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In the silence of an elegant bathroom on the ground floor of the House of the Temple, Robert Langdon ran warm water into a tile sink and eyed himself in the mirror. Even in the muted light, he looked like he felt . . . utterly spent.

His daybag was on his shoulder again, much lighter now . . . empty except for his personal items and some crumpled lecture notes. He had to chuckle. His visit to D.C. tonight to give a lecture

had turned out a bit more grueling than he’d anticipated.

Even so, Langdon had a lot to be grateful for.

Peter is alive.

And the video was contained.

As Langdon scooped handfuls of warm water onto his face, he gradually felt himself coming back to life. Everything was still a blur, but the adrenaline in his body was finally dissipating . . . and he was feeling like himself again. After drying his hands, he checked his Mickey Mouse watch.

My God, it’s late.

Langdon exited the bathroom and wound his way along the curved wall of the Hall of Honor—a gracefully arched passageway, lined with portraits of accomplished Masons . . . U.S. presidents, philanthropists, luminaries, and other influential Americans. He paused at an oil painting of Harry S. Truman and tried to imagine the man undergoing the rites, rituals, and studies required to become a Mason.

There is a hidden world behind the one we all see. For all of us.

“You slipped away,” a voice said down the hall.

Langdon turned.

It was Katherine. She’d been through hell tonight, and yet she looked suddenly radiant . . . rejuvenated somehow.

Langdon gave a tired smile. “How’s he doing?”

Katherine walked up and embraced him warmly. “How can I ever thank you?”

He laughed. “You know I didn’t do anything, right?”

Katherine held him for a long time. “Peter’s going to be fine . . .” She let go and looked deep into Langdon’s eyes. “And he just told me something incredible . . . something wonderful.” Her voice trembled with anticipation. “I need to go see it for myself. I’ll be back in a bit.”

“What? Where are you going?”

“I won’t be long. Right now, Peter wants to speak with you . . . alone. He’s waiting in the library.”

“Did he say why?”

Katherine chuckled and shook her head. “You know Peter and his secrets.”


“I’ll see you in a bit.”

Then she was gone.

Langdon sighed heavily. He felt like he’d had enough secrets for one night. There were unanswered questions, of course—the Masonic Pyramid and the Lost Word among them—but he sensed that the answers, if they even existed, were not for him. Not as a non-Mason.

Mustering the last of his energy, Langdon made his way to the Masonic library. When he arrived, Peter was sitting all alone at a table with the stone pyramid before him.

“Robert?” Peter smiled and waved him in. “I’d like a word.”

Langdon managed a grin. “Yes, I hear you lost one.”