Angels and Demons Essay - Critical Essays

Dan Brown

Critical Overview

Many of the articles analyzing Angels and Demons discuss it in one of two related lights: as a mass-market phenomenon, or as a sequel to/continuation of The Da Vinci Code. Such articles tend to limit themselves to reporting the number of copies sold or to commenting on the upcoming film version (2009) again starring Tom Hanks. A few manage to discuss the influence of Angels and Demons without really commenting on the novel’s quality, instead focusing only on the content.

The more substantial discussions focus on the thorny issue present in all of Dan Brown’s novels: his claims to a factual basis for his works. In Secrets of Angels & Demons: The Unauthorized Guide to the Bestselling Novel, Dan Burstein, as summarized by Carol Memmott, pointed out how Brown had bent the facts in Angels and Demons to better serve his plot. (Brown’s indication that the camerlengo cannot be made pope is not accurate, nor is his description late in the novel of election through adoration.) In an article for New Scientist, James Gillies discusses Brown’s scientific inaccuracies, which extend to his descriptions of CERN (and the science involved in antimatter). Writing for Money magazine, David Futrelle uses Brown’s novel as an entry into discussing the symbolism on American money, implicitly granting Brown some legitimacy as a researcher. In his review of the novel for Currents in Theology and Mission, Bruce P. Rittenhouse slides from discussing primarily the factual or nonfactual basis of the novel to critiquing Brown’s understanding of Christianity and apparent failure to distinguish Catholicism from Christianity in general.