The Da Vinci Code: Chapter 16

Summary: As Langdon reacts to Sophie’s revelation, she reflects on her relationship with Saunière, her grandfather. Although the two had been close when Sophie was younger, their relationship broke off when, a decade previously, Sophie discovered Saunière “engaged in something Sophie was obviously not supposed to see.” Only tonight had Sophie responded to one of her grandfather’s many attempts to reach out to her; and only because he believed she and he were in danger. He had also, in his message to her, told her that he could at last tell her the truth about her family. (Sophie’s mother and father, grandmother and younger brother died when their car went off a bridge.)  Sophie urges Langdon to flee. Langdon is reluctant, now knowing that Fache is looking for a reason to arrest him for Saunière’s murder. Sophie decides, however, that she must get Langdon to the United States Embassy.

Analysis: This chapter offers readers their first extended introduction to Sophie Neveu as a character. Brown uses foreshadowing to give us some tantalizing glimpses of Sophie’s past; he mentions elements we immediately understand will surface again, such as the circumstances of Sophie’s family’s death and the strange, as-yet unspecified nature of what Sophie accidentally discovered her grandfather doing ten years previously. Her decision to initiate Langdon’s escape, furthermore, helps establish her as a strong-willed, independent thinker—thus providing her much needed character development beyond her to-be-expected role as Langdon’s love interest.