to be broadcasted throughout the world?
The camerlengo has been faced with such a difficult challenge. The world already found out what was happening in the Vatican, so he figured he might as well broadcast his feelings to the world and tell everyone the truth. Also, he wanted to let 'science' know that the Church had given up, and they had won the battle.

3. Do you think Robert will go after the Hassassin to get Vittoria?
Yes, even though it has been less than 24 hours, Robert and Vittoria have formed a strong bond because they have been through all of this together. Robert is not going to just let the hassassin take her and possibly kill her. He will do whatever it takes to save Vittoria's life, even if it means risking his own.

4. What challenges will the murder of Olivetti bring Robert, Vittoria, the Swiss guard, and everyone else involved?
Nobody besides Robert is aware of the murder of Olivetti. This will cause even more difficulties for the Vatican, because he is the head of the Swiss Guard, who is supposed to protect Vatican City. Olivetti knew what precautions to take, and now that he is not there anymore, there may be some problems.

5. After finding out a part of Robert's past, we now understand why he is so claustrophobic. Do you think this will further serve as a weakness or possibly help him in the near future?
This will most likely help Robert in the near future. He became a swimmer after his dealings with claustrophobia, so if anything, his swimming will help him. Even though we have seen Robert at his worst with claustrophobia, he will most likely have to triumph over it in order to save lives.

Meeting Summary

We started off this week's book club with some muffins brought in from Jesse. Soon after, we began discussing the many events that took place during this week's reading. We discussed the continuous adventures of Robert and Vittoria, who are still trying to catch the Hassassin at one of the church's. We discussed how the book keeps us so on edge, because each time Vittoria and Robert get so close to catching the Hassassin, something goes wrong or they didn't show up in time. However, every time, they have made it to the correct place, but soon after find another cardinal brutally murder in one of the forms of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. We all agreed that this is very frustrating, especially for the readers, because it keeps us wanting to read more and more in order to find out what is going to happen next. We also all agreed that Robert and Vittoria make for a great team, with the help of the Swiss Guard, the camerlengo, and everyone else involved. However, with the antimatter canister still missing somewhere in Vatican City, there is not much hope for the city. We are not sure if the antimatter canister could be hidden somewhere in one of the Church's in the path of Illumination, considering it was the Hassassin who stole the canister.

After this discussion, we began discussing the questions for this week. There were many events that took place, including the camerlengo's speech to the cardinals and to the entire world. We all thought that this was a good move because it gave the world an inside look on what is actually going on in Vatican City. They were only hearing rumors and parts of the story, but with the camerlengo's speech, they were able to get the entire story pieced together which was actually one hundred percent true. It also gave the world a chance to pray for Vatican City in its time of need, which is what the camerlengo really wanted. After discussing this part of the book, we switched directions and began discussing the topic for this week, which was the mood and tone of the book. We all agreed that this book is very mysterious and suspenseful, and definitely keeps its readers on edge at all times. As frustrating at this is at times, we agreed that this is what makes the books so intriguing.

Jesse Krantz (A)- Food

Week 4

Jesse Krantz- Questions

1. Why do you think the camerlengo wanted to die with the antimatter canister?
First off, the camerlengo wanted to save the church and Vatican City and all of the people. His intentions were to go high up to the heavens and die there, right next to God. Because the camerlengo was faced with such a difficult situation, he had to resolve it somehow, and this was the best solution for Vatican City.

2. Do you think the camerlengo truly spoke to God or did he just figure out where the canister was hidden?
As said in the book, the camerlengo probably just had a revelation and figured out where the antimatter canister was hidden. It was hidden in a very logical place and it definitely made sense. However, according to the camerlengo or just in a religious sense, he could have spoken to God.

3. Why do you think the world came together during this time of need-when the clock ran out?
People realized what was actually happening and they knew that there was nothing they could do to stop it besides pray. The only thing that they could do was come together as a whole-the people in Vatican City and the people around the world who were watching this entire scene on television.

4. Why do you think camerlengo Ventresca would take the only parachute and leave Robert on the helicopter with the antimatter?
This was very surprising, considering the camerlengo wanted to die himself. It seemed like a selfish move because he had been the one to take the antimatter out from the tomb three stories under the ground and bring it to ground level. There is no way to tell why the camerlengo would do this to Robert.

5. Did you, as a reader, think it was possible that Robert could have survived that fall from the helicopter?
No, it was extremely surprising to find out that Robert was actually alive. Even though he used his logic and took a tarp from the helicopter and moved it so that it would slow down his fall, nobody thought that he was going to survive. It seemed physically impossible for Robert to survive after that fall.

Laura Bilash (C): Meeting Summary

This week was the last book club meeting for our book, Angels and Demons. Because it was the last meeting, we were able to discuss the book from beginning to end. However, we especially focused on the ending of the book, considering that it was the most intriguing part of the book. Our discussion started off with a quick comment on the ending of the book and the book overall. We all agreed that we loved the book, especially because we had already previously read another Dan Brown book. In addition, we talked about how suspenseful the ending of the book was, and how many twists and turns there were. We were all surprised how randomly the camerlengo came up with the location of the antimatter canister. At first, we all thought that he was just going crazy and in shock, just like Robert, Vittoria, and everyone else in the book thought. It was a surprise to find out that he was actually perfectly fine, even though he was just branded.

After this discussion, we began to discuss some of the main parts of the ending of the book. We were are confused why the camerlengo would leave Robert on the helicopter with the antimatter canister, which was about to explode any second. We were also confused how Robert could have possibly survived the fall from the helicopter. Even though he used the tarp from the helicopter, it seemed impossible that he was going to survive. We also discussed how much emotion the people who were actually in Vatican City must have been going through. They went from thinking they were all going to die, to thinking the Church was going to be destroyed, to thinking the camerlengo had died. These people went through an emotional roller-coaster within a total of ten minutes. Then, they see the camerlengo on top of the Basilica, and he is actually alive. After this discussion, we briefly discussed the topic of the week, which was themes and images. We talked about the several themes and images for this book including mystery and suspense. Finally, we ended our last book club session with our final thoughts on the book.

Weekly Discussion: Themes/Images

There are many themes and images throughout Angels and Demons. Because this book contains a lot of historical content, there are many images related to the history that are intertwined within the book. Furthermore, throughout the book, we are given a lot of information about the Illuminati, and with that, we are given many images. Some of the images include the four Illuminati symbols- Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. There are even actual images in the book that spell out the four Illuminati symbols in their secretive symmetrical way. On the other hand, there are also many themes throughout Angels and Demons. Some of those themes include mystery, suspense, and revenge. The entire book is basically based on mystery, considering the main characters do not even know what is going to happen next. The Illuminati symbols and the secret symbols hidden throughout Vatican City represent the mystery in the book. Also, there is a lot of suspense throughout the book. Vittoria and Robert are faced with many difficult situations, all which leave the reader on edge and filled with suspense. While reading the book, there is never a time when the text is not suspenseful. Another theme in Angels and Demons is revenge. Throughout the book, we are introduced to many problems, all of which are intertwined into one major crisis. Robert and Vittoria are both trying to get revenge on the Hassassin, the main who is murdering the cardinals and trying to destroy Vatican City. In addition, the Hassassin and Janus (both part of the Illuminati group) are both trying to get revenge on the Church (which they have been trying to do for decades upon decades). Throughout the book Angels and Demons, there are many images and themes that portray the plot of the story very well. With each theme and image, the author is able to convey the meaning that he originally meant to portray.