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In the Louvre, a monk of Opus Dei named Silas
apprehends Jacques Saunière, the museum’s curator, and demands to
know where the Holy Grail is. After Saunière tells him, Silas shoots him
and leaves him to die. However, Saunière has lied to Silas about
the Grail’s location. Realizing that he has only a few minutes to
live and that he must pass on his important secret, Saunière paints
a pentacle on his stomach with his own blood, draws a circle with
his blood, and drags himself into the center of the circle, re-creating
the position of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. He also
leaves a code, a line of numbers, and two lines of text on the ground
in invisible ink.
A police detective, Jerome Collet, calls Robert Langdon,
the story’s protagonist and a professor of symbology, and asks him
to come to the Louvre to try to interpret the scene. Langdon does
not yet realize that he himself is suspected of the murder.
After murdering Saunière, Silas calls the “Teacher” and
tells him that, according to Saunière, the keystone is in the Church
of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. The Teacher sends Silas there. Silas
follows Saunière’s clues to the keystone’s location and discovers
that he has been tricked. In a fit of rage, he kills Sister Sandrine
Bieil, the church’s keeper and a sentry for the Priory of Sion.
At the Louvre, Langdon meets Jerome Collet and Bezu Fache, the police
captain, and realizes that the two policemen suspect him of the
Sophie Neveu, an agent of the department of cryptology
and Saunière’s granddaughter, arrives at the crime scene and tells
Langdon that he must call the embassy. When Langdon calls the number Sophie
gave him, he reaches her answering service. The message warns Langdon
that he is in danger and should meet Sophie in the bathroom at the
In the bathroom, Sophie shows Langdon that Fache is noting
his movements with a tracking device. She throws the device out
the window onto a passing truck, tricking the police into thinking
that Langdon has escaped from the Louvre.
Sophie also tells Langdon that the last line in the secret
message, “P.S. Find Robert Langdon,” was her grandfather’s way of
alerting her: P.S. are the initials of her grandfather’s nickname
for her, Princesse Sophie. Langdon thinks that
P.S. might stand for Priory of Sion, an ancient brotherhood devoted
to the preservation of the pagan goddess worship tradition, and
to the maintenance of the secret that Saunière died protecting.
Langdon decodes the second and third lines in Saunière’s
message: “Leonardo Da Vinci! The Mona Lisa!” Sophie
returns to the paintings to look for another clue. The police have
returned to the Louvre as well, and they arrest Langdon. Sophie
finds a key behind the Madonna of the Rocks. By
using the painting as a hostage, she manages to disarm the police
officer and get herself and Langdon out of the building.
As Sophie and Langdon drive toward the Swiss bank identified on
the back of the key, Langdon explains the history of the Priory
of Sion and their armed force, the Knights Templar. He reveals that
the Priory protects secret documents known as the Sangreal,
or the Holy Grail. Langdon’s latest manuscript is about this very
When Sophie and Langdon enter the bank, an unnamed security guard
realizes that they are fugitives and calls the police, but André Vernet,
the bank’s manager and a friend of Saunière’s, recognizes Sophie
and helps her and Langdon escape. Sophie and Langdon figure out
that the number left near Saunière’s body must be the account number
that will open the vault. When they open the vault they find a cryptex,
a message delivery device designed by Da Vinci and crafted by Saunière.
The cryptex can only be opened with a password.
Vernet successfully smuggles Sophie and Langdon past Collet
in the back of a locked armored car. Vernet turns on them, but they manage
to get away with the cryptex, which Langdon realizes is actually
the Priory keystone—that is, the key to all of the secrets the Priory
holds about the location of the Holy Grail.
Langdon and Sophie go to the house of Sir Leigh Teabing,
a historian, to ask for his help opening the box. Teabing tells
them the legend of the Grail, starting with the historical evidence
that the Bible didn’t come straight from God but was compiled by
Emperor Constantine. He also cites evidence that Jesus’ divinity
was decided by a vote at Nicaea, and that Jesus was married to Mary
Magdalene, who was of royal blood, and had children by her. Teabing
shows them the hidden symbols in The Last Supper and
the painted representation of the Magdalene. He tells them that
the Holy Grail is actually Mary Magdalene’s body and the documents
that prove Mary’s blood line is related to Jesus. He says he thinks
Saunière and the others may have been killed because the Church
suspected that the Priory was about to unveil this secret.
As Langdon is showing off the cryptex, Silas appears and
hits him over the head. Silas holds Sophie and Teabing at gunpoint
and demands the keystone, but Teabing attacks Silas, hitting him
on the thigh where his punishment belt is located, and Sophie finishes
him off by kicking him in the face. They tie Silas up.
Collet arrives at the castle, but Sophie, Langdon, the
bound Silas, Teabing, and his servant, Rémy, escape and board Teabing’s
private plane to England. Sophie realizes that the writing on the
cryptex is decipherable if viewed in a mirror. They come to understand
the poem, which refers to “a headstone praised by Templars” and
the “Atbash cipher,” which will help them arrive at the password.
Langdon remembers that the Knights Templar supposedly worshipped the
god Baphomet, who is sometimes represented by a large stone head.
The word, unscrambled by the Atbash Cipher, is Sofia.
When they open the cryptex, however, they find only another cryptex,
this one with a clue about a tomb where a knight was buried by a
pope. They must find the orb that should have been on the knight’s
Fache realizes that Teabing and the rest of them are in
the jet. He calls the British police and asks them to surround the
airfield, but Teabing tricks the police into believing that there
is nobody inside the plane but himself. Then he goes with Sophie,
Langdon, Rémy, and Silas to the Temple Church in London, the burial
site of knights that the Pope had killed.
Rémy frees Silas and reveals that he, too, follows the
Teacher. Silas goes to the church to get the keystone, but when
he tries to force Langdon to give it up, Langdon threatens to break
it. Rémy intervenes, taking Teabing hostage and thus forcing Langdon
to give up the cryptex.
Meanwhile, Collet and his men look through Teabing’s house and
become suspicious when they find that he has been monitoring Saunière.
Over the phone, the Teacher instructs Silas to let Rémy deliver
the cryptex. The Teacher meets Rémy in the park and kills him. The
Teacher calls the police and turns Silas in to the authorities.
As Silas tries to escape, he is shot, and he accidentally shoots
his idol, Bishop Aringarosa.
Silas takes Bishop Aringarosa to the hospital and staggers
into a park, where he dies. In the hospital the next day, Aringarosa
bitterly reflects that Teabing tricked him into helping with his
murderous plan by claiming that if the Bishop delivered the Grail
to him, he would help the Opus Dei regain favor with the Church.
Sophie’s and Langdon’s research leads them to the discovery
that Sir Isaac Newton is the knight they are looking for, the one
buried by a Pope, because they learn he was buried by Alexander
Pope. They go to Westminster Abbey, where Newton is buried. There,
the Teacher lures them to the garden with a note saying he has Teabing. They
go there only to discover that Teabing himself is the Teacher. Teabing
suspected that Saunière had decided not to release the secret of
the Priory of Sion, because the Church threatened to kill Sophie
if the secret was released. Wanting the secret to be public knowledge,
he had decided to find the Grail himself.
Teabing gives Langdon the cryptex and asks Langdon and Sophie
to help him open it. Langdon figures out that the password is apple—the
orb missing from Newton’s tomb. He opens the cryptex and secretly
takes out the papyrus. Then he throws the empty cryptex in the air,
causing Teabing to drop his pistol as he attempts to catch it and
prevent the map inside from being destroyed. Suddenly, Fache bursts
into the room and arrests Teabing.
The papyrus inside the second cryptex directs Sophie and
Langdon to Scotland, where Sophie finds her brother and her grandmother.
During the reunion, she discovers that her family is, indeed, of
the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Sophie and Langdon part,
promising to meet in Florence in a month. Back in Paris, Langdon
comprehends the poem, which leads him to the small pyramid built
into the ground in the Louvre, where he is sure the Grail must be
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Da Vinci Code!