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“Right turn!” Langdon shouted from the backseat of the commandeered Lexus SUV.

Simkins swerved onto S Street and gunned the vehicle through a tree-lined residential neighborhood. As they neared the corner of Sixteenth Street, the House of the Temple rose like a mountain on the right.

Simkins stared up at the massive structure. It looked like someone had built a pyramid on top of Rome’s Pantheon. He prepared to turn right on Sixteenth toward the front of the building.

“Don’t turn!” Langdon ordered. “Go straight! Stay on S!”

Simkins obeyed, driving alongside the east side of the building.

“At Fifteenth,” Langdon said, “turn right!”

Simkins followed his navigator, and moments later, Langdon had pointed out a nearly invisible, unpaved access road that bisected the gardens behind the House of the Temple. Simkins turned in to the drive and gunned the Lexus toward the rear of the building.

“Look!” Langdon said, pointing to the lone vehicle parked near the rear entrance. It was a large van. “They’re here.”

Simkins parked the SUV and killed the engine. Quietly, everyone got out and prepared to move in. Simkins stared up at the monolithic structure. “You say the Temple Room is at the top?”

Langdon nodded, pointing all the way to the pinnacle of the building. “That flat area on top of the pyramid is actually a skylight.”

Simkins spun back to Langdon. “The Temple Room has a skylight?”

Langdon gave him an odd look. “Of course. An oculus to heaven . . . directly above the altar.”

The UH-60 sat idling at Dupont Circle.

In the passenger seat, Sato gnawed at her fingernails, awaiting news from her team.

Finally, Simkins’s voice crackled over the radio. “Director?”

“Sato here,” she barked.

“We’re entering the building, but I have some additional recon for you.”

“Go ahead.”

“Mr. Langdon just informed me that the room in which the target is most likely located has a very large skylight.”

Sato considered the information for several seconds. “Understood. Thank you.”

Simkins signed off.

Sato spit out a fingernail and turned to the pilot. “Take her up.”