Summary: Rémy meets with the Teacher in St. James’ Park and hands over the keystone. The Teacher and Rémy share drinks—and the Teacher has poisioned Rémy’s. The former manservant dies. Knowing the location to which Saunière’s puzzle refers, the Teacher drives to Westminster Abbey, where the tomb all are seeking awaits.
Analysis: The setting of this chapter in a park named for Saint James could be considered ironic, given James’ definition of true religion, discussed in the Analysis of the previous chapter. More importantly, however, this chapter gives readers (so far as they know!) their first glimpse of the Teacher in person, as opposed to a disembodied voice over the phone. Brown is careful, however, not to describe the Teacher in any definitive way. Where Rémy showed his face, the Teacher shows his face only to Rémy, not yet to the readers. We see instead that the Teacher surrounds himself with accoutrements of luxury—for example, he carries a flask of cognac, hardly what one what might expect to find upon the person of a spiritual leader. We also see the Teacher’s ruthlessness in poisoning Rémy. This turn of events affords Brown some chances to employ literary irony: “I will never be a servant again”; “Your identity shall go with me to the grave” (p. 414)—statements that prove truer than Rémy knows. Also, Brown marks the moment of Rémy’s death with a pointed, allusive reminder of the futility of the quest for personal gain: “As his world slowly went black, Rémy Legaludec could have sworn he heard the sounds of the soft Riviera surf” (p. 415)—a callback to the financial “freedom” (p. 414) Rémy had anticipated as reward for his service to the Teacher, but also an ironic juxtaposition bespeaking what the Bible calls “the wages of sin,” death— Rémy’s only true destination. For all its focus on byzantine conspiracies and esoteric symbols, The Da Vinci Code thus proves itself to be in many ways a conventional morality tale. Vice is ultimately punished; virtue is ultimately rewarded. It is as though the novel urges its readers: we are all invested in one quest or another. Be certain yours is the correct one.