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Contents

 

Dedication

 

Acknowledgments

 

Quote

 

Fact

 

Prologue

 

Chapter 1

 

Chapter 2

 

Chapter 3

 

Chapter 4

 

Chapter 5

 

Chapter 6

 

Chapter 7

 

Chapter 8

 

Chapter 9

 

Chapter 10

 

Chapter 11

 

Chapter 12

 

Chapter 13

 

Chapter 14

 

Chapter 15

 

Chapter 16

 

Chapter 17

 

Chapter 18

 

Chapter 19

 

Chapter 20

 

Chapter 21

 

Chapter 22

 

Chapter 23

 

Chapter 24

 

Chapter 25

 

Chapter 26

 

Chapter 27

 

Chapter 28

 

Chapter 29

 

Chapter 30

 

Chapter 31

 

Chapter 32

 

Chapter 33

 

Chapter 34

 

Chapter 35

 

Chapter 36

 

Chapter 37

 

Chapter 38

 

Chapter 39

 

Chapter 40

 

Chapter 41

 

Chapter 42

 

Chapter 43

 

Chapter 44

 

Chapter 45

 

Chapter 46

 

Chapter 47

 

Chapter 48

 

Chapter 49

 

Chapter 50

 

Chapter 51

 

Chapter 52

 

Chapter 53

 

Chapter 54

 

Chapter 55

 

Chapter 56

 

Chapter 57

 

Chapter 58

 

Chapter 59

 

Chapter 60

 

Chapter 61

 

Chapter 62

 

Chapter 63

 

Chapter 64

 

Chapter 65

 

Chapter 66

 

Chapter 67

 

Chapter 68

 

Chapter 69

 

Chapter 70

 

Chapter 71

 

Chapter 72

 

Chapter 73

 

Chapter 74

 

Chapter 75

 

Chapter 76

 

Chapter 77

 

Chapter 78

 

Chapter 79

 

Chapter 80

 

Chapter 81

 

Chapter 82

 

Chapter 83

 

Chapter 84

 

Chapter 85

 

Chapter 86

 

Chapter 87

 

Chapter 88

 

Chapter 89

 

Chapter 90

 

Chapter 91

 

Chapter 92

 

Chapter 93

 

Chapter 94

 

Chapter 95

 

Chapter 96

 

Chapter 97

 

Chapter 98

 

Chapter 99

 

Chapter 100

 

Chapter 101

 

Chapter 102

 

Chapter 103

 

Chapter 104

 

Chapter 105

 

Chapter 106

 

Chapter 107

 

Chapter 108

 

Chapter 109

 

Chapter 110

 

Chapter 111

 

Chapter 112

 

Chapter 113

 

Chapter 114

 

Chapter 115

 

Chapter 116

 

Chapter 117

 

Chapter 118

 

Chapter 119

 

Chapter 120

 

Chapter 121

 

Chapter 122

 

Chapter 123

 

Chapter 124

 

Chapter 125

 

Chapter 126

 

Chapter 127

 

Chapter 128

 

Chapter 129

 

Chapter 130

 

Chapter 131

 

Chapter 132

 

Chapter 133

 

Epilogue

 

Also by Dan Brown

 

Copyright Page

 

 

 

 

FOR BLYTHE

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

My profound thanks to three dear friends with whom I have the great luxury of working: my editor, Jason Kaufman; my agent, Heide Lange; and my counselor, Michael Rudell. In addition, I would like to express my immense gratitude to Doubleday, to my publishers around the world, and, of course, to my readers.

 

This novel could not have been written without the generous assistance of countless individuals who shared their knowledge and expertise. To all of you, I extend my deep appreciation.

 

 

 

To live in the world without becoming

 

aware of the meaning of the world is

 

like wandering about in a great library

 

without touching the books.

 

The Secret Teachings
of All Ages

 

 

 

————————————

 

FACT:

 

In 1991, a document was locked in the safe of the director of the CIA. The document is still there today. Its cryptic text includes references to an ancient portal and an unknown location underground. The document also contains the phrase
“It’s buried out there somewhere.”

 

 

All organizations in this novel exist, including the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

 

 

All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real.

 

————————————

 

 

 

Prologue

 

House of the Temple

 

8:33 P.M.

 

The secret
is how to die.

 

Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.

 

The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.

 

Drink it,
he told himself.
You have nothing to fear.

 

As was tradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a “cable-tow” as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, he was dressed as a master.

 

The assembly of brothers encircling him all were adorned in their full regalia of lambskin aprons, sashes, and white gloves. Around their necks hung ceremonial jewels that glistened like ghostly eyes in the muted light. Many of these men held powerful stations in life, and yet the initiate knew their worldly ranks meant nothing within these walls. Here all men were equals, sworn brothers sharing a mystical bond.

 

As he surveyed the daunting assembly, the initiate wondered who on the outside would ever believe that this collection of men would assemble in one place . . . much less
this
place. The room looked like a holy sanctuary from the ancient world.

 

The truth, however, was stranger still.

 

I am just blocks away from the White House.

 

This colossal edifice, located at 1733 Sixteenth Street NW in Washington, D.C., was a replica of a pre-Christian temple—the temple of King Mausolus, the original
mausoleum . . .
a place to be taken after death. Outside the main entrance, two seventeen-ton sphinxes guarded the bronze
doors. The interior was an ornate labyrinth of ritualistic chambers, halls, sealed vaults, libraries, and even a hollow wall that held the remains of two human bodies. The initiate had been told every room in this building held a secret, and yet he knew no room held deeper secrets than the gigantic chamber in which he was currently kneeling with a skull cradled in his palms.

 

The Temple Room.

 

This room was a perfect square. And cavernous. The ceiling soared an astonishing one hundred feet overhead, supported by monolithic columns of green granite. A tiered gallery of dark Russian walnut seats with hand-tooled pigskin encircled the room. A thirty-three-foot-tall throne dominated the western wall, with a concealed pipe organ opposite it. The walls were a kaleidoscope of ancient symbols . . . Egyptian, Hebraic, astronomical, alchemical, and others yet unknown.

 

Tonight, the Temple Room was lit by a series of precisely arranged candles. Their dim glow was aided only by a pale shaft of moonlight that filtered down through the expansive oculus in the ceiling and illuminated the room's most startling feature—an enormous altar hewn from a solid block of polished Belgian black marble, situated dead center of the square chamber.

 

The secret is how to die,
the initiate reminded himself.

 

“It is time,” a voice whispered.

 

The initiate let his gaze climb the distinguished white-robed figure standing before him.
The Supreme Worshipful Master.
The man, in his late fifties, was an American icon, well loved, robust, and incalculably wealthy. His once-dark hair was turning silver, and his famous visage reflected a lifetime of power and a vigorous intellect.
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