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The Da Vinci Code

by

The Da Vinci Code Cover

ISBN13: 9781400079179
ISBN10: 1400079179
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

1

Robert Langdon awoke slowly.

A telephone was ringing in the darkness--a tinny, unfamiliar ring. He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on. Squinting at his surroundings he saw a plush Renaissance bedroom with Louis XVI furniture, hand-frescoed walls, and a colossal mahogany four-poster bed.

Where the hell am I?

The jacquard bathrobe hanging on his bedpost bore the monogram:

HOTEL RITZ PARIS.

Slowly, the fog began to lift.

Langdon picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Monsieur Langdon?" a man's voice said. "I hope I have not awoken you?"

Dazed, Langdon looked at the bedside clock. It was 12:32 A.M. He had been asleep only an hour, but he felt like the dead.

"This is the concierge, monsieur. I apologize for this intrusion, but you have a visitor. He insists it is urgent."

Langdon still felt fuzzy. A visitor? His eyes focused now on a crumpled flyer on his bedside table.

THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF PARIS
proudly presents
an evening with Robert Langdon
Professor of Religious Symbology, Harvard University

Langdon groaned. Tonight's lecture — a slide show about pagan symbolism hidden in the stones of Chartres Cathedral — had probably ruffled some conservative feathers in the audience. Most likely, some religious scholar had trailed him home to pick a fight.

"I'm sorry," Langdon said, "but I'm very tired and—"

"Mais monsieur," the concierge pressed, lowering his voice to an urgent whisper. "Your guest is an important man."

Langdon had little doubt. His books on religious paintings and cult symbology had made him a reluctant celebrity in the art world, and last year Langdon's visibility had increased a hundred-fold after his involvement in a widely publicized incident at the Vatican. Since then, the stream of self-important historians and art buffs arriving at his door had seemed never-ending.

"If you would be so kind," Langdon said, doing his best to remain polite, "could you take the man's name and number, and tell him I'll try to call him before I leave Paris on Tuesday? Thank you." He hung up before the concierge could protest.

Sitting up now, Langdon frowned at his bedside Guest Relations Handbook, whose cover boasted: SLEEP LIKE A BABY IN THE CITY OF LIGHTS. SLUMBER AT THE PARIS RITZ. Sleep like a baby in the city of lights. Slumber at The Paris Ritz. He turned and gazed tiredly into the full-length mirror across the room. The man staring back at him was a stranger — tousled and weary.

You need a vacation, Robert.

The past year had taken a heavy toll on him, but he didn't appreciate seeing proof in the mirror. His usually sharp blue eyes looked hazy and drawn tonight. A dark stubble was shrouding his strong jaw and dimpled chin. Around his temples, the gray highlights were advancing, making their way deeper into his thicket of coarse black hair. Although his female colleagues insisted the gray only accentuated his bookish appeal, Langdon knew better.

If Boston Magazine could see me now.

Last month, much to Langdon's embarrassment, Boston Magazine had listed him as one of that city's top ten most intriguing people — a dubious honor that made him the brunt of endless ribbing by his Harvard colleagues. Tonight, three thousand miles from home, the accolade had resurfaced to haunt him at the lecture he had given.

"Ladies and gentlemen . . ." the hostess had announced to a full-house at The American University of Paris's Pavillon Dauphine, "Our guest tonight needs no introduction. He is the author of numerous books: The Symbology of Secret Sects, The Art of the Illuminati, The Lost Language of Ideograms, and when I say he wrote the book on Religious Iconology, I mean that quite literally. Many of you use his textbooks in class."

The students in the crowd nodded enthusiastically.

"I had planned to introduce him tonight by sharing his impressive curriculum vitae, however . . ." She glanced playfully at Langdon, who was seated onstage. "An audience member has just handed me a far more, shall we say . . . intriguing introduction."

She held up a copy of Boston Magazine.

Langdon cringed. Where the hell did she get that?

The hostess began reading choice excerpts from the inane article, and Langdon felt himself sinking lower and lower in his chair. Thirty seconds later, the crowd was grinning, and the woman showed no signs of letting up. "And Mr. Langdon's refusal to speak publicly about his unusual role in last year's Vatican conclave certainly wins him points on our intrigue-o-meter." The hostess goaded the crowd. "Would you like to hear more?"

The crowd applauded.

Somebody stop her, Langdon pleaded as she dove into the article again.

"Although Professor Langdon might not be considered hunk-handsome like some of our younger awardees, this forty-something academic has more than his share of scholarly allure. His captivating presence is punctuated by an unusually low, baritone speaking voice, which his female students describe as 'chocolate for the ears.''

The hall erupted in laughter.

Langdon forced an awkward smile. He knew what came next — some ridiculous line about "Harrison Ford in Harris tweed" — and because this evening he had figured it was finally safe again to wear his Harris tweed and Burberry turtleneck, he decided to take action.

"Thank you, Monique," Langdon said, standing prematurely and edging her away from the podium. "Boston Magazine clearly has a gift for fiction." He turned to the audience with an embarrassed sigh. "And if I find which one of you provided that article, I'll have the consulate deport you."

The crowd laughed.

"Well, folks, as you all know, I'm here tonight to talk about the power of symbols . . ."

* * *

The ringing of Langdon's hotel phone once again broke the silence.

Groaning in disbelief, he picked up. "Yes?"

As expected, it was the concierge. "Mr. Langdon, again my apologies. I am calling to inform you that your guest is now en route to your room. I thought I should alert you."

Langdon was wide awake now. "You sent someone to my room?"

"I apologize, monsieur, but a man like this . . . I cannot presume the authority to stop him."

"Who exactly is he?"

But the concierge was gone.

Almost immediately, a heavy fist pounded on Langdon's door.

Uncertain, Langdon slid off the bed, feeling his toes sink deep into the savonniere carpet. He donned the hotel bathrobe and moved toward the door. "Who is it?"

"Mr. Langdon? I need to speak with you." The man's English was accented — a sharp, authoritative bark. "My name is Lieutenant Jerome Collet. Direction Centrale Police Judiciaire."

Langdon paused. The Judicial Police? The DCPJ were the rough equivalent of the U.S. FBI.

Leaving the security chain in place, Langdon opened the door a few inches. The face staring back at him was thin and washed out. The man was exceptionally lean, dressed in an official-looking blue uniform.

"May I come in?" the agent asked.

Langdon hesitated, feeling uncertain as the stranger's sallow eyes studied him. "What is this is all about?"

"My capitaine requires your expertise in a private matter."

"Now?" Langdon managed. "It's after midnight."

"Am I correct that you were scheduled to meet with curator of the Louvre this evening?"

Langdon felt a sudden surge of uneasiness. He and the revered curator Jacques Sauniore had been slated to meet for drinks after Langdon's lecture tonight, but Sauniore had never shown up. "Yes. How did you know that?"

"We found your name in his daily planner."

"I trust nothing is wrong?"

The agent gave a dire sigh and slid a Polaroid snapshot through the narrow opening in the door.

When Langdon saw the photo, his entire body went rigid.

"This photo was taken less than an hour ago. Inside the Louvre."

As Langdon stared at the bizarre image, his initial revulsion and shock gave way to a sudden upwelling of anger. "Who would do this!"

"We had hoped that you might help us answer that very question. Considering your knowledge in symbology and your plans to meet with him."

Langdon stared at the picture, his horror now laced with fear. The image was gruesome and profoundly strange, bringing with it an unsettling sense of deja vu. A little over a year ago, Langdon had received a photograph of a corpse and a similar request for help. Twenty-four hours later, he had almost lost his life inside Vatican City. This photo was entirely different, and yet something about the scenario felt disquietingly familiar.

The agent checked his watch. "My captain is waiting, sir."

Langdon barely heard him. His eyes were still riveted on the picture. "This symbol here, and the way his body is so oddly . . ."

"Positioned?" the agent offered.

Langdon nodded, feeling a chill as he looked up. "I can't imagine who would do this to someone."

The agent looked grim. "You don't understand, Mr. Langdon. What you see in this photograph . . ." He paused. "Monsieur Sauniore did that to himself."

Copyright © 2003 by Dan Brown

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 24 comments:

Abhishek Tayal, May 21, 2012 (view all comments by Abhishek Tayal)
Nice book
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jalena, June 9, 2010 (view all comments by jalena)
Mystery, suspense, and action on a journey through time and art. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. A religious scandal covered up for centuries has been unveiled. Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of religious symbology is unwillingly launched into into a quest to discover the truth of the Holy Grail. The Louve museum plays a key role in this intelligent novel. If you are hesitating to read this book because of your religious affiliation, what you should know is that this book is a work of fiction and not being passed off as fact. I would recommend this to anyone who likes books that challenge you to think beyond what you believe you already know. You end this story feeling very attached to every character. From a British scholar who has something to hide to an albino monk who kills for his religious beliefs. If I could, I would give The Da Vinci Code six stars.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
shelldog, January 6, 2010 (view all comments by shelldog)
I know there is a lot of hype about this book...and the movie, which usually would make me pause to vote it best book of the decade. But you have to admit, it is a really good book. It has action, history, romance and was to me a major eye opener to the role of religion in human history. Even if you have seen the movie the book is worth reading.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400079179
Author:
Brown, Dan
Publisher:
Anchor
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Grail
Subject:
Art museum curators.
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Secret societies
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Publication Date:
March 28, 2006
Binding:
Undefined
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
6.88x4.26x1.09 in. .52 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers

The Da Vinci Code Used Mass Market
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Anchor - English 9781400079179 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A pulse-quickening, brain-teasing adventure."
"Review" by , "Thriller writing doesn't get any better than this."
"Review" by , "[A]n exhaustively researched page-turner....Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts."
"Review" by , "Brown solidifies his reputation as one of the most skilled thriller writers on the planet with his best book yet, a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense."
"Review" by , "[A] gleefully erudite suspense novel....Not since the advent of Harry Potter has an author so flagrantly delighted in leading readers on a breathless chase and coaxing them through hoops."
"Review" by , "[A]n ingenious mixture of paranoid thriller, art history lesson, chase story, religious symbology lecture and anti-clerical screed, and it's the most fun you can have between the sort of covers that aren't 300-count Egyptian cotton....[A] hugely entertaining book."
"Review" by , "By pulp thriller standards, Code is brainy stuff....[I]t ain't Clive Cussler. But it's not Umberto Eco, either...a straightforward, code-cracking mystery quest for the Sunday Jumble set. (Grade: B)"
"Review" by , "Brown keeps the pace fast, the puzzles that lead to the Grail are exceedingly clever, and there is a flurry of surprises and betrayals before the mystery is finally solved."
"Review" by , "The Da Vinci Code mixes page-turning suspense with art history, architecture and religious history."
"Review" by , "Despite being hampered by clunky flashback sequences and place descriptions that read like tourist brochures, the story is full of brain-teasing puzzles and fascinating insights into religious history and art."
"Review" by , "[A] dazzling performance...a delightful display of erudition....Brown delivers a crackling, intricate mystery, complete with breathtaking escapes and several stunning surprises. It's challenging, exciting, and a whole lot more."
"Synopsis" by , < b> An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci.< /b> < br> < b> A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe.< /b> < br> < b> An astonishing truth concealed for centuries . . . unveiled at last.< /b> < br> < br> As millions of readers around the globe have already discovered, < b> The Da Vinci Code< /b> is a reading experience unlike any other. Simultaneously lightning-paced, intelligent, and intricately layered with remarkable research and detail, Dan Brown's novel is a thrilling masterpiece& #8212; from its opening pages to its stunning conclusion.
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