World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization -- the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth...the long-forgotten Illuminati lair.
Brown's research to build these intricate plots is phenomenal: history, cutting edge science, art, architecture, religion, and anything else to fill in just about whatever question you might think of. Yes, it is fiction in the end, but masterfully crafted with continuous plot twists that make you second-guess what you thought you KNEW had to be the answer two discs ago. And he manages to weave in character backstory without putting a drag on the pace of the action. A big fan of The Da Vinci Code, I honestly think I like this first Robert Langdon thriller better.