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All is revealed at the thirty-third degree, Katherine thought as she ran. I know how to transform the pyramid! The answer had been right in front of them all night.

Katherine and Langdon were alone now, dashing through the cathedral’s annex, following signs for “The Garth.” Now, exactly as the dean had promised, they burst out of the cathedral into a massive, walled-in courtyard.

The cathedral garth was a cloistered, pentagonal garden with a bronze postmodern fountain. Katherine was amazed how loudly the fountain’s flowing water seemed to be reverberating in the courtyard. Then she realized it was not the fountain she was hearing.

“Helicopter!” she shouted as a beam of light pierced the night sky above them. “Get under that portico!”

The dazzling glare of a searchlight flooded the garth just as Langdon and Katherine reached the other side, slipping beneath a Gothic arch into a tunnel that led to the outside lawn. They waited, huddled in the tunnel, as the helicopter passed overhead and began circling the cathedral in wide arcs.

“I guess Galloway was right about hearing visitors,” Katherine said, impressed. Bad eyes make for great ears. Her own ears now pounded rhythmically with her racing pulse.

“This way,” Langdon said, clutching his daybag and moving through the passage.

Dean Galloway had given them a single key and a clear set of directions. Unfortunately, when they reached the end of the short tunnel, they found themselves separated from their destination by a wide-open expanse of lawn, currently flooded with light from the helicopter overhead.

“We can’t get across,” Katherine said.

“Hold on . . . look.” Langdon pointed to a black shadow that was materializing on the lawn to their left. The shadow began as an amorphous blob, but it was growing quickly, moving in their direction, becoming more defined, rushing at them faster and faster, stretching, and finally

transforming itself into a massive black rectangle crowned by two impossibly tall spires.

“The cathedral facade is blocking the searchlight,” Langdon said.

“They’re landing out in front!”

Langdon grabbed Katherine’s hand. “Run! Now!”

Inside the cathedral, Dean Galloway felt a lightness in his step that he had not felt in years. He moved through the Great Crossing, down the nave toward the narthex and the front doors.

He could hear the helicopter hovering in front of the cathedral now, and he imagined its lights coming through the rose window in front of him, throwing spectacular colors all over the sanctuary. He recalled the days when he could see color. Ironically, the lightless void that had become his world had illuminated many things for him. I see more clearly now than ever.

Galloway had been called to God as a young man and over his lifetime had loved the church as much as any man could. Like many of his colleagues who had given their lives in earnest to God, Galloway was weary. He had spent his life straining to be heard above the din of ignorance.

What did I expect?

From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to American politics—the name Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles. Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding. They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand. They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions. Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.

Tonight, encountering the symbol of the Rose Cross had fueled him with great hope, reminding him of the prophecies written in the Rosicrucian manifestos, which Galloway had read countless times in the past and could still recall.

Chapter One: Jehova will redeem humanity by revealing those secrets which he previously reserved only for the elect.

Chapter Four: The whole world shall become as one book and all the contradictions of science and theology shall be reconciled.

Chapter Seven: Before the end of the world, God shall create a great flood of spiritual light to alleviate the suffering of humankind.

Chapter Eight: Before this revelation is possible, the world must sleep away the intoxication of her poisoned chalice, which was filled with the false life of the theological vine.

Galloway knew the church had long ago lost her way, and he had dedicated his life to righting

her course. Now, he realized, the moment was fast approaching.

It is always darkest before the dawn.

CIA field agent Turner Simkins was perched on the strut of the Sikorsky helicopter as it touched down on the frosty grass. He leaped off, joined by his men, and immediately waved the chopper back up into the air to keep an eye on all the exits.

Nobody leaves this building.

As the chopper rose back into the night sky, Simkins and his team ran up the stairs to the cathedral’s main entrance. Before he could decide which of the six doors to pound on, one of them swung open.

“Yes?” a calm voice said from the shadows.

Simkins could barely make out the hunched figure in priest’s robes. “Are you Dean Colin Galloway?”

“I am,” the old man replied.

“I’m looking for Robert Langdon. Have you seen him?”

The old man stepped forward now, staring past Simkins with eerie blank eyes. “Now, wouldn’t that be a miracle.”