Summary: Upon closer inspection of the crypt at the Temple Church, Sophie realizes that there are actually only nine carved knights; the last object is a sealed stone casket. Suspicious that the unexpected visitors are taking so much time, the altar boy investigates, and corrects Langdon when he speaks of the area as a “crypt.” He tells the visitors that there are no bodies buried beneath the stone effigies: a 1950 renovation revealed that the area is a “crypt” “only in outdated history books.” Teabing is appalled to learn this news, and seems to cling to the belief that the Temple Church still must be the location referred to in Saunière’s poem. Meanwhile, Rémy and Silas enter the church. Rémy forces the altar boy to leave at gunpoint.
Analysis: The 1950s renovation of the Temple Church which the altar boy mentions in this chapter (the church was not rededicated until 1958) was necessitated by the fact that on May 10, 1941, the last night of the Nazi “blitz” of Britain, the Temple Church was bombed. It strains credulity a bit much, even for a novel like Brown’s, to ask readers to believe that Teabing was unaware of what the renovation had uncovered, and that he would be relying, as the altar boy states, on “outdated history books” (p. 384). Brown may be presenting Teabing’s professed ignorance of the Temple Church’s true nature as one more twist in his complicated plot, or perhaps it is another clue from the author that Teabing, the supposed expert on all things related to the Sangreal, cannot be fully trusted. Certainly, Teabing seems genuinely surprised in the next chapter at Rémy’s betrayal of him.