09.15.09 6:47 AM ET
Dan Brown Decoded
Then: Robert Langdon, professor of religious iconology and symbology at Harvard University
Now: Robert Langdon, “several years” after his Da Vinci Code experiences in Europe
Then: Silas, the self-flagellating Albino monk/assassin
Now: Mal’akh, a kidnapper whose body is completely covered in self-applied tattoos
Then: Louvre, Paris, Vatican City
Now: The Capitol, Washington, D.C.
Then: Jacques Saunière Saint-Clair, a curator at the Louvre, grandfather of Sophie Neveu and the grand master of the Priory of Sion, is brutally murdered by Silas.
Now: Mal’akh has kidnapped Peter Solomon, Langdon’s mentor and a prominent Mason and billionaire. Mal’akh has deposited a part of Solomon in the Capitol rotunda to attract Langdon’s attention and help the villain unlock “an ancient portal.”
Pages It Takes to Get Into
Then: Sophie Neveu, a French National Police cryptographer and Jacques Saunière Saint-Clair’s granddaughter
Now: Katherine Solomon, Peter’s younger sister and a scientist in the field of noetics, which examines human consciousness and the nature of the human intellect
Now: “The Hand of the Mysteries,” a “secretive icon of the ancient world,” “served as a mystical summons...an invitation to receive secret knowledge—protected wisdom known only to an elite few.”
Then: Jacques Saunière’s body is found naked and posed like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Near his body is a cipher with the digits of the Fibonacci sequence and amalgams referring to Leonardo da Vinci and his Mona Lisa. By deciphering these clues, Langdon and Neveu begin to unravel the mystery.
Now: Freemasons. The book opens with Mal’akh’s 33rd-degree Freemason initiation ceremony.
Then: Priory of Sion and Opus Dei
Now: Inoue Sato, director of the CIA’s Office of Security, the agency’s powerful internal affairs division. “[A] tiny Japanese woman…with a fierce expression, a mottled complexion, thinning hair, tobacco-stained teeth, and an unsettling white scar that sliced horizontally across her neck.”
Then: Langdon uncovers marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene that the Catholic Church has been hiding for centuries.
Now: You’ll just have to read it.