Another near-future technothriller from the author of Digital Fortress
(1998). Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon gets a call from Maximilian Kohler, director of CERN's Geneva particle-physics research complex. Physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, and a quantity of dreadfully dangerous antimatter stolen; worse, Vetra was branded with a single word: Illuminati
. Langdon's an expert on the history of the Illuminati, a medieval pro-science, anti-Catholic power group, often suspected of infiltrating mighty institutions but now considered extinct. The canister of antimatter soon turns up—in Rome, hidden somewhere in Vatican City, just as the church's cardinals are gathering to select a new pope. When the canister's batteries go dead—boom. As bad, someone's kidnapped the four top cardinals, and a message from the Illuminati states that one cardinal will be killed—with lots of Illuminati symbolism—every hour until the antimatter explodes. Langdon and Vetra's scientist daughter, Vittoria, must convince the late pope's chamberlain, now in charge of the Vatican until the new pope is elected, to help them unravel the mysteries of the Illuminati and, perhaps, save the cardinals from gruesome deaths. But they'll be going up against a wily and potent Illuminati assassin, causing plenty of thrilling cat-and-mouse maneuvers and life-or-death cliffhangers. And how come the powerful head of the Illuminati knows all the Vatican's secrets, and can enter and leave at will?
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