Summary: Chapter 31

Sister Sandrine calls the emergency phone numbers. The first three people she tries to get in touch with have just died. She is in the process of leaving a message on the fourth number’s answering machine when Silas bursts into her chamber. He demands that she tell him where the keystone is. She does not know. Enraged, Silas bludgeons her to death with the candle stand.


In his interpretation of Mona Lisa, Langdon addresses the balance between the masculine and the feminine—a balance that is an integral part of the Priory of Sion’s beliefs. Brown suggests that modern society, partly due to the Catholic Church’s influence, has devalued women and banned them from positions of power, especially religious ones. Opus Dei is an extreme embodiment of these sexist principles.

Sister Sandrine is a casualty of the Church’s campaign to oppress women. Like the witches, pagan priestesses, and midwives who were slaughtered by the Church during the crusades, she has been deemed disposable because of her sex. Silas’s willingness to kill a nun who is fundamentally innocent of wrongdoing shows how fanatically convinced Opus Dei is of its own moral supremacy.

Brown suggests that religion is open to interpretation. For example, Silas likely believes that his faith, like that of the biblical Job, is being tested by God; for this reason, the delivery of the dead-end message to Silas in the book of Job is appropriate. Silas believes that the brotherhood’s interpretation of scripture is a sacrilegious mockery. But the members of the brotherhood surely feel that they have been truthful to the real religion and have observed it appropriately.

Chapter 27 is used largely to prolong the uncertainty over whether Langdon and Sophie will get out of the Louvre. This chapter is typical of the way Brown uses short chapters to build suspense. By cutting back and forth between different events that are occurring simultaneously, Brown creates a sense of immediacy and maintains excitement and suspense.