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The Da Vinci Code | Chapters 15–24 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 15

Silas arrives at the Church of Saint-Sulpice. He longs to find the keystone. He knocks, and the door opens to him.

Chapter 16

The narrator explains that Sophie had not been in touch with her grandfather for 10 years after seeing him in what she believed was a compromising situation. That afternoon, however, she had received an urgent message from him on her answering machine. He wanted to tell her something important about her family. Now she feels torn about not returning his call. She questions Langdon about his relationship with her grandfather. Langdon expresses regret and sadness. Sophie says she believes he is innocent and that Fache is setting him up. They decide to find a way to escape the museum.

Chapter 17

Fache learns that the Cryptology Department never sent Sophie to the murder scene and is astounded to learn she is the curator's granddaughter. Suddenly a museum alarm goes off. Collet uses his computer to locate a broken window in the men's room, and Fache runs to capture his escaping suspect.

Chapter 18

The police believe Langdon has jumped out the bathroom window because his tracking device shows him on the window ledge. When Fache barges in, the restroom is empty. Collet says the tracking device is moving along a road. Fache sees a trailer truck on the road. He orders his men to set up a roadblock to stop the truck and arrest the fugitive. Fache doesn't know that Sophie pressed the tracking device into a bar of soap and then dropped it onto the truck's roof. While Fache searches the men's room, she and Langdon hide in the shadows of the dark gallery.

Chapter 19

Sister Sandrine Bieil invites Silas into the Church of Saint-Sulpice. She offers him the tour, but Silas convinces her to let him pray on his own. She tells him she'll go back to bed but instead hides in the balcony overlooking the main part of the Church. Sister Sandrine keeps an eye on Silas, whom she distrusts.

Chapter 20

Sophie and Langdon leave their hiding place. Sophie tells him her grandfather taught her about the Divine Proportion number (1.618) that is common in nature. Langdon remembers teaching it to one of his classes at Harvard. Then Langdon figures out that the exclamations in Saunière's message are anagrams that spell out "Leonardo da Vinci" and the "Mona Lisa."

Chapter 21

The narrator offers an extensive description of the art and the hidden symbols in da Vinci's painting the Mona Lisa. Sophie remembers seeing it with her grandfather. Despite Langdon's warnings, Sophie returns to the painting's gallery and examines the painting closely. Langdon refuses to follow her and heads downstairs but is suddenly struck with an insight about what Saunière's message means. He heads back up to Sophie in the gallery.

Chapter 22

Silas is praying when he looks around and sees the Rose Line. It is a strip of brass embedded in the Church floor. He remembers that the Grail was hidden along or under the Rose Line. Silas gets up and follows the metal strip across the floor. The narrator explains the significance of the Rose and the Rose Line. Silas follows the Rose Line to an obelisk in the Church. At the same time Bishop Aringarosa arrives in Rome.

Chapter 23

To get a black-light flashlight, Sophie hurries back to the gallery where her dead grandfather remains. When she returns to the Mona Lisa gallery, Langdon is there. Sophie remembers finding a gold key as a child, which angered her grandfather. He told her that the key opens a box where he kept "many secrets." Back in the gallery, Langdon understands what the gold key is. It is a symbol of the Priory of Sion. It is important in unlocking long-held secrets. He tells Sophie some history of the Priory. She is astonished at what she learns about their worship of the divine feminine.

Chapter 24

Silas has reached the obelisk. He is sure it contains the Grail. He taps the floor tiles until some ring hollow. Sister Sandrine observes him, thinking, "You are not the only one with secrets."

Analysis

Silas enters the Church of Saint-Sulpice believing the keystone will lead Opus Dei to the "final goal." The lines strongly hint at a conspiracy to find a truth only the keystone can reveal. The "final goal" also implies that an individual or group is seeking power. Silas thus becomes an instrument of a conspiracy to find a truth that will give someone or some organization immense power. This power is so great it is worth committing multiple murders. Silas later lies to Sister Sandrine to let him pray alone. This lie allows him to find the keystone without her around (or so he thinks).

Silas looks for and follows the Rose Line to find the keystone. The rose is a symbol that represents the divine feminine. Silas's actions reveal that the feminine divine—as represented by the rose—is the key. The Rose Line is vital to the conspiracy to gain power. The Teacher, who is directing Silas in the conspiracy, notes that "the legend is true ... [the keystone lies] beneath the sign of the Rose."

The narrator's description of Sophie's brilliance at solving extremely complex puzzles debunks the sexist beliefs of some characters. She also has a stronger disposition and is bolder than Langdon. She insists that Langdon flee the police to avoid capture, yet Langdon hesitates. When she throws the police off their trail by using a bar of soap, Langdon realizes that "Sophie Neveu was clearly a hell of a lot smarter than he was."

Further, Sophie is brave enough to return to a museum gallery to find more clues while Langdon hesitates, fearful. Sophie is also the child who found the gold key her grandfather told her "opens a box ... [that holds] many secrets." Now that her grandfather is dead, Sophie may be the only person who knows about the key and its significance. She had promised her grandfather never to divulge anything about the gold key, yet Langdon seems to know about it and its importance to the Priory. The Priory is revealed to be an organization dedicated to "reverence for the sacred feminine." Thus the gold key is another aspect of the theme of the divine feminine.

The police conspiracy to pin the murder on Langdon is made clear when Langdon insists he didn't murder Saunière and had no motive for murder. Sophie muses that "Fache is lying ... [and] was determined to put Robert Langdon behind bars." Sophie and Langdon lie—or deceive—Fache when they throw the tracking device out the window in a bar of soap and it travels away on the roof of a truck. This lie is in the service of finding spiritual truth. When Fache sees the device on the move, he is convinced Langdon's escape shows that he is "guilty as charged."

Anagrams are a type of word puzzle that often appear to be a kind of obscure language. Obscure language is another motif in the book, and puzzles are definitely an important motif in the novel. Langdon suddenly realizes the seemingly meaningless exclamations are anagrams, and he figures out Saunière's puzzle reads, "Leonardo da Vinci" and the "Mona Lisa." Langdon then makes the connection between the fleur-de-lis (flower of Lisa) on the gold key Sophie has described and the painting of the Mona Lisa. The themes of puzzles, language, and art as holding hidden truth come together with these events.

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