Fiteen days ago, the Pope, after a tremendously popular twelve-year reign, had passed away. Every paper in the world had carried the story about the Pope's fatal stroke while sleeping-a sudden and unexpected death many whispered was suspicious. But now, in keeping with the sacred tradition, fifteen days after the death of a Pope, the Vatican was holding Il Conclavo-the sacred ceremony in which the 165 cardinals of the world-the most powerful men in Christendom-gathered in Vatican City to elect the new Pope.
Every cardinal on the planet is here today,
The entire power structure of the Roman Catholic Church is sitting on a time bomb,The
anti matter, a fatal weapon, if used only in one direction, has been placed there.
"I am Carlo Ventresca," he said, his English perfect. "The late Pope's camerlegno."
"That is my father," Vittoria said, her voice wavering. "He was a priest and a man of science. He was murdered last night."
The victim is Leonardo Vetra. He was one of the most brilliant scientists of our time. His death is a profound loss for science.
Leonardo's adopted daughter, Vittoria is also a physicist at CERN. She and her father shared a lab. They were partners.
CERN is the world's largest scientific research facility Switzerland's Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.
The men and women of CERN want to find answers to the same questions man has been asking since the beginning of time.
Langdon, a professor of religious iconology at Harvard University and a writer of symbology themes, is called by Maximilian Kohler, a particle physicist and the general director of CERN to investigate.
Langdon's world is world is a world where history, myth, and fact collide.
On the victim's chest was a terrible burn.
It has been branded and imprinted with a single word. It was a word Langdon knew well. Very wel.: "Illuminati".
The Illuminati murdered Leonardo Vetra.
"The symbol is authentic," Langdon said.
"The Illuminati are dead," the camerlegno said. "Long ago. That is historical fact."
Langdon nodded. "Yesterday, I would have agreed with you."
"Before today's chain of events. I believe the Illuminati have resurfaced to make good on an ancient pact."
What ancient pact is this?"
"The destruction of Vatican City."
Antimatter was a lethal weapon. Potent, and unstoppable, if used in the wrong way.
Since the beginning of history, a deep rift has existed between science and religion.
In the 1500s, a group of men in Rome fought back against the church. Some of Italy's most
enlightened men-physicists, mathematicians, astronomers-began meeting secretly to share their concerns about the church's inaccurate teachings. They feared that the church's monopoly on 'truth' threatened academic enlightenment around the world. They founded the world's first scientific think tank, calling themselves 'the enlightened ones'.
They were hunted ruthlessly by the Catholic Church. Only through rites of extreme secrecy did the scientists remain safe.
Many of the Illuminati wanted to combat the church's tyranny with acts of violence, but their most revered member persuaded them against it.
Galileo was an Illuminatus.
He held that science and religion were not enemies, but rather allies-two different languages telling the same story, a story of symmetry and balance, heaven and hell, night and day, hot and cold, God and Satan. Both science and religion rejoiced in
God's symmetry, the endless contest of light and dark.
Unfortunately, the unification of science and religion was not what the church wanted. So the church tried Galileo as a heretic, found him guilty, and put him under permanent house arrest.
Galileo's arrest threw the Illuminati into upheaval. Mistakes were made, and the church discovered the identities of four members, whom they captured and interrogated. But the four scientists revealed nothing, even under torture.
They were branded alive. On the chest. With the symbol of a cross.
Leonardo Vetra. was a priest and a physicist.
Men of science and religion are not unprecedented in history. He considered physics 'God's natural law.' He claimed God's handwriting was visible in the natural order all around us. Through science he hoped to prove God's existence to the doubting masses. Mr. Vetra actually found a way to demonstrate that particles are connected.
Even though science was unable to comprehend the divine moment of creation, Vetra created a universe from nothing.
Science and religion support the same truth-pure energy is the father of creation.
And there is the proof. In those canisters were specimens of the matter he created.
But it's also dangerous. Vetra and his daughter anted time to refine the procedures.
Over the years, the Illuminati began absorbing new members. A new Illuminati emerged. A darker Illuminati. A deeply anti-Christian Shaitan. Shaitan is Islamic. It means 'adversary', God's adversary.
If the Illuminati were still active, and if
they stole the antimatter, what would be their intention? What would be their target?
The antimatter could have been stolen for financial gain.
Of course somebody knew. Someone had found out. That left only two explanations.
CERN's security system? Had they been monitored somehow without their knowledge?
"Basta," the camerlegno declared.
"Dangerous or not, Illuminati or no Illuminati, whatever this thing is, it most certainly should not be inside Vatican City... no less on the eve of the conclave. I want it found and removed. Organize a search immediately or four cardinals will die, one every hour starting at eight. By midnight the whole world will be enthralled."
The four missing men were no ordinary cardinals. They were the cardinals. The chosen four, i preferiti.
The camerlegno believes however that a church is more than mortar and stone. You cannot simply erase two thousand years of faith. You cannot crush faith simply by removing its earthly manifestations. The Catholic Church will continue with or without Vatican City.
Men of God live in a dangerous world and i
preferiti are men of faith, they do not fear
The Illuminati had intended to turn that evening into a media circus.
The bulletin seemed to spread like a plague from station to station. Everyone had the same story. Headlines competed for optimal sensationalism.
SATAN TOUCHES HOUSE OF GOD
TERROR AT THE VATICAN
The camerlegno turnes to the group.
"Upon this rock I will build my church. That was the message. The meaning is clear."
He spoke quickly now. "The Illuminati have placed their tool of destruction on the very
cornerstone of this church. At the foundation." He motioned down the stairs. "On the very rock upon which this church was built. And I know where that rock is. Let me do what I have been called to do. I am to save this church. And I can. I swear on my life. Death would be a welcome relief from the misery your faith has put me through since I was a boy."
"Since the beginning of time," "this church has fought the enemies of God. Sometimes with words. Sometimes with swords. And we have always survived."
"But the demons of the past," he continued, "were demons of fire and abomination... they were enemies we could fight-enemies who inspired fear. Yet Satan is shrewd. As time passed, he cast off his diabolical countenance for a new face... the face of pure reason. Transparent and insidious, but soulless
all the same.
Science has come to save us from our sickness, hunger, and pain! Behold science-the new God of endless miracles, omnipotent and benevolent! Ignore the weapons and the chaos. Forget the fractured loneliness and
endless peril. Science is here!" Science and religion are not in this together! We do not seek the same God, you and I! Who is
your God? One of protons, masses, and particle charges? How does your God inspire? Man is not ready to hold the power of Creation
in his hands. God in a test tube? A droplet of liquid that can vaporize an entire city? He had to be stopped!"
The camerlegno had often prayed to God to show him how to make the people believe again. But God had been silent. It was not until the camerlegno's moment of deepest darkness that God had come to him.
"Yes!" he shouted into the madness. "I would die for man! Like your son, I would die for them! "God's work is not done in a lab. It is done in the heart. "My father's heart was pure! "
The camerlegno took a deep breath
And the truth shall set you free...
Truth, the camerlegno told himself.
They are singing in St. Peter's Square!