In this thriller, Dan Brown puts his literary genius to work and takes us on a journey of despair, suspense, hope, and discovery. With the jaw-dropping realistic description of events and in-depth definition of characters and locations, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ holds its place as a thriller masterpiece.
‘Spoiler-Free’ The Da Vinci Code Summary
The Louvre Curator is killed.
After presenting a lecture in Paris, symbologist and Harvard professor Robert Langdon is awoken from his sleep in the middle of the night by a call from the Paris police and is invited to assist in the investigation of the murder of the Louvre’s curator, Jacques Sauniere. On arriving on the scene, he understands why he was invited by the police, but unknown to him is that he is the prime suspect.
Cryptologist Sophie Neveu arrives at the crime scene with a message for Langdon to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately. When Langdon retrieves the message with a cell phone under Sophie’s directions, he hears a message from Sophie herself telling him to listen carefully because he is in grave danger.
Sophie and Langdon manoeuvre their way and escape from the Museum. Their escape leads them to a discovery of clues around Europe, with which they finally unmask the mastermind behind the murder and leads Sophie to learn more about her history and identity.
The Da Vinci Code Plot Summary
Spoiler alert: important details of the novel are revealed below
Murder In the Louvre Museum
The famous curator of the Louvre, Jacques Sauniere, is ambushed and held at gunpoint by an albino monk of the Opus Dei who demands to know the location of an unidentified object. Sauniere gives him an answer only to be shot by the attacker, who flees. Realizing that he must pass on an important secret with these remaining minutes of his life, Sauniere strips himself naked, uses his blood to draw a pentacle on his stomach, and recreates Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man.’ In addition to this, Sauniere draws a code using invisible ink on the ground.
Professor Robert Langdon is awoken by a call from french police detective Jerome Collet and is asked to come to the Louvre to help in the investigation of the murder of its curator. Langdon is perplexed as he had been originally scheduled to have a meeting with the curator, but Sauniere never showed up. Unknown to him, he is the prime suspect of the French police.
An albino monk named Silas calls a certain “Teacher” to report that, according to Saunière, the keystone is in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris and the Teacher sends Silas there. Silas follows Saunière’s clues to the keystone’s location and discovers that he has been tricked. After smashing through a floor tile and finding nothing, he realizes the Priory brethren have all told him the same lie, and the keystone is not there. In a fit of rage, he kills Sister Sandrine Bieil, the church’s keeper and a sentry for the Priory of Sion.
Langdon arrives at the crime scene and learns that Saunière drew a series of images and cryptic messages, not only with his own blood but also with a watermark stylus- a pen whose markings can only be detected by black light. The captain of the French Judicial Police, Bezu Fache a.k.a The Bull, engages Langdon while police Lieutenant Collet listens intently from a concealed room to the conversation between Fache and Langdon, the primary suspect. Cryptologist Sophie Neveu arrives at the crime scene with a message for Langdon to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately. When Langdon retrieves the message with Fache’s cell phone under Sophie’s directions, he hears a message from Sophie herself telling him to listen carefully because he is in grave danger and should meet her in the bathroom at the Louvre.
In the bathroom, she tells Langdon that he is the prime suspect in the murder and in his pocket is a special beacon tracker which was slipped in on his arrival. Sophie then explains that apart from the secret characters written beside the body, there was an inscription from Sauniere to find Langdon, which Fache wiped. She explains that the inscription was meant not for the police, but for her as she is Sauniere’s granddaughter.
Sophie finds the hidden tracking device in Langdon’s coat, buries it in a bar of soap, and throws it out the window, where it lands in the back of a truck. As the truck drives away, Fache and his lieutenant, Collet, believe Langdon is fleeing and begin pursuit. As the police chase the errant tracking device, Langdon and Sophie sneak into the gallery in which the Mona Lisa is displayed. There, Sophie and Langdon decode the code left by Sauniere and discover another clue left by her grandfather: a key.
They discover an address written on the key in invisible ink. The address leads them to a Swiss Depository Bank, and the key allows them entry into the high-security bank. They are brought to a subterranean vault where they retrieve Sauniére’s safety deposit box. Inside is a white stone cylinder with a coded lock, a cryptex –a device invented by Leonardo Da Vinci. Unsure how to open it, Langdon suggests they turn to British Royal Historian Sir Leigh Teabing for help.
Sir Leigh Teabing Joins the Fray
While Silas ponders his next course of action after realizing he had been deceived, his mentor, Bishop Aringarosa- the leader of Opus Dei- flies to Rome to meet with several Vatican officials. Having been informed five months earlier that the Vatican would no longer give its support, Aringarosa then decides to make a power play by recovering the keystone and using its power to hold the Vatican at bay and make Opus Dei a major player once again.
Back at the bank, Langdon and Sophie meet André Vernet- the president of the branch- who, after also identifying as a priory member, helps them escape in a van to avoid negative publicity for the bank since they are fugitives. Vernet stops the van in a nearby field and attempts to retrieve the cryptex while holding Langdon and Sophie at gunpoint. They outwit him, escape in his van with the cryptex and drive to Château Villette, Sir Leigh Teabing’s estate.
After listening to Sophie and Langdon, Teabing shows them a picture of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. Each of the thirteen participants has his bowl, but the Bible and other legends believe that the Holy Grail has appeared here. Teabing believes that the grail is not an object, but a person, a woman who represents the vessel as a symbol of femininity. The woman depicted in the painting is Mary Magdalene. Langdon and Teabing explain to Sophie that the Priory’s centuries-old charge is to protect the ‘Sangreal’ documents, evidence of Jesus Christ’s mortality, and his marriage to Mary Magdalene. A truth that has been buried by the Church since the third century but hints of which have appeared discreetly in some of Da Vinci’s most famous works of art.
While they discuss, Teabing’s servant Remy informs his master that Langdon and Sophie are wanted by the police. To dissuade Teabing from giving them up to the authorities, Langdon shows him the cryptex. Silas, who found his way to Teabing’s estate on a tip from the Teacher, also sees this. As Langdon is showing off the cryptex, Silas appears and hits him over the head, holds Sophie and Teabing at gunpoint, and demands the keystone, but Teabing attacks Silas, hitting him on the thigh where his punishment belt is located, and Sophie finishes him off by kicking him in the face. They tie Silas up and take him hostage.
The French police arrive at the castle, but Sophie, Langdon, the bound Silas, Teabing, and his servant, Rémy, escape and board Teabing’s private plane to England. After thinking about the cryptex, they decide that it is important to find the grave of the Templars.
Teabing’s plane lands in Kent. Having been alerted by Fache, the local police intercept them but find only Teabing and Rémy (the others are hiding in Teabing’s limo inside the hangar). With no evidence and not wanting to offend an important client, the police let them go. Teabing, Sophie, and Langdon drive to the Temple Church in London, a pagan-style sanctuary built by the Knights Templar. After opening the cryptex, they find a second one inside, which directs them to search for a “knight’s tomb” that will point the way to the Holy Grail.
While the group leaves for the temple church, Rémy frees Silas and reveals that he too, follows the Teacher. Silas goes to the church to get the keystone, but when he tries to force Langdon to give it up, Langdon threatens to break it. Rémy intervenes, taking Teabing hostage and thus forcing Langdon to give up the cryptex.
While the London events were happening, Collet and his men searched Teabing’s house and became suspicious when they found high-tech computer equipment that showed Remy has been monitoring Saunière and the Priory of Sion members.
The teacher calls Silas and instructs Remy to deliver the cryptex to him, after which he kills Remy and takes the cryptex. Unknown to the villains, Langdon already unlocked the cryptex and retrieved the parchment within, which he and Sophie take to the research center of the royal library. They meet librarian Pamela Ghetto who studies the parchment and comes to the conclusion that the knight is Isaac Newton, Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, who has been cursed by the Church. They finally deduce that Newton was buried in Westminster Abbey by the philosopher Alexander Pope.
The Teacher, after disposing of Rémy and sending Silas away to an Opus Dei residence, gets to the tomb of Isaac newton first. Langdon and Sophie arrive shortly to encounter the teacher who finally reveals himself at last, and to their greatest surprise, Teabing is the Teacher, the master manipulator who directed the killing of the Priory brotherhood and sent Silas on his quest to recover the keystone. His goal is to release the Sangreal documents and reveal the foundational lie on which the Church is built. He put this plan in motion because he feared that Saunière had decided not to release the secret of the Priory of Sion since the Church threatened to kill Sophie if the secret was released.
Back at the Opus Dei residence, the British police storm the compound on a tip from Teabing looking for Silas in connection with the four murders in France. While trying to escape, Silas is shot. He then accidentally shoots his mentor, Bishop Aringarosa, who after discovering he had been played, came to England to prevent Silas from committing more murders. Aringarosa recovers after being taken to the hospital, but Silas dies in a nearby park.
Teabing holds Langdon and Sophie at gunpoint, gives Langdon the cryptex, and demands he opens it. Langdon, already having deciphered it and taken the contents, tosses the empty cryptex in the air, causing Teabing to drop his pistol as he attempts to catch it and prevent the map inside from being destroyed. Suddenly, Fache and a team of British police appear and arrest Teabing
Following the clue on the scroll, Langdon and Sophie are directed to the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, where they find an old woman and her grandson, who turns out to be Sophie’s grandmother and brother. Sophie had been told all her life that her brother and grandmother were killed in an accident with her parents years ago, but in fact, her parents’ death was a warning to Sauniére to keep the truth hidden -the truth that the Sauniere family are the descendants of Jesus and Magdalene’s royal bloodline. Sauniere then chose to put his family before his duties as the Priory Grand Master and separate his family to keep the truth hidden.
Langdon leaves Sophie with her family and returns to France. In his hotel room, he finally has a realization that leads him to the small pyramid built into the ground in the Louvre, where lies the fabled Sangreal documents and the remains of Mary Magdalene, the proof of Jesus’s true message of reverence for the divine feminine.
Did Jesus truly marry Mary Magdalene?
Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, but the ‘Lost Gospels’- a 1500-year-old manuscript unearthed in the British Library- claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and they had two children.
In September 2012, Harvard historian of early Christianity, Karen L. King, presented a discovered ancient papyrus at a conference in Rome. The papyrus which King called ‘The Gospel of Jesus’ wife’ recorded an incomplete sentence supposedly made by Jesus which goes, “Jesus said to them, my wife…” Scholars held onto this evidence to say that while the parchment is incomplete, Jesus spoke about his wife. But in 2016, Ariel Sabar, a journalist, released an in-depth investigative article titled ‘The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife’, which completely exposed the papyrus as forged.
As it stands, no one really knows if Jesus had a wife, but with no concrete evidence to prove otherwise, the Bible’s stance on the celibacy of Jesus still holds supreme.
Is the Louver a real museum?
Yes, it is. It is the world’s most-visited museum and a historic landmark in Paris, France. It houses some of the best-known works of art, including the ‘Mona Lisa’ and the ‘Venus de Milo.’
Is Mary Magdalene buried under the Louvre?
No, she is not. Contrary to what the novel implies, the small stone pyramid on the floor beneath the huge inverted glass does not contain the remains of Mary Magdalene.
Is The Priory of Sion a real fraternity?
The Priory of Sion, also known as “Prieuré de Sion” was an organization founded in France in 1956 by Pierre Plantard. Most scholars believe the organization and supposed illustrious members were a hoax begun by Plantard to help himself be seen as a great monarch and become a respected and influential member of the French monarchist circles.
A discredit to its claim is that it would be impossible to have Isaac Newton as a grandmaster because, by the time the organization was founded in 1956, Newton would be dead.