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Free Study Guide for The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: BookNotes

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CHAPTERS 16 - 20


Sophie thinks about her broken relationship with her grandfather. Ten years ago Sophie witnessed something that made her decide to move out of her grandfather’s house and live alone. He sent her many letters and cards in an effort to explain himself, but Sophie ignored him. She told him never to call. In ten years he did not call once, except on the morning of his death. Saunière left a message on her answering machine stating that they were both in grave danger and he must tell her the truth about her family. Saunière pleaded that they must meet at once. Sophie’s parents, brother, and grandmother were killed in a car accident when she was a child. Saunière raised her.

Although Sophie was curious about the message, she thought it was a desperate attempt for Saunière to see her again. Sophie thinks about how Saunière inspired her to become a cryptographer with his own passion for word games and puzzles. Sophie tells Langdon that he must get to the U.S. Embassy because he needs protection from Fache. Sophie asks Langdon if there is anything else that might connect him to Saunière’s murder. Langdon says there is absolutely nothing. Sophie decides this means that Fache is lying.

Fache tells Collet he has just learned that the Cryptography Department did not send Sophie to the crime scene. The director told Fache that Sophie looked the picture of the body Fache sent and left. The director also told Fache that Saunière was Sophie’s grandfather. Suddenly, the alarm is sounded throughout the Louvre. From the GPS tracking device, it seems that Langdon has jumped out a window. Then, after a moment the red dot on Collet’s computer screen, indicating Langdon’s location, begins to move. It appears as if Langdon is in a car, speeding away. However, Langdon and Sophie are still in the building. Sophie has tricked Fache by placing the GPS tracking device in a bar of soap, which she threw out the window onto a truck.

Silas meets Sister Sandrine. He tells her that no tour of the church is necessary. Sister Sandrine asks Silas to close the door tightly as he leaves, but she is filled with dread. She wonders if this is the visitor she was warned about.

Meanwhile, Langdon and Sophie begin their escape from the Louvre. They talk over the clues left by Saunière. Sophie tells Langdon that all of the clues have special meaning to her. Sophie and Langdon discuss the divine proportion, also know as the number PHI. Sophie’s grandfather taught her about this phenomenon and Langdon frequently teaches it in his symbolism classes. Abruptly, Langdon realizes that the Fibonacci sequence found in Saunière’s message is a clue about how to read the next two lines--they are anagrams. The real message is: “Leonardo da Vinci/ The Mona Lisa!”


Chapter 20 concludes the exposition. By now we know most of the major characters and the main conflict. The protagonists are Sophie and Langdon and their major problem will be uncovering Saunière’s clues. Because this is a mystery/suspense novel, the antagonist will not become clear for a while. While the antagonist is typically presented in the exposition, part of the suspense in The Da Vinci Code is trying to figure out who is working against Sophie and Langdon.

It is important to recognize how Brown is pairing Langdon and Sophie in the plot. He will later discuss the essential balance found in female and male counterparts. Sophie and Langdon represent the necessary balance of female and male. In order to achieve resolution of the plot, they need each other.

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