Study Guide

The Da Vinci Code Chapter 1

By Dan Brown

Chapter 1

  • Robert Langdon's awoken by an unexpected phone call just after midnight. It's the Hotel Ritz Paris front desk, alerting him that he has a visitor.
  • Despite his efforts to politely decline (it's really late, he was asleep, and he didn't invite anyone over), the concierge insists that his visitor is a very important man and won't take no for an answer.
  • Langdon's assuming that his visitor's probably someone who's upset with that night's lecture: he'd presented on pagan symbolism hidden in Chartres Cathedral. Or maybe it's someone who recognizes him from his brush with disaster last year at the Vatican.
  • Recently, Boston Magazine published a really embarrassing piece about Langdon (calling him one of the city's top ten most intriguing people) which has made his reluctant celebrity status even worse.
  • The concierge calls back, just to let Langdon know that his visitor is on his way to his room. Yikes.
  • His "visitor" is Lieutenant Jérome Collet, of the Direction Centrale Police Judiciaire. (The DCPJ is like the French FBI. This is not good.)
  • Langdon wants to know why Collet's asking for his help with a private matter after midnight.
  • Collet hands Langdon a picture of Jacques Saunière. They had been supposed to meet for drinks after Langdon's lecture, but he'd never shown up. Now Robert knows why.
  • Saunière's body's positioned in a strange way, and there are symbols, too—which is why, combined with his name in Saunière's date book, the police have sought Langdon out.