The Da Vinci Code
|Genre(s)||Thriller, Crime, Mystery fiction|
|Publisher||Doubleday (USA) & Bantam Books|
|Released||18 March 2003 (USA) & 1 July 2003 (UK)|
|Media Type||Print (Hardcover|
|Pages||454 p. (US hardback edition) & 359 p. (UK hardback edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-385-50420-9 (US hardback edition), ISBN 0-593-05244-7 (UK hardback edition) & ISBN 1-4000-7917-9 (US paperback edition)|
|Preceded by||Angels and Demons|
|Followed by||The Solomon Key|
The Da Vinci Code is a fictionalized account of the search for the Holy Grail. Although the events outlined in the novel are the product of the author’s imagination, many of the claims and clues included in the novel have long been advanced by art historians, symbologists, and conspiracy theorists.
Harvard professor Robert Langdon is in Paris presenting a lecture. He is awakened in the middle of the night by a call from Paris police, who inform him that Jacques Saunière, the famous curator of the Louvre, has been found murdered. Langdon is asked to assist the investigation, beginning with the cryptic messages and bizarre placement of the body, much of which the victim appears to have arranged himself in the moments before his death.
Saunière’s granddaughter, police cryptographer Sophie Neveu, arrives on the scene and clandestinely lures Langdon into a secret meeting, in which she reveals that he is the prime suspect and that her grandfather identified him by name in another cryptic message. Sophie and Langdon pretend to have escaped the museum by throwing a GPS tracking device planted on Langdon out a window. They continue their search, eventually finding a golden key that they use to open a safety deposit box at a Swiss bank. The box yields a strange device called a cryptex, which is used to store secret documents.
The bank is soon surrounded by police, and the bank president agrees to help the two escape in an armored car in order to minimize media coverage of the institution’s involvement. The pair eventually leave the bank president on the roadside and travel to the country estate of a renowned British Grail historian, Sir Leigh Teabing, who offers them more information about the history of the Grail. He claims that the Grail is not an object, but rather, a long-suppressed secret: Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and had at least one child with her. Jacques Saunière is revealed as the leader of the secretive group charged with the responsibility of protecting this knowledge, the Priory of Sion.
The albino lay monk responsible for Saunière’s death has followed them to the estate, and he attacks them, only to be ambushed by the disabled Teabing. The group escapes from the police who have descended on the estate, eventually making their way to London on Teabing’s private jet. They follow a sequential series of clues found in the cryptex, all of which lead to more clues. They are again attacked by the lay monk, who works in tandem with Teabing’s manservant to kidnap Teabing, along with the cryptex.
Sophie and Langdon research the remaining clues, eventually arriving at Westminster Abbey to seek the answer to one of the final puzzles stored in the cryptex. It is revealed that the mastermind behind the plot to kill Saunière was actually Teabing, who faked his own kidnapping in order to complete the subterfuge. After a tense stand-off, the police arrive and Teabing is arrested.
The remaining clues lead Sophie and Langdon to an ancient church in Scotland, where they find the grandmother and brother that she had long believed to be dead. Sophie is, in fact, the heir to Christ’s royal bloodline, and her family was divided and denied knowledge of one another in order to protect and conceal their true identities.
At the conclusion of the novel, Langdon finally recognizes that the Grail is buried beneath the glass pyramids at the entrance of the Louvre. He allows the secret to remain hidden.
- 1 The Da Vinci Code Characters
- 2 The Da Vinci Code Chapter Summaries
- 2.1 Prologue
- 2.2 Chapter 1
- 2.3 Chapter 2
- 2.4 Chapter 3
- 2.5 Chapter 4
- 2.6 Chapter 5
- 2.7 Chapter 6
- 2.8 Chapter 7
- 2.9 Chapter 8
- 2.10 Chapter 9
- 2.11 Chapter 10
- 2.12 Chapter 11
- 2.13 Chapter 12
- 2.14 Chapter 13
- 2.15 Chapter 14
- 2.16 Chapter 15
- 2.17 Chapter 16
- 2.18 Chapter 17
- 2.19 Chapter 18
- 2.20 Chapter 19
- 2.21 Chapter 20
- 2.22 Chapter 21
- 2.23 Chapter 22
- 2.24 Chapter 23
- 2.25 Chapter 24
- 2.26 Chapter 25
- 2.27 Chapter 26
- 2.28 Chapter 27
- 2.29 Chapter 28
- 2.30 Chapter 29
- 2.31 Chapter 30
- 2.32 Chapter 31
- 2.33 Chapter 32
- 2.34 Chapter 33
- 2.35 Chapter 34
- 2.36 Chapter 35
- 2.37 Chapter 36
- 2.38 Chapter 37
- 2.39 Chapter 38
- 2.40 Chapter 39
- 2.41 Chapter 40
- 2.42 Chapter 41
- 2.43 Chapter 42
- 2.44 Chapter 43
- 2.45 Chapter 44
- 2.46 Chapter 45
- 2.47 Chapter 46
- 2.48 Chapter 47
- 2.49 Chapter 48
- 2.50 Chapter 49
- 2.51 Chapter 50
- 2.52 Chapter 51
- 2.53 Chapter 52
- 2.54 Chapter 53
- 2.55 Chapter 54
- 2.56 Chapter 55
- 2.57 Chapter 56
- 2.58 Chapter 57
- 2.59 Chapter 58
- 2.60 Chapter 59
- 2.61 Chapter 60
- 2.62 Chapter 61
- 2.63 Chapter 62
- 2.64 Chapter 63
- 2.65 Chapter 64
- 2.66 Chapter 65
- 2.67 Chapter 66
- 2.68 Chapter 67
- 2.69 Chapter 68
- 2.70 Chapter 69
- 2.71 Chapter 70
- 2.72 Chapter 71
- 2.73 Chapter 72
- 2.74 Chapter 73
- 2.75 Chapter 74
- 2.76 Chapter 75
- 2.77 Chapter 76
- 2.78 Chapter 77
- 2.79 Chapter 78
- 2.80 Chapter 79
- 2.81 Chapter 80
- 2.82 Chapter 81
- 2.83 Chapter 82
- 2.84 Chapter 83
- 2.85 Chapter 84
- 2.86 Chapter 85
- 2.87 Chapter 86
- 2.88 Chapter 87
- 2.89 Chapter 88
- 2.90 Chapter 89
- 2.91 Chapter 90
- 2.92 Chapter 91
- 2.93 Chapter 92
- 2.94 Chapter 93
- 2.95 Chapter 94
- 2.96 Chapter 95
- 2.97 Chapter 96
- 2.98 Chapter 97
- 2.99 Chapter 98
- 2.100 Chapter 99
- 2.101 Chapter 100
- 2.102 Chapter 101
- 2.103 Chapter 102
- 2.104 Chapter 103
- 2.105 Chapter 104
- 2.106 Chapter 105
- 2.107 Epilogue
- 3 Extreme Summary
The Da Vinci Code Characters
- Robert Langdon -- Harvard professor of Religious Symbology, art historian
- Sophie Neveu -- Paris police cryptologist, granddaughter of Jacques Saunière
- Jacques Saunière -- world renowned curator of the Louvre museum in Paris, later determined to be the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, a secretive group involved in the protection of the Holy Grail
- Silas -- an albino devotee of Catholic conservative sect Opus Dei
- Bishop Manuel Aringarosa -- leader of Opus Dei
- Sir Leigh Teabing/The Teacher -- Teabing is a wealthy historian who invested much of his life in a search for the Grail. He assumes a secret identity as “the Teacher” in order to have Opus Dei identify and kill the leaders of the Priory of Sion.
- Rèmy -- Teabing’s manservant and accomplice
- Vernet -- President of the Swiss bank where the Priory of Sion’s coded key device has long been held for safekeeping.
- Captain Fache -- top-ranking Paris police official
- Detective Collet -- Paris police detective under Captain Fache
The Da Vinci Code Chapter Summaries
Famous Louvre curator Jacques Saunière is ambushed in the darkened halls of the museum by an armed albino man who demands to know the location of an unidentified object. In the minutes before he dies, Saunière sets into motion the central mystery of the book in the form of a coded message.
Visiting Harvard art history expert Robert Langdon is awakened in his Paris hotel room by a midnight phone call, and summoned to help decipher the code at the scene of Saunière’s murder. Langdon had originally been scheduled to have a meeting with the curator that night, but Saunière never arrived.
The murderer, an albino lay monk named Silas, is revealed as a member of the radically fundamentalist Catholic sect, Opus Dei. He was ordered to assassinate Saunière as part of a secret plot to locate a mysterious keystone.
Langdon surveys the Paris landscape as he is driven to the crime scene by a local detective, mourning the loss of the legendary curator Saunière.
At the Louvre, Langdon is introduced to the lead investigator, the irascible Captain Bezu Fache. He begins to question Langdon, and the professor senses that the interaction is fraught with tension and unspoken undercurrents of hostility on the detective’s part.
At the Opus Dei headquarters in New York City, Bishop Manuel Aringarosa thinks about past encounters with aggressive reporters questioning the legitimacy of the sect. He mentally defends many of the group’s more controversial practices, including self-mortification.
Langdon surveys the bizarre crime scene in the Louvre’s grand gallery. Clues include the placement of the body and a pentacle drawn by the victim in his own blood. The investigators also reveal a secret message written in black-light marker.
A nun at the Church of Saint-Sulpice is awakened by an unusual request to allow a late night visitor tour the church.
Langdon studies the cryptic messages left by Saunière at the crime scene. It is also revealed that Langdon is under audio and GPS surveillance, and that he may be a suspect in the murder.
Police cryptographer Sophie Neveu arrives on the scene, agitated and acting strangely. She communicates to Langdon that he may be in danger by using a cell phone message as a pretext.
The lay monk Silas pays a pre-dawn visit to the Church of Saint-Sulpice. His troubled childhood as an abused and abandoned street urchin is revealed in a series of flashbacks. A large sum of money is transferred to Opus Dei as payment for a service, the nature of which is not yet revealed.
Sophie attempts to decipher a numeric sequence that was part of Saunière’s cryptic dying message. She postulates that it is a garbled version of the Fibonacci sequence, a famous mathematical value. Following Sophie’s clandestine instructions, Langdon visits the museum’s public restroom, unaware that his movements are being tracked by a GPS device the investigators have planted on him.
Sophie meets with Langdon in the men’s restroom. She informs him that he is under surveillance, and that he is the prime suspect in Saunière’s murder. She also shows Langdon that he was cited by name in Saunière’s cryptic message, a fact that had been kept from him by the other investigators.
Sophie tells Langdon that the numeric sequence found near Saunière’s body is likely meaningless, that it was just a ploy to ensure her own involvement in the investigation, because she is Saunière’s estranged granddaughter. She also tells Langdon she is helping him because she believes he is innocent.
The police continue to watch Langdon’s movements. They receive word that Sophie’s presence at the crime scene is unofficial.
The lay monk Silas mentally prepares himself to carry out his orders in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in the search for the keystone.
Sophie thinks back upon the circumstances of parents’ deaths in an automobile accident, as well as her later estrangement from her grandfather, Saunière, after she inadvertently witnessed him engaged in a mysterious, unsettling act. Convinced of Langdon’s innocence, she decides to help him escape from the Louvre.
The French investigators realize that Saunière is Sophie Neveu’s grandfather as attempts to reach her by cell phone are unsuccessful. The GPS tracking device indicates that Langdon had jumped from the second floor of the museum, possibly to his death.
The GPS tracker indicates that Langdon survived the jump and has entered a car, prompting the police to begin pursuit. In truth, Sophie has thrown the tracking device on to a truck driving on the street below the museum. Langdon and Sophie plan a route out of the museum as most of the police leave the facility.
Silas tours the storied Saint-Sulpice church with the nun who lives on site. He requests solitude to pray, but the nun experiences a sense of dread and decides to watch him from the shadows.
Moving through the darkened museum, Langdon and Sophie continue to consider the mysterious code left by the dying Saunière. The symbolic significance of pentacles and the Fibonacci sequence are related to the concept of the sacred feminine and goddess worship, both of which figure heavily in the entire book. At the end of the chapter, Langdon decodes part of Saunière’s message as “Leonardo Da Vinci” and “The Mona Lisa.”
Sophie recalls her grandfather’s lifelong fascination with Da Vinci, as well as his longstanding interest in anagrams and wordplay. She convinces Langdon to escape to the U.S. embassy, but as he is leaving the building, he decodes another part of Saunière’s message and returns to find Sophie.
Silas surveys the sanctuary of the Saint-Sulpice church, thinking of the strange history of the church and its former role as the site of the prime meridian. As Silas begins to search the church for the keystone, Bishop Aringarosa touches down in Rome to attend a meeting.
Sophie and Langdon are reunited in front of the Mona Lisa. In response to his query as to the personal significance of the letters P.S., Sophie recalls a strange key-like object emblazoned with the letters that she found in Saunière’s things when she was a child. Langdon contends that this may signal Saunière’s membership in a centuries-old, secretive group known as the Priory of Sion, which is involved in goddess worship and other esoteric affairs.
Silas digs in search of the keystone under an obelisk in the Saint-Sulpice sanctuary. His behavior prompts the nun to initiate a long-established procedure notifying a secret network of his actions.
Sophie’s ruse of a cell phone message for Langdon earlier in the evening is revealed to the detectives as a falsehood, as has the thrown GPS device. Detective Fache realizes Sophie used the ploy to deliver her own message to Langdon.
Langdon recalls the goddess worship undertones of the Mona Lisa painting. He and Sophie find a message written in black-light pen at the site of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.
The police realize Sophie’s deception and recognize that she and Langdon are likely still in the museum, prompting a return of the detectives to the facility in pursuit of the fugitives.
Sophie and Langdon consider the implications of Saunière’s subsequent message, “so dark the con of man.” Langdon contends that this proves Saunière’s membership in the Priory of Sion, because that group has long protested the Catholic Church’s denigration of the sacred feminine. They are found by museum security, and Langdon is forced to lie down on the floor in a position of surrender.
Silas digs further within the church’s sanctuary, but realizes he has been thwarted by a false lead. The nun, recognizing by his self-inflicted wounds that Silas is likely a member of Opus Dei, begins to call four Paris phone numbers to report this turn of events.
Sophie attempts to intervene in Langdon’s arrest, while also scanning another Da Vinci work for clues. She finds a metal key engraved with “PS” at the base of the painting. She rips the priceless art work from the wall, using it as body armor to aid her and Langdon in their escape. Sophie reveals that “so dark the con of man” was actually an anagram for Madonna of the Rocks, the painting where she found the hidden key.
The nun realizes that all of the four Paris contacts have been killed, indicating that the upper echelons of the secret organization have been breached by an outsider. Silas hears her making the phone calls and beats her to death.
Sophie and Langdon escape from the Louvre in her car, discussing the implications of Saunière’s clues. Sophie reveals the key that she found to Langdon. She also recalls the secret ritual that she witnessed during a surprise visit to her grandfather’s home a decade ago, which prompted her estrangement from Saunière. The pair finds the area surrounding the U.S. embassy to be blocked by Paris police.
Barred from the embassy, Sophie and Langdon mull their escape options and head for a train station. They also try to determine what type of key they have found, speculating about what it might open.
Bishop Aringarosa arrives in Vatican City and is transported to a meeting, mentally preparing his defense for the continued existence of Opus Dei. He thinks back to a prior meeting held at the Church’s astronomy center, during which he was given six months to carry out an unnamed task.
Sophie and Langdon buy train tickets to confuse the police, and then take a taxi out of Paris. They find an address written in black-light pen on the back of the key and direct the driver to take them there.
The detectives learn of the fugitives’ decoy tactics and initiate more thorough search procedures. Arrest bulletins are issued for both Sophie and Langdon.
As Sophie and Langdon travel through a part of the city overrun with prostitutes and other forms of public debauchery, Langdon provides her with a detailed account of the Priory of Sion’s formation and activities throughout history. He notes that the protection of a cache of secret documents is the mission of the group, and that these documents constitute the “Holy Grail” of lore.
Langdon relates more details of the Holy Grail and its relationship to the sacred feminine, a topic which happens to be the subject matter of the book he is in the process of completing. The pair is forced to hijack the taxi at gunpoint after the driver recognizes them and attempts to report their location by radio.
Ensconced in a room at the Paris Opus Dei boardinghouse, Silas regrets his impulsive murder of the nun and worries that his actions will endanger Bishop Aringarosa. He engages in more of the self-mortification that is a central pillar of the controversial Opus Dei rites.
Langdon reflects on Da Vinci’s past involvement with the Priory of Sion. He and Sophie discover that the address written on the key is a Swiss-style bank, which allows customers to access their safety deposit boxes in complete anonymity.
At his meeting with Church leaders, Bishop Aringarosa is given a large sum of currency in Vatican-issued bonds. The implication is that Opus Dei is to carry out an important task in return for the payment, although the exact nature of the task is not yet revealed to the reader.
Langdon and Sophie use the golden key to open several gates and doors, finally entering the Swiss bank. They are immediately recognized as the two fugitives the guards have seen described on Paris television. The two are led to a private room and instructed on how to access their deposit box, but are prompted for an account number that they cannot provide. Bank employees clandestinely alert the police to Langdon and Sophie’s presence.
The bank president arrives on the scene, seeking to remove the fugitives from the premises before the police arrive in order to keep the bank out of the media spotlight. He recognizes Sophie and is shocked when he is told that her grandfather has been murdered, but tells them he has no access to account number information. Langdon suggests using the numeric code that was part of Saunière’s message.
Before entering the number into the bank computer, Sophie realizes it is too simple. After discussing possible alternatives, they decide to try the Fibonacci sequence, instead, which uses the digits of the original number in a slightly rearranged order. This proves to be correct, and the automated safety box retrieval system is activated. However, the box that is brought to them does not contain the Holy Grail chalice they had expected to find.
The police have barricaded the roads outside the bank, and Vernet, the bank president, seeks a way to smuggle the two fugitives out of the facility undetected. They escape in the back of an armored truck, which is driven by the bank president himself disguised as a truck driver.
Silas thinks back on the chain of events that led to his current predicament. Opus Dei was prompted by a mysterious figure called the Teacher to seek the keystone that would lead to the Holy Grail. Although Silas believes he has failed the Bishop, he is told that the secret location of the keystone may have been passed on before Saunière died.
Inside the cargo hold of the armored truck, Sophie and Langdon survey the object they took from the safety deposit box, which appears similar to a wooden jewelry box. They determine that it is actually a locked device called a cryptex, originally devised by Da Vinci. A cryptex is a device used to carry secret messages. It destroys the sensitive documents encased in it if tampered with or broken. Langdon thinks it may be the keystone that will lead to the Holy Grail.
Sophie and Langdon discuss his conclusion, also addressing the way that the keystone fits into the organizational structure of the Priory of Sion. Sophie remarks that her grandfather may have been the leader of the group, based on the troubling scene she witness years ago. As they contemplate the mystery, they are confronted at gunpoint by Vernet, the bank president who was driving the vehicle.
Vernet demands the box from Sophie and Langdon, claiming that he is attempting to protect Saunière’s assets. He claims that the fugitives have been accused of three other murders, in addition to Saunière’s. After a scuffle, Langdon and Sophie escape with the box and the armored car, leaving Vernet on the side of the road.
Aringarosa leaves the meeting, contemplating the implications of the massive payoff he has received from the Church. He begins to feel anxious that the mysterious figure known as the Teacher has not contacted him.
Sophie and Langdon make their getaway in the badly damaged armored truck. Sophie attempts to open the cryptex, with no luck. Langdon convinces Sophie that they should travel to the estate of a British historian who is very knowledgeable about the legend of the Holy Grail, and after some persuasion, she finally agrees.
Sophie and Langdon travel to Versailles and arrive at the sprawling estate of British historian Sir Leigh Teabing.
Stranded bank president Vernet contacts his facility and asks them to track the missing armored truck using the GPS system installed on the undercarriage of all of the bank’s vehicles.
Sophie and Langdon are brought into the parlor of Teabing’s estate by his butler. Langdon prompts Teabing to tell Sophie the full story of the Holy Grail.
Teabing, a renowned Grail historian, begins to regale Langdon and Sophie with a history of the development and spread of Christianity. He contends that little of the organized institution of religion reflects the beliefs and values of Christ. Teabing further asserts that the Grail is not an object, but rather, a person.
Teabing goes on to explain that in ancient astronomical symbology, the symbol for female was called a chalice. Ancient Christianity revered the sacred feminine, particularly the embodiment of this spirit in a particular historical woman. The identity of this person and the documentation of her role in Church history, Teabing explains, is the Holy Grail.
The police are prevented from searching the bank facility until they produce a search warrant. They are finally given the coordinates to the current location of the armored truck, and the gathered force rushes off to pursue this lead. Meanwhile, Silas arrives at Teabing’s estate with a loaded gun and stealthily surveys the scene.
Teabing leads Sophie and Langdon to a large-scale print of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper as part of his explanation. Although it is commonly believed that the painting depicts Christ and his 12 male disciples, Teabing makes a convincing case that a central figure in the painting is actually a woman. He also points out numerous other clues that support his shocking central argument: Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married and had a child.
Bishop Aringarosa calls the New York Opus Dei headquarters to check his messages. The number he is given connects him to the police headquarters in Paris where the investigation of Saunière’s death is ongoing. A detective asks the Bishop to answer some questions.
Teabing and Langdon further explain some of the symbols associated with Mary Magdalene, including the rose that features so prominently in discussion of the Holy Grail. Teabing tells Sophie that the Holy Grail is the physical body of Mary Magdalene, along with a vast array of documents that provide her personal account of her life with Christ. He also explains that part of the responsibility of the Priory of Sion is protecting the royal bloodline of Christ, known as the Merovingians. Sophie suspects that she may be a member of this line.
Langdon tells Sophie that she is probably not of the Merovingian blood line, because her surname does not match those known to be affiliated with Christ’s progeny. Langdon recounts some of the many cultural artifacts that refer to Mary Magdalene’s true identity, ranging from art to classical music to cinema. Their discussion is interrupted when Teabing returns from a discussion with his butler, angered and accusatory, demanding an explanation from the two fugitives about the true nature of their visit.
Sophie and Langdon tell Teabing about the series of events that led them to his estate. Teabing is shocked to hear of the deaths of Saunière and the three other leaders of the Priory. He tells the pair that the Church may be trying to locate and destroy the Grail documents before the Priory makes public the secret history of Christ. Silas enters the estate, seeking the keystone.
The police arrive at Teabing’s estate and find the discarded armored truck. They also find the black Audi Silas arrived in, but are unsure as to its ownership. Following a conversation with the Paris detectives, Bishop Aringarosa is anxious about the ominous turn of events in France. He reveals an inside connection with lead detective Captain Fache, but is uncertain whether this relationship will be sufficient to protect both Opus Dei and himself from suspicion in the case.
Teabing gingerly opens the box holding the cryptex, savoring the fruition of years of Grail research. Meanwhile, Langdon examines the box, studying its construction carefully. He removes a carved rose and finds four lines of text in an unfamiliar language. Then, Silas suddenly appears, striking Langdon with enough force to render him unconscious.
After Silas’ ambush, he tries to compel Sophie and Teabing to hand over the keystone. Teabing, who is disabled and uses crutches to walk, cleverly disarms Silas by hitting him with a crutch. The police in the driveway hear the weapon being discharged, and decide to enter the estate. Langdon, Sophie, and Teabing decide to leave the estate, along with the butler and a restrained Silas.
Using the house’s intercom system, the escaping party tricks the police into thinking they are upstairs, when they are actually in the garage selecting a suitable vehicle in which to escape the estate.
Rolling across the darkened fields of Teabing’s estate in a custom-equipped Range Rover, Teabing calls ahead to have his private jet prepared for immediate take-off. He then unsuccessfully attempts to interrogate Silas as to his motives. Langdon calls his New York publisher to ask an important question.
After speaking to his publisher, Langdon determines that Saunière found out about his expertise on the subject of the Holy Grail when a manuscript copy of his book was sent to the curator for a pre-publication review. The group arrives at the air field and, with some persuasion, convince the pilot to fly all of them to England.
On the plane, the group once again turns to the puzzle of the cryptex. Teabing tells Sophie that her possession of the keystone confers upon her a grave responsibility. He urges her to make the Grail documents known to the world as soon as they are discovered.
The police are told that bank president Vernet is willing to admit to abetting the fugitives in exchange for no media coverage and a return of the property that Langdon and Sophie took from the safety deposit box. They also discover that Teabing’s private jet has taken off en route to England.
Langdon and the others attempt to decipher, or even to recognize, the strange text beneath the inlaid rose on the cryptex box. Finally, Sophie recognizes it as English written in reverse, similar to a technique Da Vinci used to render his private journals illegible to outsiders.
The reversed text is revealed to be a kind of riddle in verse. Teabing, Langdon, and Sophie attempt to decipher it.
The French police interrogate the employees of the private airfield from which Teabing’s jet took off. They determine that it is extremely likely that the aircraft will be landing in Kent within 15 minutes. The police attempt to contact local law enforcement in the Kent area.
Langdon presses Sophie to tell him more about the incident that estranged her from her grandfather years ago. He guesses, correctly, that she witnessed him participating in a sex rite. He identifies the ceremony as Heiros Gamos, an ancient ritual held in the spring as a celebration of the eternal recurrence of the sacred feminine. Langdon points out that the ancient view of sex was very different from our own, and that this ritual had more to do with religious mysticism than eroticism.
After receiving a clandestine update from Captain Fache when he is mid-flight, a shaken Bishop Aringarosa implores the pilot of his plane to change directions. He is forced to give up his cherished golden ring to get the pilot to agree. He returns to his seat, dejected and worried about the unforeseen course of events that has unfolded.
Once again tackling the cryptic poem, the group determines that the “headstone praised by Templars” is probably a stone head called “Baphomet.” They then use a decoding method called the Atbash cipher, also named in the poem, to try to translate “Baphomet” into a five-letter word that will fit in the space provided on the cryptex.
The group applies the Atbash cipher, which is based on the Hebrew alphabet, to the word “Baphomet.” They discover that the code word is “Sofia,” the Greek rendering of Sophie’s name, meaning “wisdom.” This matches the poem’s call for an “ancient word of wisdom,” while also reinforcing the fact that Saunière did, in fact, intend for the keystone to go to his granddaughter.
When the group opens the cryptex, they find, instead of a map to the Holy Grail, a second, smaller cryptex, wrapped in a paper scroll upon which is written another code in verse. It mentions London, indicating that they are headed in the correct direction. Meanwhile, Kent police begin to arrive at the local airfield where Teabing’s jet is headed.
At Teabing’s estate, detectives peruse his vast library of Grail research materials, bagging some of his documents as evidence. Bank president Vernet calls Detective Collet, who recognizes his voice as being the same of the driver whose armor truck was later discovered to have helped the fugitives escape.
Teabing indicates his plan is to bribe the airport officials to allow Sophie and Langdon’s undocumented entry into England. An unusual delay at the Kent airport makes the group suspicious that they are going to be met by law enforcement officers, and Teabing begins to devise a plan.
After landing at the Kent airport, Teabing feigns bemusement and outrage when faced with the police and officials waiting there for him. He allows a friendly airport employee to check the plan for fugitives. When no sign of Langdon or Sophie is found, Teabing is allowed to leave. The others have managed to hide in Teabing’s limousine. The group safely escapes the airport and heads toward London.
Arriving in town, the group continues to attempt to decipher the coded poem, particularly a reference to a “knight interred by a pope.” Teabing suggests a Templar church in the city as a possible site. They discuss the potential ramifications of the release of the Grail documents for Christianity and for the world.
At the Temple Church, which is a circular medieval edifice, Teabing uses deception to convince the staff to allow them to tour the crypt before official visiting hours have begun. Viewing the eerie burial chamber, Langdon is convinced they have found the site that will yield more clues to the location of the Grail.
Waiting in the car outside the church, Teabing’s manservant Rémy wields a knife at the bound Silas, who remains captive with the group. However, he does not stab the lay monk, but instead, releases him from his bonds and offers him a shot of vodka. Teabing’s manservant reveals himself to be a friend of Opus Dei. At the Kent airport, Captain Fache speaks with Bishop Aringarosa and urges him to direct the pilot of his plane to the same airport. Aringarosa expresses concern that Fache has not yet rescued Silas.
Sophie and Langdon closely scrutinize the tombs in the Temple Church. Something appears to be amiss, and they are informed by an altar boy that the tombs are effigies, rather than actual burial sites. As he leaves the building, the altar boy is ambushed and threatened by Rèmy, who is wielding a gun.
Silas and Rèmy confront Sophie, Teabing, and Langdon, demanding the keystone. They threaten Teabing with death, and Langdon surrenders the cryptex. Silas and Rèmy take Teabing with them as a hostage when they leave the church.
The detectives searching Teabing’s villa run a background check on Rèmy, finding that he has a history of petty crime, as well as a peanut allergy. They also discover a state-of-the-art surveillance center on the second story of a barn on the property.
Langdon travels to a historical library to research knights’ tombs in London. Sophie decides to report Teabing’s kidnapping to the authorities. Her call is immediately patched through to Captain Fache, who tells her that he knows they are innocent and that she and Langdon must turn themselves in.
Vernet contacts Fache and asks that the stolen property be returned to the bank. Fache assures him that the bank will not be mentioned in press reports, and that the stolen property is secure.
It is discovered that the surveillance center in Teabing’s barn contains audio files of conversations in Saunière’s office, as well as the offices of several other curators and historians around Paris. The surveillance device was hidden in a knight figure on Saunière’s desk.
Rèmy ties and gags Teabing in the back of the limousine. Soon afterwards, Silas receives a phone call from the Teacher. He tells Silas that Rèmy will deliver the keystone to him. Then, talking to Rèmy, the Teacher orders that Silas be dropped off at the London Opus Dei Residence.
Langdon and Sophie enlist the help of a research librarian to search the massive electronic databases at King’s College, seeking reference to the tomb of a knight interred by a pope.
Silas arrives at the London Opus Dei Center. Soon after his arrival, the police contact the front desk personnel and confirm his presence at the center.
Rèmy meets the Teacher at St. James’s Park in the middle of London. After handing the Teacher the cryptex, the two celebrate with a shared sip of cognac from the Teacher’s flask. Rèmy soon enters anaphylactic shock, as the peanut particles mixed in the cognac causes his throat to swell shut. As Rèmy dies, the Teacher relishes the fact that he, alone, knows the answer to the coded challenge set forth in the poem’s reference to a knight’s tomb. Aringarosa, arriving in Kent, directs the driver of the car Fache arranged for him to take him to London’s Opus Dei center.
At the library, Langdon realizes that the knight in question is Sir Isaac Newton, who was buried in London not by a Catholic Pope, but by the famous English poet Alexander Pope. The two rush to the site of his tomb in Westminster Abbey.
Silas is attacked in his room at the Opus Dei Center by police. In the confusion of the scuffle, Bishop Aringarosa, who had just arrived to try to find Silas, is shot.
Sophie and Langdon arrive at Westminster Abbey and begin searching for Newton’s tomb. The Teacher, who is there lying in wait, sees them and plans an ambush in order to eliminate all witnesses who know about the cryptex. He tries to develop a plan to lure the two to a less public part of the grounds.
Arriving finally at the tomb, the two find a message indicating that Teabing’s kidnappers are on site, and that they should walk to the public garden to negotiate with the captors for his release. In a deserted area closed for renovations, Sophie and Langdon meet Leigh Teabing himself.
Faced with Langdon and Sophie’s shock and betrayal, Teabing attempts to justify his actions. He claims that Saunière shirked his duty to the Grail by failing to release the documents to the world. Teabing also tells Sophie that the deaths of her family when she was a child were murders committed by the Church to pressure Saunière into remaining quiet. Teabing refuses Langdon’s request to release Sophie, but gives Langdon the cryptex. Sophie vows never to help Teabing.
After being shot, Bishop Aringarosa tells Silas they were both betrayed by the Teacher. He reveals that at his first meeting at the Vatican five months ago, he received word that Opus Dei would have its preferential title revoked, and would no longer be regarded as a prelature of the Vatican, within six months’ time. On his deathbed, Aringarosa urges Silas to forgive, rather than seek revenge against his killers.
Langdon takes a moment to think carefully about his course of action. He decides to try to break the code to help Sophie’s chances of escape. Sophie resists, holding fast to her vow to refuse help to Teabing. At an impasse, Langdon launches the cryptex into the air, and its landing initiates the self-destruct process built into the device. However, it is soon revealed that Langdon had already removed the innermost scroll, having figured out that the code word was “apple.” The police arrive, and Teabing is detained.
Silas prays and asks for forgiveness in Kensington Gardens.
The police continue to unravel the complex details of Teabing’s surveillance operation. Bishop Aringarosa makes a miraculous recovery from his gunshot wound. He asks Captain Fache to distribute the Vatican bonds among the victims of Silas’ murderous rampage in Paris. Fache returns the ring with which Aringarosa bribed the pilot.
The final clues in the search for the Grail lead Sophie and Langdon to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. Sophie remembers visiting the church as a very young girl. There, the two find Sophie’s brother and grandmother, whom she had believed to be dead, living in a house on the church property.
It is learned that Sophie’s family had to be separated in order to protect their true identity as descendents of Christ. Sophie’s grandmother reveals that the Grail documents are not, in fact, hidden underneath the church at Rosslyn. Langdon and Sophie agree to meet in Florence later in the year to get to know each other better.
After returning to Paris, Langdon has a revelation about the location of the Grail documents. Remembering that Paris, too, was once the location of the prime meridian, or “rose line,” he considers a new interpretation of the last clue from the cryptex. Although it is not fullly confirmed, Langdon strongly suspects that the Grail is hidden beneath the two glass pyramids at the entrance of the Louvre.
Symbologist discovers ancient secret that threatens to destroy the Christian faith.