The world’s largest scientific research facility – Switzerland’s Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) – recently succeeded in producing the first particles of antimatter. Antimatter is identical to physical matter except that it is composed of particles whose electric charges are opposite to those found in normal matter.
Antimatter is the most powerful energy source known to man. It releases energy with 100 percent efficiency (nuclear fission is 1.5 percent efficient). Antimatter creates no pollution or radiation, and a droplet could power New York City for a full day.
There is, however, one catch. . .
Antimatter is highly unstable. It ignites when it comes in contact with absolutely anything. . . even air. A single gram of antimatter contains the energy of a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb – the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Until recently antimatter has been created only in very small amounts (a few atoms at a time). But CERN has now broken ground on its new Antiproton Decelerator – an advanced antimatter production facility that promises to create antimatter in much larger quantities.
One question looms: Will this highly volatile substance save the world, or will it be used to create the most deadly weapon ever made?
References to all works of art, tombs, tunnels, and architecture in Rome are entirely factual (as are their exact locations). They can still be seen today.
The brotherhood of the Illuminati is also factual.
Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own. He stared up in terror at the dark figure looming over him. “What do you want!”
“La chiave,” the raspy voice replied. “The password.”
“But. . . I don’t – “
The intruder pressed down again, grinding the white hot object deeper
into Vetra’s chest. There was the hiss of broiling flesh.
Vetra cried out in agony. “There is no password!” He felt himself drifting toward unconsciousness.
The figure glared. “Ne avevo paura. I was afraid of that.”
Vetra fought to keep his senses, but the darkness was closing in. His only solace was in knowing his attacker would never obtain what he had come for. A moment later, however, the figure produced a blade and brought it to Vetra’s face. The blade hovered. Carefully. Surgically.
“For the love of God!” Vetra screamed. But it was too late.
High atop the steps of the Pyramid of Giza a young woman laughed and called down to him. “Robert, hurry up! I knew I should have married a younger man!” Her smile was magic.
He struggled to keep up, but his legs felt like stone. “Wait,” he begged. “Please. . .”
As he climbed, his vision began to blur. There was a thundering in his ears. I must reach her! But when he looked up again, the woman had disappeared. In her place stood an old man with rotting teeth. The man stared down, curling his lips into a lonely grimace. Then he let out a scream of anguish that resounded across the desert.
Robert Langdon awoke with a start from his nightmare. The phone beside his bed was ringing. Dazed, he picked up the receiver.
“I’m looking for Robert Langdon,” a man’s voice said.
Langdon sat up in his empty bed and tried to clear his mind. “This. . . is Robert Langdon.” He squinted at his digital clock. It was 5:18 A. M.
“I must see you immediately.”
“Who is this?”
“My name is Maximilian Kohler. I’m a discrete particle physicist.”
“A what?” Langdon could barely focus.