Summary: Captain Fache escorts Langdon to the Louvre’s Grand Gallery, on the parquet floor of which Saunière’s corpse lay. Fache is surprised to learn not only that Langdon and Saunière never met, but also that Langdon did not know why Saunière had requested a meeting with him. Langdon can only presume that the meeting was to have been about the subject of his new book on the iconography of goddess worship. Langdon and Fache must squeeze beneath the iron security barricade that now separates the gallery from the rest of the museum.
Analysis: Although it contains much information about the Louvre’s security measures, this chapter’s main function is to establish Langdon as an expert in “the iconography of goddess worship—the concept of female sanctity and the art and symbols associated with it” (p. 25). Given one of the novel’s main “very unconventional interpretations” (p. 25)—that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers—the topic will, of course, prove relevant. Langdon has never met Saunière but knows him as “the premiere goddess iconographer on earth” (p. 25). As the novel unfolds, readers will discover that Saunière’s interest in the subject was more than academic. Further, the chapter gives us another example of Langdon’s encyclopedic knowledge of religious symbology when he recognizes Fache’s tie clip as a crux gemmata (a cross with 13 gems). Traces of the symbol have been found in ancient Christian baptisteries, separate buildings dedicated for the Sacrament of Baptism. (http:www.newadvent.org/cathen/02276b.htm). Finally, the chapter also establishes Langdon’s fear of enclosed spaces—a plot point that readers may fairly suspect will provide suspense as events unfold.