Summary: Langdon assures Teabing he is being framed for Jacques Saunière’s murder. Seemingly unconvinced, Teabing is about to show Langdon and Sophie out until Sophie reveals that they have new information about the Keystone. She tells Teabing that Saunière was both her grandfather and Priory Grand Master. Langdon tells Teabing that the other three members of the Brotherhood have been slain. Amazed at the audacity of the attack on the Priory, Teabing is convinced someone from the Church must have infiltrated the secret society in order to make the attack possible. If the Grail documents were to be unleashed upon the world—a move the Church has long expected the Priory to make, especially now around the turning of the millennium—the Church would, says Teabing, face an enormous crisis of faith among its members—surely motive enough for murder. Sophie shows Teabing her grandfather’s key, and she and Langdon reveal that they have not only seen the Keystone, but have retrieved and it and have stashed it under Teabing’s very own couch.
Meanwhile, outside the estate, Silas watches the conversation in secret, catching occasional references to the Keystone. He realizes it must be within. Determined not to fail in his mission a second time, mindful of his Teacher’s orders to hurt no one but to retrieve the Keystone, Silas readies his pistol and slips into Teabing’s estate.
Analysis: Aside from two brief scenes of drama and gathering peril involving Silas, this chapter focuses on Teabing’s reasoning as to why the Church would resort to murder of the Brotherhood in order to keep the history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and their blood line a secret. In a remarkably emotional speech—far more emotional than we have seen Teabing be to this point—the old researcher rhetorically acknowledges that the Church’s clergy would not feel threatened by documents they regard as false testimony, but “what about the rest of the world? What about those who are not blessed with absolute certainty? What about those who look at the cruelty in the world and say, where is God today? Those who look at Church scandals and ask, who are these men who claim to speak the truth about Christ and yet lie to cover up the sexual abuse of children by their own priests?” (p. 288). Teabing is voicing some common arguments against the existence of God and the holiness of the Church, but readers sense that he is also speaking for himself; thus, we are given another tantalizing clue as to his character and his true motivations. And so this chapter advances the central conflict in the novel: not the various skirmishes between Langdon and Sophie and their antagonists, but the ongoing struggle between the Church and the Priory—respectively, the forces of oppression and of freedom, of falsehood and truth, of power and love—to control history… and, in so doing, to control the future: “if the Church finds the Holy Grail, they will destroy it. The documents and the relics of the blessed Mary Magdalene as well… Then, my dear, with the Sangreal documents gone, all evidence will be lost. The Church will have won their age-old war to rewrite history. The past will be erased forever” (p. 290).