It was the year 2000 that Harvard Professor of religious iconography and symbology Robert Langdon first came alive on the page in Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. Six years later we were introduced to his face (aka Tom Hanks) on-screen, via Ron Howard’s smash hit film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. More films and books have followed, so to keep you up to date we’ve compiled a rundown of where the twisted plots have taken us so far. Here’s a Robert Langdon refresher course.
Angels & Demons
- Angels & Demons begins with the murder of Physicist Leonardo Vetra at his laboratory within CERN, a physics company. Vetra was also a Catholic priest.
- Langdon is called in by Maximilian Kohler, the director of CERN, to investigate Vetra’s murder.
- An ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati is said to be behind Vetra’s death. The Illuminati began in the 1500s as a group of physicists, mathematicians and astronomers who met to discuss the churches’ inaccurate teachings, and grew to be the biggest adversary to the Catholic Church.
- Langdon and Vetra’s adoptive daughter, Vittoria Vetra, who is also a scientist, find themselves in Rome and the Vatican on the hunt for Vetra’s killer, but along the way they soon become the hunted.
The Da Vinci Code
- Set in France, The Da Vinci Code starts off with the murder of curator Jacques Saunière in the famous Louvre Museum.
- Joining Langdon to solve the murder is cryptologist Sophie Neveu, the granddaughter of the man who has been murdered.
- The first riddle is left on the Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, ‘The Vitruvian Man’.
- Langdon and Neveu start to investigate the murder and find a bigger battle between secret societies, the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei. The Priory of Sion hold many secrets about the Holy Grail and the relationship between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Opus Dei plan to find the truth and ruin the Vatican.
- Langdon and Neveu follow a trail of riddles, secrets and clues to find out that Sophie is a descendent of Mary Magdalene and where the legendary Holy Grail is hidden. The murderer of Saunière is found and the secrets of the Priory are kept safe.
The Lost Symbol
- Professor Langdon is summoned unexpectedly for an evening lecture in the US Capitol Building by his beloved mentor and friend, Peter Solomon (who is also a prominent Mason).
- Within the hidden chambers, tunnels and temples of Washington, DC, Langdon discovers Solomon has been kidnapped by Mal’akh, and to save Solomon’s life, Langdon must find the location of the Masons’ Pyramid and the Lost Symbol.
- Mal’akh is on a mission to secure an ancient source of power and has posed as a Freemason to learn their secrets and get closer to Solomon.
- After discovering the Pyramid in a package that Solomon had entrusted to him, Langdon is then forced by Mal’akh to unlock the code at the Pyramid’s base. Mal’akh is then ready to be sacrificed as he sees himself as the manifestation of an angel of the Black Arts, destined to become a demonic spirit and lead the forces of evil.
- The book ends with Langdon being informed that the true Masonic Pyramid is atop the Washington Monument, and the true Word (the ‘Word of God’), is buried underneath the Monument’s staircase. The symbols on the pyramid’s base translate to ‘Praise God’.
- Florence, Italy: Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object found hidden in his belongings.
- He and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, are propelled into a breakneck chase across the city.
- They must rely on his knowledge of the hidden passageways and an ancient secret that lie behind its historic façade to save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.
- With only a few lines from Dante's Inferno to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the Renaissance's most celebrated artworks to find the answers to a puzzle which may help them save the world from a terrifying threat...
- At the invitation of his friend and former student Edmond Kirsch, Langdon arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that is billed to ‘change the face of science forever’.
- But Langdon and several hundred other guests are left reeling when the meticulously orchestrated evening is blown apart before Kirsch’s precious discovery can be revealed.
- With his life under threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape, along with the museum’s director, Ambra Vidal. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.
- On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal uncover the clues that will bring them face-to-face with a world-shaking truth that has remained buried – until now.