Sometimes I have to keep reminding myself I am reading a novel not a factual historical narrative. Certainly Angels & Demons falls into the category of a novel. Dan Brown swears his writings are based on historical fact, but it doesn’t take much research to discover this statement is definitely up for debate.
The longest article I found online, Lies, Damned Lies and Dan Brown: Fact-checking Angels & Demons meticulously debunked each part of the book. I felt the article held credence until the very last paragraph when the author of the article felt the need to personally attack Dan Brown. I also noticed the article appeared in a Catholic publication.
So, hopefully all of that makes the book appealing, if nothing else to see why there is so much controversy.
In Brown’s own words, Angels & Demons is an Illuminati thriller. The Illuminati was an extremely secretive group of famous historical scientists and artists who felt the Vatican put to death many of their members because the Church felt their scientific discovers were against church doctrine. In the novel, a modern day Illuminati have come back to play havoc on the Church and Cardinals from all over the world who were meeting to choose a new Pope. Robert Langdon is an Harvard symbologist who has studied the ambigrams at the center of the Illuminati. It is up to him to save the sacred center of the church.
I have not seen the movie, but I liked the book. Wikipedia has pictures of some of the statues mentioned in the book. However, it could give away a little too much so be careful.