Vernet puts Sophie and Langdon in the back of an armored truck, changes into a driver’s uniform, and hides a gun under his clothes. As he drives them away from the bank, Officer Collet stops him and interrogates him. Vernet pretends to be a blue-collar driver and says he does not have the keys to the trunk. Collet sees Vernet’s Rolex and grows suspicious, but ultimately he lets Vernet go.
Silas is extremely upset that he has let down Bishop Aringarosa. He finally brings himself to call the Teacher, who tells him that Saunière left a message and that he should stand by for further instructions.
Inside the box, Sophie and Langdon find a ball with letters written on each of its five panels. Sophie recognizes this as a cryptex, an invention of Leonardo Da Vinci’s that provided a secure way to transport messages over long distances. A password is needed to get to the message inside the ball. Sophie and Langdon discuss the meaning of the rose that is on top of the box.
Langdon realizes that they must be holding the Priory keystone. He says that only the leader of the Priory would have access to the keystone, and Sophie says she thinks her grandfather may have been the leader of the Priory. The car stops and Vernet lets them out, but then apologetically pulls a pistol on them.
Vernet tells Langdon and Sophie to give him the box. He just heard over the radio that they are wanted for three other murders. Langdon realizes who the three must have been. He hands the box over to Vernet, but he also manages to put a spent shotgun shell into the mechanism of the door. When Vernet tries to shut them into the truck, the door balks. Langdon bursts out of the door, takes the box back, and gets back into the truck while Sophie drives away.
Bishop Aringarosa, leaving Gandolfo, realizes that the Teacher might not have been able to reach him because his cell phone service was not strong in the mountains. He panics, worried that the Teacher will think something has gone wrong with the deal.
Langdon proposes that he and Sophie visit his friend Sir Leigh Teabing in Versailles. Teabing is a religious historian and Grail scholar who might be able to help them. Langdon remembers a controversial BBC documentary about Teabing’s Grail research. They head toward Teabing’s estate, Château Villette.
At Teabing’s estate, Sophie and Langdon reach Teabing on the intercom. He asks them three questions before letting them in.
The trope of an ordinary person transforming himself is common in thrillers. In order to feign innocence, Vernet flips between cultured and uncultured personas. He disguises himself as if he is used to it. In the course of The Da Vinci Code, many ordinary people break through their barriers to help the cause of the Priory.
However Opus Dei heard about Saunière’s message (Fache is a natural suspect), the two factions in this novel are about to be drawn together. Until this point, the Silas story has functioned separately from the Sophie and Langdon story.
Sophie’s memories of her childhood with her grandfather humanize Saunière and turn him into a major figure in the novel. Sophie’s memories have also been instrumental in helping her figure out what her grandfather’s final actions meant. The search for the Grail begins to seem like a treasure hunt just like the ones Sophie’s grandfather set up for her when she was a young girl running around the house in search of her birthday present.
Langdon, the retiring academic, finally seems excited about the chase. When he realizes that Saunière was the head of the Brotherhood and that the other three members of the Brotherhood are gone, he understands that it is now his and Sophie’s responsibility to figure out where the Sangreal, or the Holy Grail, is hidden, and to guard the secret. Now he seems to become more fully engaged with the problem and with his personal responsibility. Because he has become involved, he is inspired to take the kind of wily action—foiling Vernet and getting the box back—that until now has been the exclusive province of Sophie.
The Bishop’s worries about cell phone service are slightly comical. He behaves like a nervous schoolboy waiting for a call from the girl he likes. But his nervousness also underlines the Teacher’s power. The fact that the Teacher has secret knowledge gained by electronic eavesdropping does not provide any clues about his location, occupation, or allegiances. The only thing the reader really knows about the Teacher is that he is a mercenary.
For the first time in this part of the novel, Langdon thinks about Sophie in a sexual way. He smells her perfume as he leans over to speak into the intercom and thinks about “how close they are.” Brown’s interest in the romantic aspect of Langdon’s and Sophie’s relationship seems a little forced, however, almost as if he included it only in deference to the conventions of thriller novels.
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