The Apotheosis of Washington—a 4,664-square-foot fresco that covers the canopy of the Capitol Rotunda — was
completed in 1865 by Constantino Brumidi.
Known as “The Michelangelo of the Capitol,” Brumidi had laid claim to the Capitol Rotunda in the same way Michelangelo had laid claim to the Sistine Chapel, by painting a fresco on the room‟s most lofty canvas— the ceiling.
Like Michelangelo, Brumidi had done some of his finest work inside the Vatican. Brumidi, however, immigrated to
America in 1852, abandoning God‟s largest shrine in favor of a new shrine, the U.S. Capitol, which now glistened with examples of his mastery—from the trompe l‟oeil of the Brumidi Corridors to the frieze ceiling of the Vice President‟s
Room. And yet it was the enormous image hovering above the Capitol Rotunda that most historians considered to be
Robert Langdon gazed up at the massive fresco that covered the ceiling. He usually enjoyed his students‟ startled
reactions to this fresco‟s bizarre imagery, but at the moment he simply felt trapped in a nightmare he had yet to understand.
Director Sato was standing next to him with her hands on her hips, frowning up at the distant ceiling. Langdon
sensed she was having the same reaction many had when they first stopped to examine the painting at the core of their
You’re not alone, Langdon thought. For most people, The Apotheosis of Washington got stranger and stranger the
longer they looked at it. “That‟s George Washington on the central panel,” Langdon said, pointing 180 feet upward into the middle of the dome. “As you can see, he‟s dressed in white robes, attended by thirteen maidens, and ascending on a
1cloud above mortal man. This is the moment of his apotheosis . . . his transformation into a god.”
Sato and Anderson said nothing.
2“Nearby,” Langdon continued, “you can see a strange, anachronistic series of figures: ancient gods presenting our forefathers with advanced knowledge. There‟s Minerva giving technological inspiration to our nation‟s great
inventors—Ben Franklin, Robert Fulton, Samuel Morse.” Langdon pointed them out one by one. “And over there is
Vulcan helping us build a steam engine. Beside them is Neptune demonstrating how to lay the transatlantic cable.
Beside that is Ceres, goddess of grain and root of our word cereal; she‟s sitting on the McCormick reaper, the farming
3breakthrough that enabled this country to become a world leader in food production. The painting quite overtly
portrays our forefathers receiving great wisdom from the gods.”
He lowered his head, looking at Sato now. “Knowledge is power, and the right knowledge lets man perform
miraculous, almost godlike tasks.”
Sato dropped her gaze back down to Langdon and rubbed her neck. “Laying a phone cable is a far cry from being
“Perhaps to a modern man,” Langdon replied. “But if George Washington knew that we had become a race that possessed the power to speak to one another across oceans, fly at the speed of sound, and set foot on our moon, he
would assume that we had become gods, capable of miraculous tasks.” He paused. “In the words of futurist Arthur C.
Clarke, „Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.‟ ”
Sato pursed her lips, apparently deep in thought. She glanced down at the hand, and then followed the direction of the outstretched index finger up into the dome. “Professor, you were told, „Peter will point the way.‟ Is that correct?”
“Yes, ma‟am, but—”
“Chief,” Sato said, turning away from Langdon, “can you get us a closer look at the painting?”
1 apotheosis /..,pothi'ousis/ n. (pl. -ses) 圣化; 神化 || 崇拜、颂扬 || 极点, 顶峰 >>> vt. 把...尊为神, 神化 || 崇拜, 颂扬 2 anachronism /..'n@kr..niz..m/ n. 弄错年代, 与时代不合的人或事 > anachronic /@n..'kronik/ adj. 时代错误的, 落伍过时的 3 overt /'ouv..t/ adj. 公开的, 公然的 an overt act【律】公然的犯罪行为 overt hostility 公开敌视 || (钱包等)开着的; (翅膀等)展开的
Anderson nodded. “There‟s a catwalk around the interior of the dome.” Langdon looked way, way up to the tiny
railing visible just beneath the painting and felt his body go rigid. “There‟s no need to go up there.” He had experienced
that seldom-visited catwalk once before, as the guest of a U.S. senator and his wife, and he had almost fainted from the
dizzying height and perilous walkway.
“No need?” Sato demanded. “Professor, we have a man who believes this room contains a portal that has the potential to make him a god; we have a ceiling fresco that symbolizes the transformation of a man into a god; and we have a hand pointing straight at that painting. It seems everything is urging us upward.”
4“Actually,” Anderson interjected, glancing up, “not many people know this, but there is one hexagonal coffer in
the dome that actually swings open like a portal, and you can peer down through it and—”
5“Wait a second,” Langdon said, “you‟re missing the point. The portal this man is looking for is a figurative
6portal—a gateway that doesn‟t exist. When he said, „Peter will point the way,‟ he was talking in metaphorical terms.
This pointing-hand gesture—with its index finger and thumb extended upward—is a well-known symbol of the Ancient
Mysteries, and it appears all over the world in ancient art. This same gesture appears in three of Leonardo da Vinci‟s
most famous encoded masterpieces—The Last Supper, Adoration of the Magi, and Saint John the Baptist. It‟s a symbol
of man‟s mystical connection to God.” As above, so below. The madman‟s bizarre choice of words was starting to feel
more relevant now.
“I‟ve never seen it before,” Sato said.
Then watch ESPN, Langdon thought, always amused to see professional athletes point skyward in gratitude to
God after a touchdown or home run. He wondered how many knew they were continuing a pre-Christian mystical tradition of acknowledging the mystical power above, which, for one brief moment, had transformed them into a god capable of miraculous feats.
“If it‟s of any help,” Langdon said, “Peter‟s hand is not the first such hand to make an appearance in this Rotunda.”
Sato eyed him like he was insane. “I beg your pardon?”
Langdon motioned to her BlackBerry. “Google „George Washington Zeus.‟ ”
Sato looked uncertain but started typing. Anderson inched toward her, looking over her shoulder intently. Langdon
Washington . . . depicted as a said, “This Rotunda was once dominated by a massive sculpture of a bare-chested George god. He sat in the same exact pose as Zeus in the Pantheon, bare chest exposed, left hand holding a sword, right hand
raised with thumb and finger extended.”
Sato had apparently found an online image, because Anderson was staring at her BlackBerry in shock. “Hold on,
that’s George Washington?”
“Yes,” Langdon said. “Depicted as Zeus.”
“Look at his hand,” Anderson said, still peering over Sato‟s shoulder. “His right hand is in the same exact position
as Mr. Solomon‟s.”
As I said, Langdon thought, Peter’s hand is not the first to make an appearance in this room. When Horatio
Greenough‟s statue of a naked George Washington was first unveiled in the Rotunda, many joked that Washington must be reaching skyward in a desperate attempt to find some clothes. As American religious ideals changed, however, the
78joking criticism turned to controversy, and the statue was removed, banished to a shed in the east garden. Currently,
it made its home at the Smithsonian‟s National Museum of American History, where those who saw it had no reason to
4 coffer n. 保险箱 || (pl)资金；财源；金库；国库 5 figurative /'figjur..tiv/ adj. 比喻的, 形容的 figurative expressions 比喻表达 || 象征性的 figurative ceremony 象征性的礼仪 6 metaphorical /met..'forikl/ adj. 隐喻的；比喻的 7 banish vt. 流放, 放逐, 驱逐 banish sb. from [out of] the country 把某人流放国外
消除, 排除(恐惧等) banish (sth.) from memory完全忘记 banished all our doubts and fears 消除所有的怀疑与恐惧
Banish that thought from your mind. 你不要那样想了。 81 2 shed n. (作贮藏室用的)棚屋, 小屋 > shed vt. 流; 淌 shed blood使流血; 杀害 shed tears ||〈动、植〉脱皮; 落叶; 褪毛
9suspect that it was one of the last vestigial links to a time when the father of the country had watched over the U.S. Capitol as a god . . . like Zeus watching over the Pantheon.
Sato began dialing a number on her BlackBerry, apparently seeing this as an opportune moment to check in with
her staff. “What have you got?” She listened patiently. “I see . . .” She glanced directly at Langdon, then at Peter‟s hand.
“You‟re certain?” She listened a moment longer. “Okay, thanks.” She hung up and turned back toward Langdon. “My
support staff did some research and confirms the existence of your so-called Hand of the Mysteries, corroborating
everything you said: five fingertip markings—the star, the sun, the key, the crown, and the lantern—as well as the fact
that this hand served as an ancient invitation to learn secret wisdom.”
“I‟m glad,” Langdon said.
“Don‟t be,” she replied curtly. “It appears we‟re now at a dead end until you share whatever it is you‟re still not
Sato stepped toward him. “We‟ve come full circle, Professor. You‟ve told me nothing I could not have learned from my own staff. And so I will ask you once more. Why were you brought here tonight? What makes you so special?
What is it that you alone know?”
“We‟ve been through this,” Langdon fired back. “I don‟t know why this guy thinks I know anything at all!”
Langdon was half tempted to demand how the hell Sato knew that he was in the Capitol tonight, but they‟d been
through that, too. Sato isn’t talking. “If I knew the next step,” he told her, “I‟d tell you. But I don‟t. Traditionally, the
Hand of the Mysteries is extended by a teacher to a student. And then, shortly afterward, the hand is followed up with a
set of instructions . . . directions to a temple, the name of the master who will teach you—something! But all this guy
left for us is five tattoos! Hardly—” Langdon stopped short.
Sato eyed him. “What is it?”
Langdon‟s eyes shot back to the hand. Five tattoos. He now realized that what he was saying might not be entirely true.
“Professor?” Sato pressed.
10Langdon inched toward the gruesome object. Peter will point the way.
“Earlier, it crossed my mind that maybe this guy had left an object clenched in Peter‟s palm—a map, or a letter, or
a set of directions.”
“He didn‟t,” Anderson said. “As you can see, those three fingers are not clenched tightly.”
“You‟re right,” Langdon said. “But it occurs to me . . .” He crouched down now, trying to see up under the fingers to the hidden part of Peter‟s palm. “Maybe it‟s not written on paper.”
“Tattooed?” Anderson said. Langdon nodded.
“Do you see anything on the palm?” Sato asked.
Langdon crouched lower, trying to peer up under the loosely clenched fingers. “The angle is impossible. I can‟t—”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Sato said, moving toward him. “Just open the damned thing!”
Anderson stepped in front of her. “Ma‟am! We should really wait for forensics before we touch—”
“I want some answers,” Sato said, pushing past him. She crouched down, edging Langdon away from the hand.
Langdon stood up and watched in disbelief as Sato pulled a pen from her pocket, sliding it carefully under the three
clenched fingers. Then, one by one, she pried each finger upward until the hand stood fully open, with its palm visible.
She glanced up at Langdon, and a thin smile spread across her face. “Right again, Professor.”
9 vestigial /ves'tidZi..l/ adj. 尚留有痕迹的 || (器官)发育不全的, 萎缩的, 退化的 10 gruesome /'gru:s..m/ adj. 可怕的, 令人毛骨悚然的 || 可憎的; 讨厌的; 使人恶心的
Pacing the library, Katherine Solomon pulled back the sleeve of her lab coat and checked her watch. She was not a
11woman accustomed to waiting, but at the moment, she felt as if her whole world were on hold. She was waiting for
Trish‟s search-spider results, she was waiting for word from her brother, and also, she was waiting for a callback from
the man who was responsible for this entire troubling situation.
I wish he hadn’t told me, she thought. Normally, Katherine was extremely careful about making new
acquaintances, and although she had met this man for the first time only this afternoon, he had earned her trust in a
matter of minutes. Completely.
His call had come this afternoon while Katherine was at home enjoying her usual Sunday-afternoon pleasure of
catching up on the week‟s scientific journals.
12“Ms. Solomon?” an unusually airy voice had said. “My name is Dr. Christopher Abaddon. I was hoping I might speak to you for a moment about your brother?”
“I‟m sorry, who is this?” she had demanded. And how did you get my private cell-phone number?
“Dr. Christopher Abaddon?” Katherine did not recognize the name.
The man cleared his throat, as if the situation had just become awkward. “I apologize, Ms. Solomon. I was under
the impression your brother had told you about me. I‟m his doctor. Your cell number was listed as his emergency contact.”
Katherine‟s heart skipped. Emergency contact? “Is something wrong?”
“No . . . I don‟t think so,” the man said. “Your brother missed an appointment this morning, and I can‟t reach him
on any of his numbers. He never misses appointments without calling, and I‟m just a little worried. I hesitated to phone you, but—”
“No, no, not at all, I appreciate the concern.” Katherine was still trying to place the doctor‟s name. “I haven‟t
spoken to my brother since yesterday morning, but he probably just forgot to turn on his cell.” Katherine had recently
given him a new iPhone, and he still hadn‟t taken the time to figure out how to use it.
“You say you‟re his doctor?” she asked. Does Peter have an illness he’s keeping from me?
There was a weighty pause on the line. “I‟m terribly sorry, but I‟ve obviously just made a rather serious professional error by calling you. Your brother told me you were aware of his visits to me, but now I see that‟s not the
My brother lied to his doctor? Katherine‟s concern was now growing steadily. “Is he sick?”
“I‟m sorry, Ms. Solomon, doctor-patient confidentiality precludes me from discussing your brother‟s condition,
and I‟ve already said too much by admitting he is my patient. I‟m going to hang up now, but if you hear from him today, please ask him to call me so I know he‟s okay.”
“Wait!” Katherine said. “Please tell me what‟s wrong with Peter!”
Dr. Abaddon exhaled, sounding displeased with his mistake. “Ms. Solomon, I can hear you‟re upset, and I don‟t
blame you. I‟m sure your brother is fine. He was in my office just yesterday.”
“Yesterday? And he‟s scheduled again today? This sounds urgent.”
The man heaved a sigh. “I suggest we give him a little more time before we—”
“I‟m coming by your office right now,” Katherine said, heading for the door. “Where are you located?” Silence.
“Dr. Christopher Abaddon?” Katherine said. “I can look up your address myself, or you can simply give it to me. Either way, I‟m coming over.”
The doctor paused. “If I meet with you, Ms. Solomon, would you please do me the courtesy of saying nothing to
11 on hold 中断, 打电话时短暂打断但仍接通的状态 had to put me on hold for five minutes. 不得不让我中断5分钟
[非正式] 悬念 had to put the romance on hold 得让那个故事有点悬念 12 airy adj. 空气(一样)的, 无形的 || 航空的 || 空中的, 耸立空中的 || 通风的 || 空虚的; 空想的, 不实际的
轻盈的, 轻佻的 || 优美的; 轻柔的 || 快活的, 轻快的 || [口]装腔作势的, 做作的 an airy tone 摆架子的声调
13your brother until I‟ve had a chance to explain my misstep?”
“Thank you. My office is in Kalorama Heights.” He gave her an address.
Twenty minutes later, Katherine Solomon was navigating the stately streets of Kalorama Heights. She had phoned
all of her brother‟s numbers with no reply. She did not feel overly concerned about her brother‟s whereabouts, and yet,
seeing a doctor . . . was troubling. the news that he was secretly
When Katherine finally located the address, she stared up at the building in confusion. This is a doctor’s office?
The opulent mansion before her had a wrought-iron security fence, electronic cameras, and lush grounds. As she
slowed to double-check the address, one of the security cameras rotated toward her, and the gate swung open.
Tentatively, Katherine drove up the driveway and parked next to a six-car garage and a stretch limo.
What kind of doctor is this guy?
As she got out of her car, the front door of the mansion opened, and an elegant figure drifted out onto the landing.
He was handsome, exceptionally tall, and younger than she had imagined. Even so, he projected the sophistication and
polish of an older man. He was impeccably dressed in a dark suit and tie, and his thick blond hair was immaculately
14“Ms. Solomon, I‟m Dr. Christopher Abaddon,” he said, his voice a breathy whisper. When they shook hands,
his skin felt smooth and well tended.
“Katherine Solomon,” she said, trying not to stare at his skin, which was unusually smooth and bronzed. Is he
15Katherine felt a growing disquiet as she stepped into the home‟s beautifully appointed foyer. Classical music played softly in the background, and it smelled as if someone had burned incense. “This is lovely,” she said, “although I
expected more of . . . an office.”
“I‟m fortunate to work out of my home.” The man led her into a living room, where there was a crackling fire.
“Please make yourself comfortable. I‟m just steeping some tea. I‟ll bring it out, and we can talk.” He strode toward
the kitchen and disappeared.
Katherine Solomon did not sit. Female intuition(/intju:'iSn/) was a potent instinct that she had learned to trust, and something about this place was making her skin crawl. She saw nothing that looked anything like any doctor‟s
office she had ever seen. The walls of this antique-adorned living room were covered with classical art, primarily
paintings with strange mythical themes. She paused before a large canvas depicting the Three Graces, whose nude
bodies were spectacularly rendered in vivid colors.
“That‟s the original Michael Parkes oil.” Dr. Abaddon appeared without warning beside her, holding a tray of steaming tea. “I thought we‟d sit by the fire?” He led her over to the living room and offered her a seat. “There‟s no
reason to be nervous.”
“I‟m not nervous,” Katherine said entirely too quickly.
He gave her a reassuring smile. “Actually, it is my business to know when people are nervous.” “I beg your
“I‟m a practicing psychiatrist, Ms. Solomon. That is my profession. I‟ve been seeing your brother for almost a year now. I‟m his therapist.”
Katherine could only stare. My brother is in therapy?
“Patients often choose to keep their therapy to themselves,” the man said. “I made a mistake by calling you,
although in my defense, your brother did mislead me.”
“I . . . I had no idea.”
13 misstep n. 失足; 失策, 错误 14 breathy /'brethi/ adj. -ier, -iest (声音)不清晰的：微弱的：带有喘息声的 15 disquiet /dis'kwai..t/ n. & vt. (使)不安, 忧虑, 烦恼 Her disquiet made us uneasy too. > disquieting adj. 令人不安的
“I apologize if I made you nervous,” he said, sounding embarrassed. “I noticed you studying my face when we met,
16and yes, I do wear makeup.” He touched his own cheek, looking self-conscious. “I have a dermatological condition,
which I prefer to hide. My wife usually puts the makeup on for me, but when she‟s not here, I have to rely on my own heavy touch.”
Katherine nodded, too embarrassed to speak.
17“And this lovely hair . . .” He touched his lush blond mane. “A wig. My skin condition affected my scalp follicles
18as well, and all my hair jumped ship.” He shrugged. “I‟m afraid my one sin is vanity.”
“Apparently mine is rudeness,” Katherine said.
19“Not at all.” Dr. Abaddon‟s smile was disarming. “Shall we start over? Perhaps with some tea?”
They sat in front of the fire and Abaddon poured tea. “Your brother got me in the habit of serving tea during our sessions. He said the Solomons are tea drinkers.”
“Family tradition,” Katherine said. “Black, please.”
They sipped their tea and made small talk for a few minutes, but Katherine was eager for information about her brother. “Why was my brother coming to you?” she asked. And why didn’t he tell me? Admittedly, Peter had endured
more than his fair share of tragedy in his life—losing his father at a young age, and then, within a span of five years,
then his mother. Even so, Peter had always found a way to cope. burying his only son and
Dr. Abaddon took a sip of tea. “Your brother came to me because he trusts me. We have a bond beyond that of normal patient and doctor.” He motioned to a framed document near the fireplace. It looked like a diploma, until Katherine spied the double-headed phoenix.
“You‟re a Mason?” The highest degree, no less.
“Peter and I are brothers of sorts.”
“You must have done something important to be invited into the thirty-third degree.”
“Not really,” he said. “I have family money, and I give a lot of money to Masonic charities.”
Katherine now realized why her brother trusted this young doctor. A Mason with family money, interested in philanthropy and ancient mythology?
Dr. Abaddon had more in common with her brother than she had initially imagined.
“When I asked why my brother came to you,” she said, “I didn‟t mean why did he choose you. I meant, why is he
20seeking the services of a psychiatrist?”
21Dr. Abaddon smiled. “Yes, I know. I was trying to sidestep the question politely. It‟s really not something I
should be discussing.” He paused. “Although I must say I‟m puzzled that your brother would keep our discussions from you, considering that they relate so directly to your research.”
“My research?” Katherine said, taken totally off guard. My brother talks about my research?
“Recently, your brother came to me looking for a professional opinion about the psychological impact of the
breakthroughs you are making in your lab.”
Katherine almost choked on the tea. “Really? I‟m . . . surprised,” she managed. What is Peter thinking? He told his shrink about my work?! Their security protocol involved not discussing with anyone what Katherine was working
on. Moreover, the confidentiality had been her brother‟s idea.
“Certainly you are aware, Ms. Solomon, that your brother is deeply concerned about what will happen when your
research goes public. He sees the potential for a significant philosophical shift in the world . . . and he came here to
discuss the possible ramifications . . . from a psychological perspective.”
16 dermatology /de:m..'tol..dZi/ n. 皮肤病学：皮肤学 17 follicle /'folikl/ n.【解】(小)囊, 滤泡, 卵泡 ||【植】follicle-stimulating hormone 促卵(成熟)激素 18 vanity n. (=vanity bag[case, box])(妇女随身携带的)小梳妆包; 梳妆台 vanity table 梳妆台 || 虚荣心 19 disarming adj. 使人消除警惕性[疑心], 使人不紧张的 20 psychiatry /sai'kai..tri/ n. 精神病学；精神病治疗法 > psychiatrist n. 精神病医生 21 sidestep n. 向旁边避让一步; (上、下车的)踏板 >>> vi., vt. (sidestepped; sidestepping)躲避(打击); 回避(困难、责任等)
“I see,” Katherine said, her teacup now shaking slightly.
“The questions we discuss are challenging ones: What happens to the human condition if the great mysteries of life
are finally revealed? What happens when those beliefs that we accept on faith . . . are suddenly categorically proven as fact? Or disproved as myth? One could argue that there exist certain questions that are best left unanswered.”
Katherine could not believe what she was hearing, and yet she kept her emotions in check. “I hope you don‟t mind,
Dr. Abaddon, but I‟d prefer not to discuss the details of my work. I have no immediate plans to make anything public.
For the time being, my discoveries will remain safely locked in my lab.”
“Interesting.” Abaddon leaned back in his chair, lost in thought for a moment. “In any event, I asked your brother to come back today because yesterday he suffered a bit of a break. When that happens, I like to have clients—”
“Break?” Katherine‟s heart was pounding. “As in breakdown?” She couldn‟t imagine her brother breaking down over anything.
Abaddon reached out kindly. “Please, I can see I‟ve upset you. I‟m sorry. Considering these awkward
circumstances, I can understand how you might feel entitled to answers.”
“Whether I‟m entitled or not,” Katherine said, “my brother is all I have left of my family. Nobody knows him better than I do, so if you tell me what the hell happened, maybe I can help you. We all want the same thing—what‟s
best for Peter.”
Dr. Abaddon fell silent for several long moments and then began slowly nodding as if Katherine might have a
point. Finally, he spoke. “For the record, Ms. Solomon, if I decide to share this information with you, I would do so
only because I think your insights might help me assist your brother.”
f course.” “O
Abaddon leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees. “Ms. Solomon, as long as I‟ve been seeing your brother,
I‟ve sensed in him a deep struggle with feelings of guilt. I‟ve never pressed him on it because that‟s not why he comes
to me. And yet yesterday, for a number of reasons, I finally asked him about it.” Abaddon locked eyes with her. “Your
brother opened up, rather dramatically and unexpectedly. He told me things I had not expected to hear . . . including
everything that happened the night your mother died.”
Christmas Eve—almost exactly ten years ago. She died in my arms.
“He told me your mother was murdered during a robbery attempt at your home? A man broke in looking for
something he believed your brother was hiding?”
Abaddon‟s eyes were appraising her. “Your brother said he shot the man dead?” “Yes.”
Abaddon stroked his chin. “Do you recall what the intruder was looking for when he broke into your home?”
Katherine had tried in vain for ten years to block out the memory. “Yes, his demand was very specific. Unfortunately, none of us knew what he was talking about. His demand never made sense to any of us.”
“Well, it made sense to your brother.” “What?” Katherine sat up.
“At least according to the story he told me yesterday, Peter knew exactly what the intruder was looking for. And
yet your brother did not want to hand it over, so he pretended not to understand.”
“That‟s absurd. Peter couldn‟t possibly have known what the man wanted. His demands made no sense!”
know. Your “Interesting.” Dr. Abaddon paused and took a few notes. “As I mentioned, however, Peter told me he did
brother believes if he had only cooperated with the intruder, maybe your mother would be alive today. This decision is
the source of all his guilt.”
Katherine shook her head. “That‟s crazy . . .”
Abaddon slumped, looking troubled. “Ms. Solomon, this has been useful feedback. As I feared, your brother seems to have had a little break with reality. I must admit, I was afraid this might be the case. That‟s why I asked him to
come back today. These delusional episodes are not uncommon when they relate to traumatic memories.”
Katherine shook her head again. “Peter is far from delusional, Dr. Abaddon.” “I would agree, except . . .”
“Except that his recounting of the attack was just the beginning . . . a tiny fraction of the long and far-fetched tale
he told me.”
Katherine leaned forward in her seat. “What did Peter tell you?”
Abaddon gave a sad smile. “Ms. Solomon, let me ask you this. Has your brother ever discussed with you what he
elieves is hidden here in Washington, D.C. . . . or the role he believes he plays in protecting a great treasure . . . of lost b
Katherine‟s jaw fell open. “What in the world are you talking about?”
Dr. Abaddon heaved a long sigh. “What I am about to tell you will be a bit shocking, Katherine.” He paused and
locked eyes with her. “But it will be immeasurably helpful if you can tell me anything you may know about it.” He
reached for her cup. “More tea?”
Langdon crouched anxiously beside Peter‟s open palm and examined the seven tiny symbols that had been hidden beneath the lifeless clenched fingers.
“They appear to be numbers,” Langdon said, surprised. “Although I don‟t recognize them.” “The first is a Roman
22numeral,” Anderson said.
“Actually, I don‟t think so,” Langdon corrected. “The Roman numeral I-I-I-X doesn‟t exist. It would be written V-I-I.”
“How about the rest of it?” Sato asked.
“I‟m not sure. It looks like eight-eight-five in Arabic numbers.” “Arabic?” Anderson asked. “They look like
“Our normal numbers are Arabic.” Langdon had become so accustomed to clarifying this point for his students
that he‟d actually prepared a lecture about the scientific advances made by early Middle Eastern cultures, one of them
being our modern numbering system, whose advantages over Roman numerals included „positional notation‟ and the
invention of the number zero. Of course, Langdon always ended this lecture with a reminder that Arab culture had also
given mankind the word al-kuhl—the favorite beverage of Harvard freshmen—known as alcohol.
Langdon scrutinized the tattoo, feeling puzzled. “And I‟m not even sure about the eight-eight-five. The rectilinear writing looks unusual. Those may not be numbers.”
“Then what are they? Sato asked.
23“I‟m not sure. The whole tattoo looks almost . . . runic.” “Meaning?” Sato asked.
“Runic alphabets are composed solely of straight lines. Their letters are called runes and were often used for
carving in stone because curves were too difficult to chisel.”
“If these are runes,” Sato said, “what is their meaning?”
Langdon shook his head. His expertise extended only to the most rudimentary runic alphabet—Futhark—a
third-century Teutonic system, and this was not Futhark. “To be honest, I‟m not even sure these are runes. You‟d need
to ask a specialist. There are dozens of different forms—Hälsinge, Manx, the „dotted‟ Stungnar—”
“Peter Solomon is a Mason, is he not?”
22 numeral adj. 数的; 表示数的; 代表数目的 >>> n. 数字 the Arabic numerals 阿拉伯数字 the Roman numerals 23 rune /ru:m/ n. 古代北欧文字 || 神秘的符号 > runic adj. 古代北欧文字的
Langdon did a double take. “Yes, but what does that have to do with this?” He stood up now, towering over the
“You tell me. You just said that runic alphabets are used for stone carvings, and it is my understanding that the
original Freemasons were stone craftsmen. I mention this only because when I asked my office to search for a connection between the Hand of the Mysteries and Peter Solomon, their search returned one link in particular.” She
paused, as if to emphasize the importance of her finding. “The Masons.”
Langdon exhaled, fighting the impulse to tell Sato the same thing he constantly told his students: “Google” is not
synonym for “research.” In these days of massive, worldwide keyword searches, it seemed everything was linked to a
everything. The world was becoming one big entangled web of information that was getting denser every day.
Langdon maintained a patient tone. “I‟m not surprised the Masons appeared in your staff‟s search. Masons are a
24very obvious link between Peter Solomon and any number of esoteric topics.”
“Yes,” Sato said, “which is another reason I have been surprised this evening that you have not yet mentioned the Masons. After all, you‟ve been talking about secret wisdom protected by an enlightened few. That sounds very Masonic, does it not?”
“It does . . . and it also sounds very Rosicrucian, Kabbalistic, Alumbradian, and any number of other esoteric groups.”
“But Peter Solomon is a Mason—a very powerful Mason, at that. It seems the Masons would come to mind if we were talking about secrets. Heaven knows the Masons love their secrets.”
Langdon could hear the distrust in her voice, and he wanted no part of it. “If you want to know anything about the
Masons, you would be far better served to ask a Mason.”
“Actually,” Sato said, “I‟d prefer to ask someone I can trust.” Langdon found the comment both ignorant and
record, ma‟am, the entire Masonic philosophy is built on honesty and integrity. Masons are among offensive. “For the
the most trustworthy men you could ever hope to meet.”
“I have seen persuasive evidence to the contrary.”
Langdon was liking Director Sato less and less with each passing moment. He had spent years writing about the Masons‟ rich tradition of metaphorical iconography and symbols, and knew that Masons had always been one of the most unfairly maligned and misunderstood organizations in the world. Regularly accused of everything from devil worship to plotting a one-world government, the Masons also had a policy of never responding to their critics, which made them an easy target.
“Regardless,” Sato said, her tone biting, “we are again at an impasse, Mr. Langdon. It seems to me there is either
something you are missing . . . or something you are not telling me. The man we‟re dealing with said that Peter
Solomon chose you specifically.” She leveled a cold stare at Langdon. “I think it‟s time we move this conversation to
CIA headquarters. Maybe we‟ll have more luck there.”
Sato‟s threat barely registered with Langdon. She had just said something that had lodged in his mind. Peter
Solomon chose you. The comment, combined with the mention of Masons, had hit Langdon strangely. He looked down at the Masonic ring on Peter‟s finger. The ring was one of Peter‟s most prized possessions—a Solomon family
heirloom that bore the symbol of the double-headed phoenix—the ultimate mystical icon of Masonic wisdom. The
gold glinted in the light, sparking an unexpected memory.
Langdon gasped, recalling the eerie whisper of Peter‟s captor: It really hasn’t dawned on you yet, has it? Why you
Now, in one terrifying moment, Langdon‟s thoughts snapped into focus and the fog lifted. All at once, Langdon‟s
purpose here was crystal clear.
Ten miles away, driving south on Suitland Parkway, Mal‟akh heard a distinctive vibration on the seat beside him.
24 esoteric /,esoterik/ adj. 深奥的; 难解的 Some words are really too esoteric for this dictionary有些单词实在太生僻了,未收入本词典
It was Peter Solomon‟s iPhone, which had proven a powerful tool today. The visual caller ID now displayed the image
of an attractive middle-aged woman with long black hair.
INCOMING CALL—KATHERINE SOLOMON
Mal‟akh smiled, ignoring the call. Destiny pulls me closer.
He had lured Katherine Solomon to his home this afternoon for one reason only—to determine if she had
information that could assist him . . . perhaps a family secret that might help Mal‟akh locate what he sought. Clearly, however, Katherine‟s brother had told her nothing of what he had been guarding all these years.
Even so, Mal‟akh had learned something else from Katherine. Something that has earned her a few extra hours of life today. Katherine had confirmed for him that all of her research was in one location, safely locked inside her lab.
I must destroy it.
Katherine‟s research was poised to open a new door of understanding, and once the door was opened even a crack,
others would follow. It would just be a matter of time before everything changed. I cannot let that happen. The world must stay as it is . . . adrift in ignorant darkness.
The iPhone beeped, indicating Katherine had left a voice mail. Mal‟akh retrieved it.
“Peter, it‟s me again.” Katherine‟s voice sounded concerned. “Where are you? I‟m still thinking about my conversation with Dr. Abaddon . . . and I‟m worried. Is everything okay? Please call me. I‟m at the lab.”
The voice mail ended.
Mal‟akh smiled. Katherine should worry less about her brother, and more about herself. He turned off Suitland
Parkway onto Silver Hill Road. Less than a mile later, in the darkness, he spotted the faint outline of the SMSC nestled in the trees off the highway to his right. The entire complex was surrounded by a high razor-wire fence.
A secure building? Mal‟akh chuckled to himself. I know someone who will open the door for me.
The revelation crashed over Langdon like a wave.
I know why I am here.
Standing in the center of the Rotunda, Langdon felt a powerful urge to turn and run away . . . from Peter‟s hand,
from the shining gold ring, from the suspicious eyes of Sato and Anderson. Instead, he stood dead still, clinging more
tightly to the leather daybag that hung on his shoulder. I’ve got to get out of here.
His jaw clenched as his memory began replaying the scene from that cold morning, years ago in Cambridge.
25It was six A.M. and Langdon was entering his classroom as he always did following his ritual morning laps in
the Harvard Pool. The familiar smells of chalk dust and steam heat greeted him as he crossed the threshold. He took
two steps toward his desk but stopped short.
26A figure was waiting there for him—an elegant gentleman with an aquiline face and regal gray eyes. “Peter?”
Langdon stared in shock.
Peter Solomon‟s smile flashed white in the dimly lit room. “Good morning, Robert. Surprised to see me?” His
voice was soft, and yet there was power there.
Langdon hurried over and warmly shook his friend‟s hand. “What in the world is a Yale blue blood doing on the Crimson campus before dawn?”
251 lap n. (人坐着时)大腿的朝上部分 drop sth. into sb.'s lap 把某事推到某人身上, 把某事交由某人负责
in fortune's lap(=in the lap of Fortune) 走运, 运气好 in nature's lap 在大自然的怀抱里
in the lap of luxury 在奢侈的环境中 in the lap of the gods 在神的掌管之中, (结果)难以预料
sit in the lap of(throw oneself into the lap of) 投入...的怀抱里; 投靠 Everything falls into one's lap事事如意 2lap n. 重叠的量 || (赛跑等的)一圈, 计划或行动的一部分a six lap race 六圈的赛跑 last lap (行程或时间的)最后阶段 3lap vt., vi. 舔, 舐 The dog lapped its water (up). (海浪)轻轻拍击 The sea lapped against the rocks.
lap up 欣然接受 Lap up sunshine, knowledge, company 热切地渴望阳光、知识、伴侣 26 aquiline /'@kwilain/ adj. 鹰的, 似鹰的 || (象鹰嘴那样)弯曲的, 钩状的 an aquiline nose 鹰钩鼻