When We Were Orphans

London 24/Jul./1930, but starts in the Summer of 1923, where the Narrator has gone against his Aunt’s wishes to return to Shropshire, rents a flat in Kensington, and being quite happy by himself. During a stroll he meets an old school chum, James Osbourne and invites him to come by sometime. The Narrator, or Christopher Banks (as we learn later in the chapter) describes his quaint accommodations, and when Osbourne comes by one morning, Christopher is able to entertain him without it seeming he were his first guest (which he was). Osbourne compliments his room, they catching up on their classmates lives, as well as their own. Then they have an intellectual discussion about German philosophy, showing off either’s studies from different schools, Osbourne then sharing his plans for his career, unbelieving Christopher hadn’t an idea what he’d do yet. He then alluding to having an inkling and would confide further when they developed. Near noon Osbourne readies to leave, then remembering to invite Christopher to a party for a well-known man, Christopher at first not answering and then agreeing after a candid thought from Osbourne about what he was like in school bringing some bitterness. Then a flashback of the moment Osbourne must have been referring is shown, and Christopher having finally asked about Osbourne’s “well connectedness”. Christopher goes into why Osbourne’s evaluation of he being a bit of a fish out of water, bothered him, since he hadn’t felt like he stuck out at all. He didn’t make obvious his interest in private investigating crime, which was also why he didn’t share his career plans with Osbourne.

Although, it becomes clear Christopher may have been more transparent than he realized, when a birthday present from his school chums revealed a case with a magnifying glass inside. The boys fates are shared after this, both dying young, one from war, the other, illness. The only other instance of his ambitions being noted amongst classmates, being when he’d walked into the middle of a conversation about himself which a boy had broken the silence upon his entering, of he not seeming a Sherlock type. The last moment being an overheard discussion between his Aunt and her friends, she deciding she would nip his flightiness in the bud when seeing him using his over-active imagination playing a game he used to play with a boy called Akira. After, Christopher notes his discomfort by Osbourne’s words were only momentary and goes for a walk soon after, he imagining some of the people who could be at the party could possibly including some well-known detectives and fantasized they would take a paternal interest in his career. Whilst his attendance of the night’s coming party would be fruitful, not so much when regarding the anti-social habits of detectives. Instead, the “well-connected” people Osbourne referred were from the business and government-based world. Christopher was flustered with his feeling out of place, and when finally separating from Osbourne, meets an older gentleman whom offers to identify some of the people there, the man noticing Christopher’s attention being captured by a young woman, not for her beauty (oh, no), but because of certain characteristics and body language which suggested a dark underbelly, which intrigued him.

The man, whilst being thorough with names and occupations of others in the room, only provided a name for the lady, Sarah Hastings, they moving on and the man inquiring about what sort of career Christopher was aiming, after the man learns this, he attempts to advise a back up career due to how flighty dreams tend to float away. After not learning much after, Osbourne was able to shed a little more light on Sarah’s history, most recently her ending an engagement. As Christopher attended more hoity-toity functions, his list of facts of Sarah grew, she an opinionated, celebrity-seeking sort. He continued to follow her movements, until finally getting a chance to speak with her two years later. Once he’d made one headline, he felt confident enough to approach her in a hotel they’d both been occupying the dining area of, he officially introducing himself. She wasn’t particularly receptive, and he felt like a rube when leaving her, questioning whether his friends had been taking the piss when congratulating him. He did come to learn he’d been taking interest in a social way he shouldn’t concern himself with, from then on focusing on learning more about previous detectives and how they came to their own notoriety.

Christopher then mentions a chance meeting with a Colonel Chamberlain, whom he’d known when he was a boy, this occurring a couple months after Sarah had embarrassed him. They both were in a small bookstore and the man stood next to him for some time before Christopher looked up and recognized him. They chatted a bit, he noting how timid and uncomfortable Chamberlain seemed compared to his memories. When they were readying to part, Christopher offers to entertain him at a nice restaurant the next night, he having to push fairly hard for Chamberlain to agree. When they met on the designated night, Christopher does what he’d planned, aiming to impress the Colonel, the man referring to the last time they’d spent time with each other being on a ship, Christopher’s change, obvious to the way he’d been back then. Christopher flashes back to his journey from Shanghai, Chamberlain in the room as his voyage is discussed. Then his parents fates are alluded to, causing his journey to England, but he not wanting to leave since the “best detectives in Shanghai” were on the case to locate his missing parents, not thinking he’d need to be sent away in the likelihood they’d succeed. Chamberlain regards the boy’s words as a possibility, but thinks perhaps he should go anyways and his parents will decide to move with him, the Colonel listening soberly to Christopher recounting his memories. He in turn shares his own, seeming to almost say something which conveyed the odd nature of his parents going missing, but then Christopher gets caught up on how he’d been perceived, again, he only recalling one occasion he actually could’ve been a “sniveling little squirt”, but the Colonel presuming the whole voyage had been rife with these qualities.

As their night of reminiscences ended, Christopher felt insouciant toward the man, most likely due to the circumstances of their meeting, feeling only a minor amount of guilt when hearing of the Colonel’s death a year later. Then back to listing his minor encounters with Sarah, the next a few more years down the road, another high profile case under his belt, and testing a walk-by near her as he left. He plays at not caring about her reaction much, due to his busy life and only beginning to experience his notoriety, he truly making a name for himself about a year later. He claims he would’ve forgotten Sarah completely if not for bumping into Joseph Turner, whom invites him to a dinner party which he declined in attending, Joseph mentioning how Sarah had asked after him, she then discovering him after he’d heard similar stories from other friends. She accosts him in the middle of his examination of a pond, where the victim of his current case had been found in. Her reasons for being there were in relation to she knowing the family of the victim, and after talking back and forth she shares how, if Christopher succeeded in pointing out the culprit, the town would be so grateful, they’d make Christopher a legend. After this buttering up, Sarah asks to be invited to a social function as Christopher’s guest, he passive-aggressively denying her after making an excuse and then she referring to them as ‘such good friends’, apparently taking the cake since Christopher was well aware what they were and weren’t.

Christopher detected the mystery behind the death of the man murdered, he not giving much thought to Sarah’s statement of meeting him at the dinner. She living up to her word, though, Christopher entertaining her flattering small talk until being no longer amused by it, but not showing this change in attitude, instead disengaging her arm from his, she approaching him again to deny he’d ditch her in such a way, but he also living up to his actions, walking off. Only after being in the room fifteen minutes does Christopher notice Sarah had made it to the check-in area, she attempting to be allowed in. Eventually she gets her way, Christopher being sure to stay away from her whilst feeling somewhat guilty for his inaction, but after noticing a genuine smile from her, he thinks perhaps she had no hard feelings for having succeeded in her goal to attend. Christopher also had his chance to speak with the guest of honor, he finally taking a moment to ask if he’d met an Akira Yamashita during his visit to Shanghai, the diplomat confirming he hadn’t. When Sarah appeared, Christopher makes up an excuse to leave, and moves off. Later, he runs into her again on a balcony, she stating the greatness of the night she’d had, the two having a somewhat enlightening chat about Sarah’s needs and intentions for why she felt it obligatory she be present there, it stemming from discovering a man whom planned on helping the world be greater, Christopher not holding her actions against her since now having a better understanding of her, especially after she mentioned his childhood buddy Akira, throwing him off, he leaving her there, only considering momentarily to offer his accompaniment out.

Then 15/May/1931, in London, Christopher remembers an argument Akira and he had over the word ‘chip’ and Akira meaning ‘chap’, he having started his English lessons and was too proud to give in. When they next hang out together, Christopher had pretty much forgotten the argument until Akira called him chap, Christopher not pressing the issue, he stating whilst he believed he was the more intelligent of the two, Akira had more experience beyond the Settlement where they resided, Christopher not having been in the true city of Shanghai, but protected within the International colony boundaries, Akira confessing stories of his gruesome experiences. When sharing one with his mother, he didn’t like her response of disproving the tale so from then on kept them to himself, Akira acting reverentially toward his mother, he deciphering why this could be possibly having to do with a time the health inspector came to their house. When Akira came by after the inspector, the two moved indoors to Christopher’s playroom, the two halting their game when hearing his mother and the inspector raising their voices near the room. The two witnessed as Christopher’s mother defended the integrity of their loyal servants regardless of the city they came from having an outbreak of opium addiction, Akira seeming to have gotten a strong impression of his mother during this argument. Christopher then remembers his mother’s part in opposing the company they worked for over their small-minded policies. He then regards his decision to confide in Sarah about Akira no longer bothering him. Another chance meeting is related when both were invited to a mutual buddy’s lunch, it going fine until one of the ladies eventually gets everyone’s attention over giving advice about how to deal with her mother, Sarah leaving when the topic stuck, Christopher following to learn of a painful realization from Sarah about her own mother, the two then going on a double-decker bus, enjoying the ride, he not having gone before since being overwhelmed by being transported somewhere he didn’t know and getting lost by himself. They spoke of random, pleasant topics, he divulging more about Akira without meaning to, but in the end wondering if his memories of Shanghai were as exact as he thought, believing a question he originally believed was posed to the health inspector, now could have been directed at his father during a verbal dispute between his parents.

Whether this was before or after the health inspector’s visit, Christopher couldn’t remember, but he was studying in an anteroom which was used as a library, when he heard his parents arguing, he attempts to hear more, but only deciphers phrases when they forgot to keep their voices lowered. Christopher then hears the same phrase his mother used, it seeming to fit better with the other snippets more so than her argument with the inspector’s, but who knows. After this argument, it stayed cold between his parents for longer than normal, and during a chat with Akira at his home, which was uniquely mixed Japanese with Western style, Christopher posed his question to him, whom had an interesting take on the reason parents didn’t talk to each other, it connected to the child not living up to their heritage, and how the child’s part was being the glue to the family staying together, Christopher having the opportunity to speak with his Uncle Philip on the subject. He shares of Philip not being a blood relative, but a family friend whom had worked at the same company for a number of years before leaving and starting an organization to help the conditions of the Chinese sections of the city. Uncle Philip helped ease his mind a bit over his becoming more English for his parents.

The same summer, Akira was wearing down his likability by constantly bragging of Japan’s greatness compared to English, this happening more since his upcoming enrollment in a Japanese school, by the time he had to leave, Christopher not feeling bad to see him go. At least not until starting to hang out with some other English boys he would periodically chum around with and they making him feel like the odd man out when there school friends came along, Christopher the only one whom goes to a different school. He relates some important memories of the fall during Akira’s transfer, one regarding a day on one of his mother’s meetings, Uncle Philip in attendance, and when the meeting had ended, his mother and Philip staying behind to pore over some papers until his father entered (he not joining these meetings) and began conversing amiably with Philip, Christopher’s mother leaving the room looking peeved. Later, Philip offers they should go to the racecourse, and whilst nine-year-old Christopher was aware he was the sole one to decide whether he, his mother, and Philip would go, or stay with his father, he ended up being coaxed to decide to go, with his mother’s influence. Christopher then remembers an out of the ordinary mannerism uncommon to his father, he bragging about himself, once around the dinner table, the second when they were all attending a brass band playing in the park, both times essentially ignored by his mother, but Christopher made aware of another memory with an incident his father alluded to him whilst the band played, he remembering of a day when he and his mother were near his father’s study naming the vessels in pictures on the wall when his mother stopped and abruptly opened the door where they both viewed his father slouched over his desk, he speaking loudly about the being stuck there and wouldn’t be able to return to England. Other than his father’s odd speech, nothing much of interest happened during the fall or winter until Christopher received the news from a servant of Akira’s return.

Christopher learned Akira wouldn’t be returning to his new school, but would continue at his old one, which made Christopher happy. Akira refrained from speaking of his time at his new school, the two picking up where they’d left off, but Christopher witnessing a change in character when the boys were playing and Akira had noticed a tear in his kimono, he becoming withdrawn over the “bad thing” he’d caused, believing his parents would send him back to Japan, where Christopher soon learned and sensed the extent of Akira’s being singled out by school staff and students, as well as the family he had stayed with, so much so, his parents had taken him out of school in the middle of term. What also caused Akira apprehension was knowing he was the only one wanting to remain in Shanghai, his sister and parents wishing to move to Japan. The torn sleeve didn’t cause such a dire repercussion as Akira feared, but as he continued to make small mistakes during the next few months, Christopher comes to the “robbery” incident which had brought Sarah’s curiosity on their bus ride. First is explained how Akira reacted with fear toward one of his family’s longest employed servants, Ling Tien, Christopher not asking why Akira hid whenever the man passed them any longer. When they got older, Akira shared the man’s obsession with severed hands, human and ape, alike. Ling apparently having discovered how to change the hands into spiders. After this, the eight-year-old Akira would periodically dare Christopher to get closer to Ling’s room. Akira would go as far as he could and then had Christopher do the same, he not having much fun when going to Akira’s house because of this. The two finally reach Akira’s goal of entering Ling’s room when they are ten, they stealing something which the two didn’t consider the repercussions, this also being Christopher’s last year in Shanghai, unbeknownst to him, yet. On the day they finally enter the room, Akira waited for the maid to fall asleep downstairs, the boys going into the room, and Akira claiming the spiders were in a chest, the lotion on the side table, magic, the longer they lingered, the more Christopher became paranoid they’d be seen. Akira swipes the bottle, and the boys hasten out, they proceeding to test the lotion, and Akira hiding it with other treasured belongings before putting it back.

The next day when Akira came to Christopher’s house, he looked bothered, Christopher not asking, but once doing so, Akira shares of having confided in his sister of their deed, she worrying him with further claims of previous people disappearing for attempting the same, and Akira not having the guts to put the lotion back, Ling coming back in three days. Akira was visibly upset, but Christopher placates him with putting the bottle away the way they’d taken it, Akira looking relieved. They make plans to meet up the next day, late afternoon, Christopher remembering partially how his father left for work, his mother going out, and he lunching with the maid before biding his time until three. After climbing a tree higher than he ever had, he goes home to check the hour, finding his mother out front speaking with policemen, his mother relating this to him when she came in to instruct he wait for her within the library, his father not having arrived at his office. By the time his mother came in to inform him of the police searching for his father, and he may well turn up by dinner, it was too late to help Akira with returning the lotion, Christopher peeved by being waylaid and knowing Akira would be mad. Christopher’s mother had from then on showed moments of aloofness in the coming weeks and offhandedly spoke of Christopher, on the subject of his father, being “proud of what he’s done”.

The next few days Christopher contemplates what he’d say to Akira when he saw him next, finally hearing him riding his sister’s bicycle, Christopher approaching and blatantly apologizing, but couldn’t confess his father missing, instead retreating back to his home. Another few days pass, when Akira comes to call for Christopher to play, he realizing he’d heard about his father. Then Christopher remembers a chat with his mother after this in relation to the statistics his father was safe and to stay optimistic. Akira and Christopher’s imaginative game plays of detective search for Christopher’s father would ensue. He then mentions this would continue during his first days in England. Christopher, after a month finally is told what happened with Ling’s bottle, Akira owing his sister, now, he then asking if Christopher would have to go back to England, he sure his mother wouldn’t want to return without his father. Christopher also shares a memory which at first he believed had no bearing on his parents’ disappearance, but upon the recollection resurfacing, sees it in a new light, he having the motivation to continue the search himself someday, but he being too busy to take the time off. When he’d requested more information on the opium trade from his source in Shanghai, he receives a newspaper clipping with picture, he believing he recognized one of the men, remembering later the man had come to their home a few weeks after his father had gone missing. Next he heard his mother shouting insults at the man as he retreated to his car. Christopher not entirely certain the man in the picture and the one whom came to his home were the same, but his face and the events implying it was (those particular pieces of information seem more sound than Ishiguro attempts to let on, oddly). He now thinks this information would enlighten him to what happened, and where his parents were now.

Christopher then confides what his young self suspiciously supposed Uncle Philip had in common with the man whom came by, which brought into what had ended up happening to their relationship, Christopher having decided to go with his Uncle Philip one day, he having amped up his anxious watchful eye on his mother, and believing she was safe with him, the two calling for him and Uncle Philip asking if he was interested in going off to acquire an accordion, Philip’s behavior odd, but not worryingly so to Christopher, even after being told to wave to his mother a second time, and Philip’s silence on the ride. When Philip stops the carriage and explains they’d walk, Christopher realizes, especially after Philip mentions of not wanting to have him get hurt, but sounding disappointed after Christopher responded of knowing where they were, Philip dashes of, and Christopher runs for home. He discovers no on, but Mei Li, crying at Christopher’s work table, he disgusted by she not having any power to control the situation which had occurred. Christopher, now having finished putting down his recollections, considers when he does return to Shanghai, all the places Akira would show him, then thinking of the work he’d need to make up for due to his bus ride with Sarah.

London, 12/April/1937 – By this time, Christopher’s Aunt has died and left him an inheritance with which he bought a house. A Miss Givens with a young lady, Jennifer have come back from shopping, and Christopher is gladdened by a letter he’s been sent. When he does finally go down to greet them properly, Jennifer makes clear Christopher is an Uncle figure, Miss Givens playing a household role, but not the maid, whom had recently concluded working for Christopher. Soon it’s hinted Miss Givens is a guardian of Jennifer. Then Christopher goes back to explain how he’d discovered Jennifer through Osbourne three years back. Christopher was speaking with one of the guests of her charity work with orphans and mentioned Jennifer’s “situation”, after everyone was ready to leave, he informs the woman he’d like to help her, if not take her in himself (her story similar to his own). After a few meetings, Jennifer is delivered to his home, she having an opinion on the nanny to be hired for her. Jennifer also reminded Christopher of himself, she being wise beyond her years and positive in the odds of negativity ( perhaps on the lofty side for attributes to Christopher, I still feel he’s made up some nice, cool moments for himself during his childhood). Christopher then began planning a trip of indeterminate length, spurring him on being a perceived coldness he sensed from those he spoke with, a relation to a case of dead children and the inspector’s reaction to Christopher’s conclusion and support in the strength it took to work the sort of jobs they had. Another memory of a lecture and subsequent conversation between he and a clergyman he’d recently worked with about the larger issues in Shanghai outweighing much of England’s current issues. Christopher recalls many similar situations, one other involving Sarah at a wedding they’d both attended.

The wedding took place over a year previous, Christopher seeing Sir Cecil Medhurst, whom now was married to Sarah, entering the church, and after the ceremony, Sarah approaches, this having also been quite awhile since they’d spoken, she inviting him to visit with them some time. She then relating it would most likely need to happen after their trip to the Far East, later on she divulging they were going to Shanghai, Christopher seeing this as the push he required to make real his plans to go back. Christopher speaks with Miss Givens of his plans, he deciding to break the news to Jennifer himself. He reminisces his first visit with Jennifer at her new school to deliver what he’d found of her missing luggage, and only hopes his next visit won’t be too difficult for her.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 20/Sept./1937 – Christopher relates how different Shanghai seemed due to certain customs, he being led into a hotel to watch a cabaret show recommended by his hosts. They go to their table, the walls occupied by high society resident and International guests, Christopher getting the idea he was being noticed because of those around him looking at the men seated, but he believing they were staring at him. Christopher, over the evening soon became suspicious of one of his hosts, of whom attempts to have him accept “assistants” with his work, Christopher bringing up his interest in the Yellow Snake killings, the other host not having heard of this before. Christopher then requests to speak with the informant, the one host discouraging, but responding he’d ask. Then the other host begins speaking of a welcome ceremony for his parents, everyone then becoming distracted by the gunfire outside, and after the music began, Christopher meeting Sarah. He doesn’t put together the possible double meaning of she and her husband being rescued from Shanghai.

Christopher is shown working a case all day, then goes to a club he’d become acquainted with, along with the doorman he spoke with, soon being instructed where he could locate Sarah and Sir Cecil. As he walked, he thought of how he’d believed he’d seen Akira a few nights after his arrival and hoping he’d see him again and in a way he thought would be a more meaningful beginning to their first meeting. Christopher lets it go and thinks of the case, leaving the possibility of locating Akira for later, and believing it possible to run into him once more due to Shanghai’s size. Christopher continues on to the hotel of Sarah and Cecil, but soon discovers it’s more of a casino, and believes Cecil wouldn’t bring Sarah to such a place, when finally seeing him in one of the rooms, Sarah seated in a corner. She greets him, surprised he’d found them there, she asking after his dreary day, he not having made any progress, yet (I realize now, the problem with Christopher is he constantly seems to have to correct the exact reasons of what he’s feeling when someone guesses about how he looks, it’s constant). Soon Christopher spots how drunk Cecil is, whilst gambling his money away, Sarah asking if Christopher could go find their driver outside, and once he’d done so, overhears the tail end of a conversation where Cecil is putting down Sarah for making him look bad inside, his mood getting no rosier when they reached their hotel and he’d asked a similar question of whether his young wife looked more like an escort to those within the casino. When Sarah puts him to bed, she again insists everything between she and Cecil were fine, Christopher leaving her there, but still wondering of her earlier words.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 29/Sept./1937 – Christopher was on his way to confront MacDonald, on of his hosts on getting his interview with Yellow Snake, when interrupted by Grayson, the other host about Christopher’s role in the ceremony for his parents, he leaving Grayson with encouragement for his plans so far, and then considering his current case, and how an old school acquaintance, Anthony Morgan brings the case to the forefront of his mind. A few nights after his arrival in Shanghai, he’d met up with Anthony, the two catching up, and the latter sharing his experience thus far in the city, mostly to do with his chauffeurs not being up to par. Anthony soon has Christopher accompanying him somewhere, and when Anthony made the same mistake of thinking Christopher was similar to himself in the old days, “a miserable loner” Christopher is quick to put him to rights. When they arrive at a home, Christopher realizes wherever they were going would be a small group affair, the two apparently having interrupted a Chinese family’s dinner. Christopher then realizes Anthony has taken him to his old home, he having forgotten an agreement had been made years ago in regards to his eventual return, the head of the house, an old man, ready to show him around.

Christopher met most of the rooms with no recollection, until seeing the library, it having been altered, learning the owners who had lived there, including those currently, had renovated many areas of the home. Speaking with the old man made Christopher think of some of his plans for the home, in regards to whom would take what room, his mother, Jennifer, and Mei Li, whom he’d locate and offer a place with them again, as promised. The only other relation in his old home, being of a memory of he and his mother racing in the park, Christopher getting upset for not successfully showing how much faster he’d become as a runner, his mother keeping up easily, and not noticing. The rest of his visit is glossed over with parting ways with the family amicably after more pleasant chat, it not going so smoothly with Anthony, Christopher debating possibly taking responsibility it having started with a question of whether Anthony had heard of Inspector Kung. Anthony then realizes Christopher was speaking of a man whom had drastically changed his lifestyle, and hadn’t shown reverence for his detective work through his comments. Christopher denies the man Anthony spoke of could hardly be the same, he getting defensive and implying Anthony’s head had gone soft. They part on respectful, but sober terms, Christopher not having the guts to look for Kung until further research brought up his name, and on top of this, after speaking with MacDonald about him and getting a similar response, he getting overly irritated since an interview with Yellow Snake still hadn’t been set up. McDonald, refers him to the head of police, even though they didn’t have him in custody, Christopher insisting on some move being made by MacDonald, he threatening his credibility, so the man promising to look into it, and perhaps Christopher needing to look into speaking with the French which he admitted to having potential, but deciding if MacDonald still didn’t make progress, he’d work him over once more, and with more finesse.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 20/Oct./1937 – Christopher currently didn’t know his exact location, other than being in the French Concession. He was riding in a limo through narrow alleys, feeling foolish due to his automobile looking out of place, but he arrives at an Inn, and shown inside by a Chinese man with a single eye, going to a room and opening the door immediately after knocking. Someone was lying in a bed behind a screen, but moving when Christopher gets closer, former Inspector Kung described as emaciated, he not seeming to notice Christopher until after he’d repeated whom he was and his reasons for being there, Kung respectfully replying in English about having no tea for them, but to excuse his appearance since he planned to soon recover. Christopher agrees, and offers his compliments for once having been one of the best in his field, Kung humbled by his kindness, speaking of the difficulties of doing detective work in a seedy city like Shanghai, Kung offering Christopher a cigarette, but he declining. He then mentions how much he and his childhood friend had admired him, Kung all the more regretful for not having anything to offer his guest, Christopher reassuring him he may be able to provide a service more valuable, his memory of a particular case of a shooting in 1915. Kung acknowledges to knowing the one he mentioned and having fond memories of it being a part of his best work, Christopher mentioning how Kung had interrogated a man whom confessed to other crimes, Kung remembering this, Christopher asking about the addresses given in regards to where kidnap victims had been kept, Kung knowing and confiding nothing had been found. Christopher accepts this, but supposes the possibility of Kung not searching a house if powerful people had gotten in the way. Kung admitting this had happened with one home, but being lax on its search due to the case being worked on taking priority, Kung hesitantly inquiring about the house, Christopher supplying his opinion his parents were being kept there, he laying no blame on Kung for not attempting further inquiry, Kung then deducing Christopher must wish for him to locate the house, he attempting to conjure any details, but unsuccessful. Christopher pushes about whether Kung could remember whether the district had been in the International Settlement, unfortunately Kung not recalling, informing him sometimes he remembered much, and perhaps in a day or two he would know more.

Christopher gets back by nightfall, reviewing his notes and forgetting his uninformative visit, going to the dining room late, ready to leave after not having eaten much, when receiving a note from Sarah. At the time, he unaware it had to do with a disturbance at a Mr. Tony Keswick’s home, the note saying to meet her on the platform between the third and fourth floors. They had seen each other shortly three times after the night at the casino, the two not having the chance to mingle, but the night at Keswick’s seeming to be a significant event for the two. Christopher remembering when he’d arrived and most guests, including Sarah were locating their seats, Christopher leaving her to it, and after waiting for the proper time for across-the-room mingling, is trapped in a conversation with the lady seated next to him, by the time he’s able to see Sarah, the host is introducing the first entertainer, many guests having a turn on stage. When one particular man had reduced the room to hysterical laughing, Christopher thinks he sees Sarah laughing along, as well, until after some time, realizing she had actually been reduced to tears and crying quite hard. He walks to her table and gives her his hankie, she returning him with a grateful and quizzical look, but wipes her eyes and hazards a laugh with the rest, Christopher going back to his seat and not speaking with her until their formal goodbye when the night was over. Christopher had forgotten their exchange by this time, she turning to him when he knocks into a chair, and beckoning him closer so they could speak softly, she then confiding she was planning to go to Macao without Cecil, and was scared to go alone, asking if Christopher would join her, surprising him, but also tickling his sense of adventure which also relieved him, what with his current responsibilities building with pressure. Christopher then began to suppose she was baiting him somehow, he responding soberly about his work needing to be finished and how it’d look if he abandoned it here, Sarah attempting to have him see he shouldn’t let his project rule him, and not to wait anymore, otherwise the chance to leave would pass, and the need would be replaced with settling for less. Christopher only seeing roadblocks, what with he also having Jennifer to think about, he about to remember their last meeting, but Sarah responding with believing once they’d decided where they’d stay, she’d be sent for, Sarah convinced she could be a mother to the girl, Christopher then taking a turn in his decision and agreeing to go, she having planned how he should pack light and she would set up his transport to get him to where she’d wait for him. Christopher kisses her hand and awkwardly laughs, she taking her hand back and thanking him for agreeing, suggesting he leave before they were spotted.

Christopher had gone to sleep with plenty on his mind and upon waking the next day, had decided to get as much done as time would allow, he meeting his own expectations by lunch and noticing all of those interviewed leaving him feeling unsympathetic to the government’s current mess, since none spoken with conveyed responsibility for their actions being the wrong course. Due to this, Christopher felt he’d decided rightly and was gratified when imagining the upheaval his leaving would make. He then recalls his last conversation with Jennifer, she taking his news calmly and promising to “help” him when he returned from Japan, which made him wonder how she planned to do so, he then informed of a call from Kung for him. Kung is excited to share news which had resurfaced, he using a rejuvenating smoke to aid him, the location Christopher inquired being across from a man’s house, he sharing the details. When he gets off the call, he returns to his room to pack rather than finishing his lunch, the new information not affecting him like it normally would. He finishes early and is met by a young Chinese driver to escort him on his way.

On the ride, he flippantly asks the driver if he’s heard of Yeh Chen, the man mentioned by Kung, the driver confirming he had, Christopher letting the exchange lie there, until reaching the meeting place and asking the man to wait. He goes into the gramophone record store only seeing the Swiss worker behind the counter, he offering to play Christopher a song, he agreeing and after it’s on, gestures for him to go behind a curtained area, Sarah waiting inside. She explains (sort of) why she had three suitcases, one being dedicated to her teddy bear, then they share another kiss, longer and awkward, he then learning Cecil didn’t know any of Sarah’s plans, he setting out early for another round of fun and games. Christopher seems to become stressed over their few minutes wait, he informing her his need to speak with the driver once more, and learning Yeh Chen wasn’t living far from where they were, Christopher accepting the ride there, but the driver seeming to get confused when having to take a detour, they soon hearing gunshots, the driver then mentioning how they were no longer in the Settlement and Christopher going off on him by letting him know how much of a fool he thought the young man was, the kid getting out and walking away, Christopher going after him to apologize, attempting to have him return to the car, but when failing, tries getting the address to Yeh Chen’s, he being one of those without one. Christopher suggests directions being acceptable, the boy relenting, then pointing out a police station when asked, then returns in the car’s direction.

When going inside the station, Christopher supposed the place was mostly deserted other than the few cops who remained, one of them going to the back to share with whoever else of the reason for Christopher’s visit. The man returns to lead Christopher in back, he introduced to the Lieutenant and Captain, Christopher sharing his need of help, but would also be assisting them with his mission, as well (presumptuous). He then shares of the directions he’d been given, needing someone to show him where it was, he explaining the necessity of it being the end of a years long case in the search for his parents, the Lieutenant agreeing to lend him a few men upon their return due to the few they had to spare, Christopher conveying gratefulness, but also asking if it wouldn’t be possible to do so with a few already present for a minimal time, the Lieutenant denying this due to their inexperience, he then asking to see the directions and upon reading them, noting how whilst they were quite close, may be behind Japanese territory already, and difficult to get to, the Lieutenant then leads him to a spot he could see what he meant. They climb to the roof where the Lieutenant focuses Christopher’s attention to a length of smoke where factory workers lived, he describing how the families lived in cramped quarters, sometimes with three other families to a room, the Lieutenant showing where his men needed to be placed and how they’d keep “the warren” safe, it important to their victory. He then confides of the house Christopher wished to get to being in there, directing his gaze roughly to the roof of the building, also providing him with landmarks to help him stay on course. The Lieutenant then had to make clear how difficult Christopher’s mission would be with all the fighting going on, Christopher getting sidetracked by wanting the Lieutenant’s name so as to thank him at the upcoming ceremony for his parents, he instead having him accompany him back down to where his men had hopefully returned by now since believing the part he played being minor. When getting an update, the Lieutenant shares how his men had gotten stuck outside, Christopher asking the Lieutenant to guide him, and the man agreeing even whilst knowing the danger it brought to his mission’s success, the two setting out after he provided Christopher with a pistol.

As Christopher remembers being led by the Lieutenant, it seemed easy, but the moment was difficult, the ground hurting his footsies, and having to negotiate his way through holes in the walls, tired after only going through one, but having more to go. As he walks through areas with demolished homes, he grew angry about the men in charge of the International Settlement who had shirked their duties, the Lieutenant stopping soon after to declare they’d made it to their first landmark, the West Furnace, their second being the East and would then be close to Christopher’s destination. The Lieutenant then ushers him on so they could get out before sundown. They reach a place where they meet more soldiers defending a wall, and after the Lieutenant speaks with them, he shares with Christopher of they having gotten most of the Japanese to retreat, with the exception of a few stuck nearby. Christopher attempts to show disappointed indignation at the Lieutenant’s caution to stop where they were until the men were pacified, but the Lieutenant only states of the possibility it may not take long, then returns to the wall at the behest of a solder, gunfire breaking out, and the Lieutenant saving Christopher from getting hit by gunshots hitting the wall behind him. After the danger seemed to have passed temporarily, Christopher goes back to criticizing how the Lieutenant was running his defense, this after denying Christopher the idea of bringing the men they were with, along to where his parents were being held. Christopher then goes off on the Lieutenant for he feeling guilty by the reason they were fighting in the first place, believing the Lieutenant blamed him, but then making excuses for why he hadn’t cracked his case sooner, ending by belittling the man’s profession and intelligence (hwhat a schmuck). The Lieutenant takes this all in stride, by the end allowing if Christopher was resolute to move forward, despite the danger, it was more likely he’d be safer without him (a good idea, regardless), he then leading Christopher to a detour, by this time Christopher regretting his snotty explosion, but going along, the Lieutenant also giving him a flashlight, leaving him with the advice of waiting as long as possible before using it, claiming neutrality if he ran into soldiers, and ask the locals for directions (more than he deserves). He stops taking the Lieutenant’s advice when he doesn’t go through a certain passage for the smell, he getting stuck going further in the wrong direction. When coming across locals, he was able to get back on course, but no one could understand him so he could get a better idea of his surroundings.

Christopher comes across another group of people, children surrounding something, and when Christopher gets near enough, he recognizes Akira, unconscious and bound (a little let down with this reunion, but the upcoming moments between them are the most entertaining, at least in a comedic way, in this book). When the kids begin to gather again to prod Akira with a stick, Christopher keeps them at bay, and when Akira regains consciousness, Christopher attempts to show him whom he is, but Akira doesn’t catch it, (Christopher taking on a Bertie Wooster-like persona) Christopher seeing his finding him serendipitous, Akira then requesting to allow death to claim him, Christopher stating he isn’t close to death, only having “a rough time of it lately” (really, Christopher??), and help could be found, Akira responding with porky oaths, and attempting to spit at him again, Christopher responding by deciding getting him untied may help with his memory, but Akira vowing to kill him if he lets him loose, Christopher ignoring his threat for rationalizing the people around them would as soon kill him, and Akira needed his wounds tended before infection hit. When an old woman approaches them with a reaping hook, Christopher attempts to have her understand (in English), of Akira being good, and his friend (a woman whom doesn’t understand English). Then when it obviously fails to connect and he points his revolver at them (good plan), an old man steps forward whom speaks bloody English! (Where the fuck, fella?) He explaining why Akira was bound being for he killing an Aunt and stealing, Christopher arguing the impossibility and asking for him to confirm it was the same man they had. Meanwhile, after another attempt from Christopher to get Akira to recognize him works slowly, an argument arises in the crowd of people and Christopher again threatens them with his gun after he takes a young boy’s knife to cut Akira loose. When Christopher then has the old man translate of the group making a mistake and Akira would be helping to solve his case (pointlessly), he eventually has the man get the people to stay away, they panicking for Christopher swinging the gun around, and the two making their way out, (after a funny moment of Christopher and Akira almost falling).

As they stagger on, Christopher becomes overwhelmed with happiness for finally seeing his ole buddy and laughs giddily a few times, Akira joining in and it feeling like the old days. When Christopher gives them both a moment to rest, he checks Akira’s wounds again, but can’t tell if the bad smell was coming from them anymore or if it was caused by something he’d laid in. He attempts to clean the wounds, then gets into why he was there being to find his parents, Akira now able to help him get inside the house (like Ling Tien’s room? I wonder if one will flake out on the other…), Akira agreeing, but then making a confusing statement after admitting to knowing where the East Furnace was. Christopher catches it, as well and presumes the place he spoke was the International Settlement. They soon get back on their way though, Christopher now dealing with a cut foot from his shoe getting torn. Meanwhile, Christopher had mixed feelings about the circumstances around their meeting, wishing it had happened in gentler accommodations, they limping along until Akira hears soldiers, they closing in on the front lines, which needed to be passed in order to reach the house, but Akira then insisting they needed to rest and wait for light before continuing due to the fighting, Christopher giving in (even though he wanted to argue, more).

They stay put for awhile, until Christopher decides to move them to a safer area in their bombed shelter, Akira deciding Christopher must learn Japanese immediately in case Akira died or was unconscious, Christopher refusing anything so finite would happen, Akira then teaching him one word, since more was too difficult, they laughing over his pronunciation, and then Christopher passing out. When he wakes, dawn has broken, he accidentally waking Akira when attempting to examine him again, Akira wanting to relay a message to his child should he not make it, again Christopher refusing to accept the possibility and deciding they should move along before Akira got too deeply into a funk. The going was rougher due to both their energies being sapped overnight, and before setting out, Akira warns they must be more careful since the Chinese were near, the two seeing their handiwork involving spilled intestines. Soon after getting them to the East Furnace, Christopher leads them down the alley the Lieutenant pointed out, Akira weighing him down so much, they soon stop again, he seeing a broken sign and asking Akira what it said, he not knowing for certain for his Chinese not great, Christopher supplying the idea of it perhaps saying Yeh Chen, Akira allowing the possibility, but when Christopher begins to plan for the both of them to enter, Akira considers how many years have passed, and the fates of Christopher’s parents, the two not able to discuss anymore for a little girl emerging from the house and seeming to want them to come in, Christopher stepping forward since it seemed she was bleeding, after she goes back inside, Christopher urging Akira to come with him.

When they go through to where the girl leads them, they view many dead bodies, the little girl going to a dog, and speaking Chinese, Akira translating she wanted help for the dog, Christopher giving her encouraging words, but then going about in search of his parents until Akira warns him of soldiers nearby, Christopher losing his shit and not comprehending due to his desperate search. Akira hides in a half open spot, Christopher unable to let him know since the soldiers then entered, but he finding it hilarious, and once Akira realizing they were Japanese, makes his presence known, he not looking happy to see them or vice versa, he being led out with only a smile to Christopher as he left, he then explaining the reason he was there to the Captain, the latter commanding he leave immediately. The Japanese kept Christopher at their headquarters where he recovered from his injuries, which also gave him a fever for some weeks, but when he recovers, a Colonel speaks with him, and Christopher feels he has a clear concept of what he’d been through for his case. The Colonel was ready to lead him to the British Consulate, but Christopher had another idea involving his return to the gramophone shop, the Colonel denying this due to they being on a schedule and Christopher not able to explain why, the Colonel then passes the time by speaking of his admiration of Dickens and Thackeray, their country beautiful.

Christopher changes the subject to Akira and whether the Colonel knew his fate, he advising Christopher to let it go, but of course he not doing as requested, the Colonel sharing how Akira was quite likely in cahoots with the Chinese due to where he was found. The Colonel and he then discuss how soon the world would be battling a war. When Christopher speaks with the British consul-general, he gets to the point of needing to speak with MacDonald whilst he cleaned himself up. People came and left from the room they’d given him, a doctor most likely giving him medication to sleep, he being told of MacDonald not being found, yet. Upon waking, he goes off in search of MacDonald’s office and sees Sir Cecil, the two discussing the disappearance of Sarah and how he and others thought Christopher was connected, he there to apologize and sharing how he’d gotten word from her currently being in Macao, they being interrupted by Grayson, Christopher disheartened, but he there to show Christopher to MacDonald’s new working office. When they get to an empty office, Grayson nudges Christopher forward, closing the door behind them and making it clear Christopher wanted to speak with him (wink-wink), the interview with Yellow Snake more possible and Christopher feeling like he’s finally getting somewhere. He then relays his interview occurring the previous night, the Chinese secret police, his escort and they confronting more guards when getting to the large house, he waiting inside for a half hour, when finally being shown to a study where he is greeted by someone he knows.

Yellow Snake even shows how he’d been made to stay armed in case Christopher attempts to attack him, he knowing he owed Christopher some explanations. They start with Christopher’s father, after he gives his own opinion of what he thought happened, when asked, needing to play nice. His mother had planned to share the truth with him regarding his father when he was older, he learning where his father had gone, whom he’d been with, why he’d left, and how he’d lived his life. When Christopher asks about where his mother was, Yellow Snake again asks for what he knew, Christopher sharing how he’d thought the two were being held captive, Yellow Snake then backing up to explain a memory Christopher shares earlier, and explaining how his mother had been working to end the opium trade in China, how he didn’t have her exact location, but knew a good place to start, the man Christopher had been researching being involved. Christopher now realizes whom had his mother and the reason she had been taken, he then learning whom had been taking care of his financial needs, he about to tell what his mother endured whilst living with the drug kingpin, but Christopher having enough, Yellow Snake then confessing how he’s stayed alive so Christopher could kill him, but after refusing and having to pull away from him for his insistence, the man shares his deepest secret, he getting off in knowing his mother was essentially a sex slave since he knew he couldn’t have her and didn’t save her. Christopher ignores this and only focuses on making sure he knew everything about his mother, the man whom had her now being dead, so his search being difficult, but onward he would go, leaving Yellow Snake.

London 14/Nov./1958 – Christopher relates how a trip to Hong Kong marked his longest trip in a long time, he exhausted a couple days after arriving, the place not being as homey as Shanghai was, he dealing with joint pain and Jennifer accompanying him for needing the break. She offered having them visit Shanghai, as well, but Christopher knew the changes made to the city would be painful to him. By the third day, Christopher was off for a visit to a convent inside a manor without Jennifer joining him, as requested. When meeting a nun in an office regarding a woman called Diana, whom had been institutionalized and stranded in China for many years, and then brought to their convent, the woman leads him to where she was, so he could discover whether she was his mother. When he first sees her, the nun shares how she didn’t usually understand something unless continually repeated, she smiling at them a moment before going back to her card game. Christopher gets a moment alone with her, and when she smiles up at him again, Christopher senses a note of fear in her gaze, he telling her whom he was a few times and apologizing for locating her so late, he then trying his pet name, she recognizing it, but not him, only sharing how she’d heard he was fine, but one couldn’t know for sure with him and worrying her. Christopher then has this discussion with Jennifer regarding the rest of Diana’s life there, they currently in England and he not happy with her current living situation, she having had some type of break down at thirty-one and having had, but lost a family, she ready to take it easy and not be bothered with finding love again. Christopher being posed the same question and making him reminisce of his lost love, feeling guilty and apologizing to Jennifer for leaving her so long when she was young, but she making him realize how grateful she was for all he’d done for her. She then comes up with a compromise involving the plan of whether she were able to get another husband and have some kids, he would have to live with them in the country, he agreeing. At the same time, Christopher also thought how he’d miss London, he still being recognized, one time whilst out with the Osbournes and a lady approaching him for knowing Sarah quite well, and what had become of her and her new love. The last correspondence Christopher had of her by letter a couple of years after the war, he still second guessing whether her words of her own happiness were genuine, and after relating how regretful he’d feel if he left London, would give good thought to Jennifer’s offer.

After reading this book as sections of it had been broken from the spine (presumably done whilst it was stepped on by cretins), was oddly liberating, only since I hadn’t an attachment to it for not knowing whether I’d want it for keeps (fortunately I didn’t, Christopher not being a character I care to periodically re-encounter, I having given him the benefit of the doubt at first, but he being pompous, which makes him describing the powerful men of the International Settlement in similar terms, seeming like he truly doesn’t recognize the similarities in his own personality. Too much of an ego as well, which he would most likely state how wrong I am in describing it in such a way, blah; also, I don’t believe I’ve ever felt like seeing a main character die and not feeling let down). So, minus Christopher being a stuck-up, know-it-all, the story itself is what drove interest-level. The two main mysteries being his parents fates and his best buddy, Akira; one being more fully realized than the other. I also enjoyed the time period and locations which helped the value, but I do now see why so many people found this piece annoying, especially since Akira gets left behind, and if Christopher had found out whether or not he hadn’t made it, why he didn’t do as Akira had requested of him by going to see his family to give his last words? Oh well, I’ll give Ishiguro one more chance since it was well-written.

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Bone: Trilogy Tour II – Rose

trilogy-tour-ii

For the sixth volume. I found this story should probably be read after the 7th volume, but doesn’t really hurt anything, only makes the flashbacks of Rose flow a little better. This seems to be a background story for Rose which has us start with seeing her coming back for her dogs who are glad to see her, she being pleased they’d obeyed her orders to stay where she left them and giving them a treat, the Red Dragon appearing to tell her she must get back to what she’d been originally meant to be doing with her time. Rose gives in after defending her reason for being out, the dogs sad to leave their bones behind, but the three going off, Rose wondering why she was sent on this quest by her mother, she then seeing Briar, her sister going up the side of a mountain and deciding she should follow her to see where she was going, even though Briar was supposed to be attending a class with Rose. Rose is noticed before long and chases after her despite the terrifying omen of shouting for her to flee which she ignores and is soon overcome by locusts, deciding she’ll continue forward to discover what was going on and this being where the story ends, but most likely will continue in another volume. Before completely finishing the side-story, we get a two page throw-away of Phoney Bone and Smiley in which Phoney asks why the townspeople don’t like him and Smiley believing it had to do with his unabashed love of greed and Phoney and Smiley coming up with ideas of how they could get the townspeople to admit they either loved greed or at least could warm up to it, the two believing a political party or religion centering around greed would work, but abandoning the idea in the end leaving us with the idea of the irony of their plan.

Castle Waiting is a separate comic, beginning with a nun on a picnic visiting a grave and being interrupted by an imp from Hell masquerading as someone she’d known, until she’d figured out it was a trick, the little demon going on to argue how similar they were, and she shouldn’t be so up in arms around him, whilst she offers a type of cookie not common in his fiery home. After being certain there wasn’t anything holy in the ingredients, he munches gladly and then offers to walk her to her vehicle, the nun then wondering how the creature could be walking on hallowed earth, the imp stating how it wasn’t as off-limits as it seemed and could even foot through her church if he so desired, she wondering why he didn’t then, and upon the imp learning he wasn’t barred, getting a wink as she bikes away, he calling it “a date”, and poofing into nothingness. Iiiinteresting, I may have to look further into this.

Scary Godmother begins with a little girl, Hannah Marie, her scary godmother, and the two hosting a tea party, a little boy, Orson, spying on what they were up to with a bear called Harry. Orson wanted to join in, but Harry holds him back for believing it was only for the females, since his mother had stopped him from eating the finger sammies she’d been preparing, Harry left to fend for his own tummy. Then, upon Orson hearing about the best shrimp puffs and the one man allowed to attend having arrived, he insists they figure a way to get invited, Harry not wanting to miss the “boo-fay”. Hannah Marie is then prompted to share a story as Mr. Pettibone grabs the door, Harry and Orson masquerading as exterminators and offering a limited time offer to dust the bugs, but Pettibone declares it’s unnecessary, due to another attendee having already taken care of this. The two resort to attempting to get through an outside window, but fail to make it, Orson greeting his father as the two sat, forlorn under a tree to admit their want. His father suggest he ask, Orson going for it, and Mr. Pettibone immediately allowing them entry after sprucing up their outfits, Orson now more interested in the party games then the snackies, but Harry staying focused on the plentiful variety of yum-yums. As the two sit and listen to Hannah Marie’s story though, their resolve fades a bit with boredom along with the constant story-telling and chat, but Harry finally gets his mouth full, which keeps him content. Orson is bad mouthing the state of the stories he’d had to listen to, not realizing until too late Scary Godmother was listening, she unphased and offering he share the next story, Orson down for this, but then walking in to Harry getting into the story of a series, and starting with the first one, since Hannah Marie hadn’t heard of them, Orson dreading how long this would take, Harry successfully boring everyone to sleep, then contemplating his plan for pizza and if Scary Godmother had a running bill he could take advantage of, since the party hadn’t covered what they would do for supper. Weeks later, Scary Godmother is asking Skully if he remembered ordering a multi-hell-layered pizza, he denying able to stomach it. Entertaining, but not my cuppa, which was also covered at the tea party! Har Har!

Akiko was mentioned being a stand-alone, so those who didn’t know of it could be properly introduced to the main characters (hooray for me!) It begins with a child, Kiko and an oddly looking super-hero whom looks like Neil Gaiman, called Spuckler, in search of a Mr. Beeba, they discovering a path of books where he’d been, a robot, Gax bringing this to their attention. Kiko is certain he’s been kidnapped, but Spuckler isn’t sure Mr. Beeba had the foresight to unload such a perfect plan for them to locate him so easily, Kiko not arguing, only certain they needed to get to him quickly, running off. Mr. Beeba is then shown caught in a web and attempting to sweet talk a “monster” out of harming him. Kiko and Spuckler arrive outside a cave where the book trail ends, Spuckler insisting they needed a game plan before rushing in to a place where a large creature was mostly likely lurking, he having seen massive footprints. Spuckler relieves Gax of a sharp looking implement upon his robot-hood (near his neck, pervs!), and leads them inside, he warning them to hang back a bit, and rightly so, as he’s attempting to threaten the big fella into releasing Mr. Beeba, but instead getting entwined in the creatures tongue. Mr. Beeba confesses how much entertainment he’d gotten from Spuckler’s failure, they fortunately saved by Poog, a round face which sings unintelligible words, the creature lulled to sleep and everyone returning outside, Spuckler grateful, but relating how he’d like to discuss further a way to implement Poog’s talent upon requirement, so he didn’t look a fool next time. Not bad, I believe I’d read more if I had the means or was quite bored.

Usagi Yojimbo is about a ninja rabbit, Usagi, whom also guest appeared on The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show. Usagi is in this episode called, The Guardian, and immediately has to choose which path he will go down, allowing a butterfly to make the decision, and he following complacently. He walks on to see a samurai, he greeting him pleasantly, but when the fully armored samurai stays in his way, he learns of his leader preventing any “enemy” entry. When Usagi denies being an enemy, the guard relates of anyone not under the rule of his master was an enemy, and Usagi properly disgusted by this, decides to announce of locating another way to cross, unfortunately, the guard denies him this idea, since he could be going back to inform his friends of his leader’s defenses, Usagi confiding he was a ronin and traveled alone. This guard was on guard though, and declared of all enemies dying, Usagi backed into his metaphorical corner to the point of having to teach this fool a lesson, readying to fight. Usagi pulls a fast one, and jumps over the samurai into the water, believing his armor would prevent him quick pursuit, Usagi correct and slicing him, but as he’s retreating, the samurai returns a blow and states of not failing his leader again. Usagi next wakes to a couple of monkeys (literally a couple, they referring to each other as “husband” and “wife”) wondering if he had survived, soon learning this to be so as Usagi opens his eyes. He’s shocked to see he hadn’t been killed, and then can’t believe the bridge which had been guarded was years older and broken, the couple sharing how the civil wars had brought the bridge down, a samurai having caused enemies to get through and gave the general such a good fight, he almost lost, and in his rage, trashed the bridge and the ghost unable to leave his failed mission after death. The couple then asked why he hadn’t taken the newer bridge across the way and must have gone down the wrong path, Usagi blaming the butterfly and attempting to cut it down in anger, the two monkeys regarding him with confusion as he continued to attempt to split the butterfly. Now this is entertaining, I could definitely see myself reading more of these, if I can find them.

The final comic is a two-page Bone throwaway, Smiley and Phoney discussing why Phoney was so despised in the village, Smiley figuring it was because of Phoney’s blatant selfish greed. Phoney doesn’t buy this though, since in his mind, people understood greed and only couldn’t come to terms with it. The idea of if they were able to convince people they truly did love greed, they’d have them wrapped around their little finger, Smiley building on this by suggesting he turn it into a political party, so the people would love him because they’d be voting for him, Phoney taking it a step further and thinking a religion would work much better, then almost drooling with the thought of combining the two and having an uber-greed dual politico-religion. In the end though, disbelieving it could work and going back to washing dishes whilst Smiley dried. I loves ’em! Next is the cross-over of Castle Waiting and the Bones!

Adventure Time Vol.1 Playing With Fire

This volume is in black and white starting with Jake playing ‘Never have I ever…’ with Finn. Then NEPTR has his turn, making it a bit weird with his subject-choice. Then Finn calls Flame Princess over in a special way so she can join their game. Finn’s next turn brings out how little F.P. knows of a place called Carnival Kingdom, surprising the boys. Jake almost ruins the atmosphere with an insensitive question about F.P.’s childhood, but they turn it around with talks of cotton candy, going off to Carnival Kingdom. When they arrive, Finn gives F.P. a choice as to what prize she’d like him to win and she gets all goo-goo-eyed over a cute stuffed animal. Finn then proceeds to annihilate the game, before the game-keeper even has time to finish his line of questioning. Finn is all set in valiantly giving her his winnings when she is so taken with the game, she ignores him and tries it herself, failing immediately, she then goes flame-y after being sweet-talked by the attendant, Finn and Jake watching on, a bit embarrassed by her display of anger, but Finn also reverting back to his undying awe and anime-style serious liking of her. During Finn’s explaining her awesome side, she calms down and is distracted by another area involving someone playing a fire flute.

Then F.P. fakes Finn into believing he’s about to get a smooch when in fact she’s getting ready to tell him of the free fortune-telling. Then there’s a bit of questionable grammar said by F.P. (not sure if it was a joke or not) and she goes in for a reading. At first the fortune is bright, but then it takes a turn, whilst Finn waits with happiness at being referred to by the teller as F.P.’s boyfriend, then he gets grabbed without the princess noticing until the fortune-teller is leaving and she sees his form stuck to the back of his pack. Jake isn’t sweating it, at first thinking Finn will bust out, but then Jake and F.P. track Finn to a forest with trees filled with peeps in bubbles looking like baubles on a Christmas tree, upon realizing Finn wasn’t going to get out of this one without some help. F.P. angrily calls out the dragon who masquerades as fortune-teller and blasts Finn loose from the tree he’s hanging from. Jake marvels at Finn’s diminished size and F.P. seems like she’s going to get personal, but Finn cuts her off and spurns her affection without a thought. Then Jake asks if they should go save the other tree baubled peeps and Finn declines without feeling, which begins to tip them off. F.P. decides they must return and get the real, awesome Finn back. Jake is kewl with little Finn, but F.P. describes all the great qualities Finn has including one which mystifies her. Jake’s about to follow her, but tries one last time to see if little Finn wants to save his soul and confirms his insouciance, so Jake plops him in a skin pocket and is off to catch up to Flame Princess.

Jake discovers her puzzling over some game pieces and trying to figure out what she’s to do. Jake finally figures out what the game they must play is all about with obvious rules. Jake isn’t as good at playing at first, though and F.P. is getting impatient. Jake tries to reason with her, but F.P. figures another way through to the next area whether it’s cheating or not, which Jake decides is the former option. She continues on her “rampage” going through the puzzle cave in a way which is suited to her nature, until she reaches a water area they must get through. Jake tells her she should stay in the cave whilst he and Finn explore the underwater area, she not liking this idea and deciding she’ll do what she wants and follows them down into the water, which doesn’t do her much good so Jake catches her before she drifts off. When Jake resurfaces he, distressed to F.P.’s condition of possibly being dead, which still doesn’t affect Finn at all, he then realizes how terrible little Finn actually is, but F.P. does wake eventually, in a bed, with her father coming in soon after she wakes. F.P., through conversation with her father then wonders how she even got back to Fire Kingdom, her father explaining she willed herself back, something she didn’t know she could do. Her father then tries to explain how F.P. should try to give in to her evil side more than any other trait she may have and then gets distracted by his servants and through his conduct towards them, F.P. decides she doesn’t truly want to be there, then waking again on a shore side.

After a bit of frustration by the water being everywhere, F.P. happens upon a hollowed castle looking bucket and begins making an enormous castle, but rain soon stops her after she’s struck how little time it took to get the castle so large, then locating a wooden opening above her head. She gets helped through by Choose Goose, who is burned with his efforts, but soon tells F.P. how he got there and his mission in getting his pack back from the dragon. After F.P. exposes how the rooms being puzzles worked, Choose Goose shows her all he’d found was a key, which F.P. is able to figure out must go to one of the doors which is hidden by the dark, which she’s of course able to uncover. Choose Goose suggests she flame up the place, but F.P. goes with the patient way and starts trying doors. Soon she uncovers the right door in an unapparent place, going through with difficulty and landing in a strange place, the door disappearing before her eyes. Soon she’s despairing over how she’ll ever locate Finn in such a vast place, but after shouting his name, she hears hers in return and is led by it, luckily.

We have an ethereal moment with Finn’s spirit when F.P. somehow releases him from his little pod. We then get a sign the dragon had been watching close by the whole time, touched by their little display. After the dragon explains why he’d done what he did, he told them his debt to her and can grant one wish, she bursting with something trivial mentioned at the beginning, but Finn reminds her of how they should help the trapped souls, he included. So, in agreement they choose the wish which everyone is uncomfortably put back in their bodies. Finn gets a kiss from F.P. which doesn’t hurt him and is impressed by her control, however recently practiced it may be. They are then all given prizes by the dragon since he’d been planning on releasing everyone anyways also unloading his burden of them onto the trio in returning them to their homes; they do it, though and end the last return with a camp-out. Finn compliments F.P. on her heroic ways and after the boys are sleeping, she’s still thinking of how unheroic she feels, she then sees her father who tells her she shouldn’t be bothered feeling this way anyways and being evil will get her everything and anything she wants, her form changing in the water.

Finn and Jake are then awakened by screams from someone in their town caused by a fire. Finn tries to invite F.P. along, but she plays unconscious and the duo run off to help, with F.P. trying to optimistically believe perhaps she could be a hero in the future, ending the story. I wasn’t impressed at first, also I truly get bored with black and white, but the style was Adventure Time and it was a catching story once I began following it more closely; all in all, a good addition. Then we get a story with BMO beginning with him being left a note not to touch the wall of weapons, but BMO can’t resist a brush mohawked helmet, soon revising the note and adding some sword action to his game-play, but gets the sword stuck and falls trying to release it, falling into Finn’s underwear and at first being surprised, then using them, sumo-wrestler-style in a fight with a worm. BMO doesn’t win this fight though and walks off looking for items to build a kite, making a big ka-boom which one sees shake the whole tree-house. BMO test drives his flying implement with himself attached to it, like a hang-glider. Then notices the worm on the ground, worryingly close to where his kite is attached; and rightly so; BMO goes with the wind into we know not where, being called and seen looking like a felled warrior when someone opens the door to his knocking. A cute one, not a bad way to end the volume.

Robert Langdon Series (Books 1-3)

 

Angels and Demons starts with mystery and I’ve already decided I’ll continue to read this series. Although fast paced, I find some of the dialogue contrived when certain characters talk about religion when previously seeming indifferent. Otherwise it’s definitely worth the read.

The Da Vinci Code begins with more murder and continues to draw me into it’s wicked ride. Even though Langdon continues to try my patience; he’s one of those characters I suffer through to get to the prize of the completion of a good story well-told, but may end a bit like a squeaky fart in the wind. I think I’ve had quite enough of Brown’s flighty fantasy of some dumb wanna-be hip, smart, clever well into his middle-ages “Professah”, but I may have to round it off with it’s third act.

The Lost Symbol starts with us being introduced to a nameless thirty-four-year-old initiate of a ritualistic brotherhood. We learn outside this ritual, some of the brothers held powerful positions in the world, but here all being equal. Then we learn wherever this place was, it was a few blocks away from the White House and the building they all had gathered in, was filled with secrets, especially the one the initiate stood in. The master of the brotherhood gives the initiate a question of whether he would keep the secrets told to him, the initiate lying, believing he wouldn’t be found out. He completes the final stage of his oath-taking, realizing if he were ever found to be a betrayer of their oaths, he’d be killed and mutilated. We are then shown a nightmare which awakens Robert Langdon consisting of a terrifying drop in an elevator. Apparently this is a daydream and he’s in a jet almost arriving in Washington, D.C. where he would be meeting his mentor Peter Solomon. When Langdon gets outside he’s met by a woman who directs him to his awaiting car. When he gets in, his driver calls Solomon to confirm Langdon’s being met and meanwhile we learn someone else is gladly readying for Langdon’s arrival.

We are then introduced to someone called Mal’akh who was giving himself a tattoo on his head. It then goes on to describe the history of why people tattooed themselves and why they continue to do so today along with body piercing or surgical modification to feel in control of their bodies. Then we are shown Mal’akh stopping his work when his clock chimes the hour, being told of his height, which I suppose is important, as well as being told he is within distance of seeing the U.S. Capitol. We also learn Mal’akh is the one we follow in the introduction during his acceptance ceremony, discovering he’ll soon possess the most secret item in American history. Mal’akh admires himself, he covered in tattoos other than a spot on his scalp, which would be saved until after his mission, the last person to help him find this secret item having arrived, and Mal’akh excited to get started with his deceptive plan.

Robert is in the car studying his note cards, soon thinking of how sudden his visit to D.C. occurred, he receiving a voice-mail from a man whom was Peter Solomon’s executive assistant, speaking of wanting Langdon to call A.S.A.P. which gave the impression to Langdon of something being amiss for his friend to be having someone call him so early in the morning, dropping everything and returning the phone call. We then are given a back-story to Langdon and Solomon’s friendship which began in college. Once realizing he’d also gotten a fax regarding the same topic, he calls Solomon’s office, and after some trouble getting Solomon on the line due to a conference call, the secretary fills Langdon in as to why he’d been pestered so early in the morning having to do with him replacing another speaker who had fallen ill before the party of the Masons. This somehow surprises Langdon as well as learning the speech for the same night and he would need to meet the private jet at five p.m., being able to return home by midnight (sure, he will).

We first get a description of the Capitol building, then being told who the security guard is inside, a bald man with a sling and facial toner being scanned before being let through, the building being completely empty because of the football game, which the security guard wished he was watching. He scans the bald man thoroughly even though the detector beeps and the bald man gives the excuse of it being a ring which couldn’t be taken off his hand, but discover later it’s a gift for the only man whom can help him obtain what he seeks, he being passed through after, when the security guard doesn’t sense any fear from the man and he seeming up front about everything he asked him.

A museum outside Washington, DC is Katherine Solomon’s destination, we get the rundown of her easily maintained Mediterranean good looks and how she hadn’t married nor desired to, she showing up early for a meeting. We also find out a little bit about her brother and father, as well as her line of study in Noetic Science which she was a front-runner of knowledge on the subject. We learn she’d found out some unsettling news about her brother recently and then prepares to answer a call before she was ready to exit her car. We then go to Mal’akh’s point of view, waiting for the call he’d made to be picked up and when it is, we figure it’s Katherine on the other line, he telling her he had more information on a legend hidden in D.C. which had merit in reality.

Langdon is next seen being plunged into nervousness with how far the driver had to drop him off and with only ten minutes before his lecture was to begin. He makes his way to the Capitol Building wishing he had more time to admire his surroundings, but moving along quickly, he trying to get to the Statuary Hall and giving the fun fact of how the Statue of Freedom was erected to its place by slaves, as well as a couple others. We then get a flashback of Langdon gently guiding a young Harvard student on the terminology and the boy’s ignorance on the subject of Langdon’s expertise, we also discovering with his class how George Washington’s statue of himself lowering a masonic cornerstone to the Capitol Building was laid at a time and date which had significance in astrology, but a sort which was a bit unlike the one we know today. The conversation slowly turns to the Freemasons and then gets into it not being based on or was considered a religion and how women weren’t included in the organization, but had a sister organization of a different name. Langdon continues to smart off to his class on different areas to show how they were boxing themselves into a conformist attitude, we then finally getting back to the point of he arriving at the place of his speech and being surprised by what he sees within.

Katherine Solomon is then shown running through the Smithsonian Museum Support Center where she’s been creating scientific wonders, as her brother hoped she’d do when he’d introduced her to the building’s presence. After a one-sided conversation from the security guard, we learn how much use she’d been making of her secret lab which contained research which had progressed to a point where it no longer seemed like science. We then learn Robert Langdon isn’t among anyone important in the lecture hall, and when he asks a worker about the lecture, the person doesn’t know anything about it, Langdon deciding to call back the receptionist whom had set up his trip, then realizing he’d played him like a fiddle, not being who he said he was and being the one to have orchestrated Langdon’s being there to meet himself and not Peter Solomon.

Langdon now is feeling trapped in the Statuary Hall and claims the man on the other line has kidnapped him, but Mal’akh calmly tells him if he were going to kill him, it would’ve been done in his town car, then offering Langdon an invitation to which Langdon already thinks of saying no to, but then Mal’akh mentions Peter Solomon’s name, successfully getting his attention and keeping him on the phone, going on to mention Langdon having a chance of saving Peter’s mortality. Langdon threatens calling the police which Mal’akh doesn’t care about, knowing they’ll be coming to Langdon soon, then telling him where Solomon was currently, due to not being able to speak with Langdon as proof of his being still alive. Langdon is then told by Mal’akh of the secret he’s pretending not to be privy to which could save Solomon’s life. Mal’akh continues to be cryptic about how Langdon had the key to opening a “portal” and Solomon was the one to tell Mal’akh of Langdon being the one able to do so and how since Langdon seemed stumped as to what he was referring to, the reality would dawn on him soon enough, hanging up and leaving Langdon baffled and then hearing a scream coming from the Rotunda.

When Langdon rushes to see what had happened, he at first believed a small child had screamed over seeing an articulated hand pointing to the ceiling on the ground, but as he got closer realized it wasn’t a “handequin”, but a real hand the owner of which he knew. Katherine is then seen waiting for her brother to show up to their weekly get together, she wondering why he was late when he was characteristically not. We then get a flashback of the time Katherine is shown by her brother the space she would be using to conduct her theoretical experiments. They walk down a long corridor and upon reaching the entrance to the pod, Katherine learns her lab is purely black inside the dome. So when she follows her brother inside, he walks ahead to show her how easy it was to navigate inside.

We are then introduced to Trent Anderson, Capitol police chief who was watching a football game on his mini-screen when he gets a call about a disturbance in the Rotunda and how he’d want to check it out, he going to the main office and seeing the video footage of what had happened, he rushing out to cut off the man who had dropped the hand in the Rotunda. Anderson follows his trail and gets information as to where the man in the sling had gone, but not locating him, we then seeing Mal’akh having disguised himself and contemplated how Langdon would understand his place in this web soon enough.

Langdon then notices two tattoos on the hand both of which he recognized and knew their would be three more, he having an adverse reaction in knowing his friend used to shake his hand with the one he saw on the floor. Langdon also knew this was an invitation to him from a secretively elite group, he attempting to relate to a guard he could help decipher the symbols, but not being given the chance to finish his thought, he getting hauled away from Solomon’s hand. Mal’akh drove his tinted-windowed vehicle and contemplated the last of Peter Solomon’s secrets, it being of Katherine’s “miracles” in her secret lab. He continued to consider his role in her work being uncovered by the world and how this new knowledge would affect the course of mankind’s history if it were to be unveiled and his excitement in playing out his part.

Katherine then goes to her lab, relieved to be through the blacked out walk to it, we then uncovering more about Katherine’s research involving thoughts being able to form physical shape. We then go back to Katherine having an intellectual discussion with her brother when she was starting college and how ancient texts covered the modern physics she brought up. We learn her eagerness to put the ancient texts her brother had introduced her to back into rediscovering certain sciences which would aid modern physics, she then noticing and remembering her conversation with Mal’akh about the legend which could be found and thinking it couldn’t possibly be real.

As the security chief secures the Rotunda, Langdon is desperately trying to speak with him, he still examining the hand on the floor until a call is relayed to him, he being surprised it was from the C.I.A. security office. It turns out to be the director of security and he’s looking to speak with Langdon; Wow. The security chief identifies and hands the phone to Langdon who takes on a curt tone once the director asks for what he knew about a case he was struggling to solve, the director showing up in the room, Langdon unaware, but the security chief of the Rotunda noticing. Langdon is soon surprised by the woman’s presence behind him and she at the end of her patience for a straight answer and stopping Langdon’s back-peddling for excuses to his calling her “sir” over the phone.

We get a further description of Sato’s appearance and Langdon again apologizing for his faux pas regardless of how common it probably was for her. Langdon tries to rectify the situation by offering his only other bit of information about the plane he was sent on, she not regarding it other than to take it unnoticed and telling him to not speak unless spoken to if he couldn’t give the information she asked for, then turning on Anderson for details about what was happening in the Rotunda. After he tells of what they’d found there and Sato not being surprised by it, but deciding she’d be taking over the investigation, Langdon again chimes in with the confirmation of who’s hand it was and it being newly tattooed which did surprise Sato and she taking a closer look after which Langdon discloses the hand’s other fingers would be tattooed as well, he going on to explain what the images would be and Sato wanting to know what it was there for, Langdon telling of what it was called and it being an invitation. Sato then relating to Langdon he knew more of why he was there then he must have realized.

Katherine, meanwhile is checking on her equipment and experiments, we learning there wasn’t a copy of her work anywhere else (we apparently going with her perspective since we learn later this isn’t true), and after which she saw something odd in another area, scaring the jingles off the woman seated, she knowing her by the name of Trish, she being the only other person allowed in the vault. Katherine decides to trust her with discovering what a particular story she’d heard about could mean and giving her a list of words to search for in her special search engine. As Trish goes about writing the program which will harness all the viable search engines already available, we get history of how she and Katherine had met and where she’d worked before signing on with Katherine and her brother. We then see their first meeting and a conversation which ends with the two discussing the theory of an idea being able to accrue more tangential mass the more people think of it. I don’t appreciate getting to know a character whom doesn’t have the opportunity to do much in the story and one which turns out to be only slightly interesting. Damn pawns.

We then rejoin Inoue Sato being told of Langdon’s thoughts of why the hand had been left, she asking what she was supposed to do with the information given, he not knowing and then thinking of how his friend’s hand would point the way, literally or otherwise. Sato continues to sort out why this unknown man would go through so much to get Langdon to Washington whilst Langdon lost his marbles in convincing Sato the man who had done this was insane, she maintaining the man seemed dedicated at the least in getting Langdon to perform the act desired to get to this “portal”. Sato continues her questioning which Langdon’s thoughts shown before answering seem arrogant and snotty, true to his being a knowledge buff which shows no leeway for those seeking truths he had encyclopedic knowledge of already. Langdon then admits the man who had given this strange invitation must have studied closely the Hand of the Mysteries for having set up the invitation in the area given and following the principles involved in the Mysteries “teachings”. Whilst this is going on we get a short view of Trish having set up her spider and being ready to let it loose with the word search she was given, knowing her not being fully informed about why she was being told to search for those words in particular was how the Solomons usually worked.

Meanwhile, Langdon is painfully aware of time passing and knowing he needed to find Solomon before he expired, Sato returning after she’d accepted a phone call and keeping Langdon aware of her need to understand the man whom had set him up, Langdon not agreeing but realizing he didn’t have much choice. Sato asking to have him explain more deeply the ancient mysteries, he not knowing where to start what with his semester long lectures on the subject, but doing pretty well with this almost three page chapter which ends with Sato being told of the apotheosis of Washington which she claimed to not know, but it being above their heads.

First we get the background history of the apotheosis and artist, then we see Director Sato’s confused look upon giving the piece a longer look, Langdon thinking how common this was and then sharing of the specifics of the images. As Sato considered ascending closer to the art on the ceiling, making Langdon’s fear of heights flare, he reminds all, the hand is pointing to a figurative portal. When Sato checks in with her staff by phone, she then lets Langdon realize what he’s told her so far has been corroborated so he must consider what it is he knows which they don’t, Langdon wanting to smart off for not knowing anything, but then voicing and remembering how the next step laid within Solomon’s hand, another tattoo hidden by the position the hand had been placed, he being proved right for being too pussy to actually touch the hand himself, but Sato making the effort with her pen.

Katherine was waiting for Trish’s search results, from her brother to contact her, and for the man whom was the cause of all of this. We then learn of a man, Dr. Christopher Abaddon whom had called her the same afternoon and had earned her trust fairly easily due to their conversation about Peter. She learns the man was her brother’s doctor and she was listed as his emergency contact, Katherine recognizing the doctor’s name, but not being able to place it, stating how long it’d been since she’d last spoken with Peter upon learning he’d missed an appointment and due to she showing no signs of knowing of Peter’s visits, concluding he’d kept his seeing this doctor a secret, which he’d claimed otherwise. Abaddon decides he made a mistake by calling her and she insists she’s going to come see him due to he revealing the time he’d last seen Peter being fairly recent. He reluctantly acquiesces and when she sees Abaddon’s “office”, is uncertain of the kind of doctor he could be. When she exits her car, the man whom emerges from the lavish home is young and refined, as well as all the other perfect qualities of an atypical handsome man. He greets her formally and she wonders of his smooth, possibly make-up covered skin. (An exceptionally obvious meeting with her brother’s captor. When they go inside and he leaves her to finish preparing tea, we learn Katherine is uneasy with the doctor’s home and when Abaddon returns, notes her nervousness and informs her how long he’d been giving Peter therapy.

They speak of minor pleasantries, Katherine wanting to get to the reason for Peter having hired the doctor, whilst remembering the tragedies in Peter’s life which could’ve caused his need for therapy. Abaddon then reveals how he and Peter were both Masons and Abaddon of a high order. He then confides how he didn’t understand why Peter wouldn’t have shared their meetings due to the subject matter involving Katherine’s research. Peter apparently was trying to get a psychologically based opinion for what could occur upon sharing her research publicly, Katherine taken aback by her brother breaking his own rule of sharing no details of her work with anyone during the development. Katherine mentions how she hadn’t any plans to share her work currently, which Abaddon showed curious interest in and then came out with how Peter had a “break” the previous day’s session, which was why he’d scheduled him to come back so soon. Abaddon then decides to share the nature of their session, agreeing to do so only to gain insight, he stating Peter had shared with him the details of their mother’s death and Peter had something the person involved had wanted. Katherine claimed no one could give the man what he had wanted due to his requests making no sense, but Abaddon shares Peter apparently had feigned ignorance and only refused to give in. Abaddon then warns Katherine of the next details he was going to share may be surprising, after discussing his belief of Peter suffering from major delusions involving D.C. and what was hidden there.

We skip back to Langdon surveying Peter’s tattooed hand, he trying to figure what the symbols were, shooting down a suggestion they could be Roman numerals, not certain they were numbers at all. Langdon then supposing it could be runic which leads Sato to pose the question of Peter being a Freemason somehow being a connection. Langdon thinking it was a typical source of possibility and if Sato wanted to know for certain, she should contact a Mason. Langdon then finds her statement of speaking to someone she could trust insulting, stating Mason’s were based on honesty, Sato revealing research which showed differently. Langdon was disliking Sato more, due to the extensive research he’d done over the years about which couldn’t support any deceivery whatsoever. Langdon then has an epiphany as to why he was sought to work this case, which we don’t learn at this point.

Meanwhile Mal’akh hears Peter’s cell go off as he’s driving and sees it’s Katherine, Mal’akh now knowing she knew nothing in regards to Peter’s secrets. Although the valuable knowledge of her research being contained in one place had kept her alive for a bit longer, it helping him contain and ruin her progress so as to keep the world in the dark. He listens to the voicemail Katherine leaves and continues driving to SMSC, knowing a person whom would help him get in to the highly secure building.

We skip back to Langdon’s epiphanal moment for why he was chosen, still not being shared and we only understanding this knowledge made him want to flee. Langdon then flashes back to a meeting with Peter many years ago whilst Langdon was at Cambridge, Peter dropping by to ask a favor. Langdon was happy to oblige and Peter elaborates of the item having been an inheritance and more at ease if it wasn’t in his home or office, producing a packaged box. After Langdon questions and jokes what it was, Peter informs of when the package had been wrapped and would probably be safer if he didn’t know too much about it. We then share a moment with Langdon which shows his denial of the importance of the box he’s being entrusted with, but is reassured of the seriousness and why it would be safer outside the Freemasons reach. Langdon is then given the detail of the item within being a powerful talisman which Langdon didn’t have to believe was true, but to trust Peter and he confiding some powerful people may wish to steal it, so Langdon stores the box in his home and forgets about it, thinking Peter was being eccentric:

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Then we discover the assistant whom called to have him agree to go to D.C. to give the speech, had also mentioned Peter wanting him to bring the packaged box with him, Langdon realizing the error of his ignorance.

Meanwhile Trish’s search had come up fruitful as it continued getting hits, she calling to Katherine to show her the results thus far. When noticing the only entry worthy of checking, Katherine was disappointed to see most of the text blacked out for copyright purposes, so she demands and is desperate to learn whom the author of the text was, Trish needing her to be patient and unnerved by her tone for having “to chase down” the information (…mk). Apparently, Trish can’t uncover the I.P. address necessary to discover the author, trying a different tactic. Her idea didn’t pan out, but was able to determine the text was made by someone in D.C.. Trish, for being such a computer geek sure did give up easily, Katherine coming up with ways to see about getting the information she desired, regardless of whether those ideas didn’t work. Trish then jokes about the only other way to track the I.P. would be to hire a hacker, Katherine going with the idea and asking Trish to hire someone she trusted to decipher the mystery. Katherine then receives a text from Peter, but with the information coming from Abaddon, continuing her plans of acquiring the hacker and in extension, a name, Katherine stating Peter’s first text message is newsworthy for his learning (which seems blatant of it not actually being from him, but Katherine must be a dope or too stressed to notice). We then discover Mal’akh waiting for a call and receiving it within a few moments by Katherine whom shares her getting the text from Peter and is inviting Abaddon to his lab, Mal’akh acting surprised by the invitation and Katherine only wanting to learn the truth. Mal’akh sets up a time of arrival and awaits the moment he would destroy Katherine’s work and herself.

Langdon is trying to cover his odd behavior by making a breakthrough on what looked like a numbered tattoo, talking as he tried to work it out and landing on Roman numerals when the hand is repositioned, which gets a reaction from the Chief, Anderson, whom was looking on, noting the tattoo now indicated a system used in the Capitol Building. As Sato and Anderson spoke amongst themselves, Langdon pondered how they could possibly be familiar with the “SBB” part of the numerals (obviously not considering if it was a system used in the building, why is it still so surprising? No one could possibly have the same level of intelligence as Mr. Langdon, sir.) Sato demands of Anderson to have the area available to her, threatening force if necessary, but he complies and Sato then states of wanting to see the x-ray of Langdon’s bag which was taken upon entry of the building, also deciding to keep the ring from Peter’s severed hand and informing Langdon they would be leaving, Anderson leading the way.

A security specialist was doing several tasks at one time whilst also speaking with Trish on the phone, she trying to appeal to him to check the I.P. address for her, he finally doing so and noting it looked odd and could possibly be military or government-based, and then stating the unmasking may take a little time and would return her call. After which we go back to Langdon, whom is wondering where he’s being led, which already was flaring his claustrophobia. When they began their walk Langdon had noticed how the offices and storage rooms were labelled and once seeing the sign for the SB level decided they must be “getting closer” (Gee, I wonder how he managed such a clever deduction, which turns out to be wrong). Langdon then learns what the SB stood for, and if he thought his claustrophobia was verging on intolerable before, he realized the section before was the cake-walk.

We then see a guard disappointed he had to stop watching his portable TV to do his job of checking Dr. Abaddon before letting him through as a guest to see Katherine, checking his I.D. and slightly paying attention to the limo driver, whom we realize is Mal’akh, he gloating of getting through Peter’s security once more. We then flashback to when Mal’akh had met with Peter and what lengths he’d made to be awarded the 33rd degree in his Freemasonry and not having uncovered any secrets, knowing there were circles within circles and may may not discover. Mal’akh apparently didn’t require the knowledge, believing he’d gotten more from the initiation itself. Then Mal’akh confides he and Peter had met before, but not saying how and tasing Peter, he trying to ask why Mal’akh would do this, guessing money and he scoffing, wanting insight, Peter playing coy, stating ignorance, and Mal’akh revealing the first time they met, tasing him once more before sharing Peter would tell him all which was hidden and why Peter had attempted to kill him years before.

As Langdon is being gripped tightly be his semi-irrational fear, the group going lower into the building’s secure basement, he pondered the role he’d play which included the talisman in his bag and whatever was in room SBB13, we then learning of Langdon’s skepticism regarding the Ancient Mysteries, and learning of this “knowledge” being passed down in the Mystery Schools and eventually being shared with famous scientists within the Royal Society of London, helping these scientists come to their great discoveries. Langdon didn’t believe this was true and is then asked by Sato to decipher the symbols on Peter’s ring. Langdon states of its relation to Peter’s status as a Freemason and he confirming Peter was the highest rank at the moment. Sato then mentions how her people had turned up much information on a pyramid upon certain research regarding the Mason’s, Landon not surprised and a little miffed after explaining why Sato would inquire whether there was any other reason due to how important the one reason mentioned was, but Sato reminded him of a more literal translation which Langdon tries to shut down quickly, knowing for certain it being based in fiction, but she pursuing the subject until he gives an atypical description of how the mythical stories were usually told. Sato then gets a question answered which brought history into myth when speaking of the Freemasons part in knowing of the Ancient Mysteries. Langdon takes his sweet time in mentioning the pyramid Sato had asked and Langdon feeling it necessary to repeat it shouldn’t be taken literally, but an actual pyramid was built to store the Ancient Mysteries and Sato couldn’t help but consider the words of Mal’akh and how Langdon supposedly was the one to unlock the “portal” (pyramid), Langdon brushing off the possibility since he was bound to the idea of its fiction. They were now closer to their destination Langdon seeing the longest corridor he’d ever beheld.

We then go back to Trish who was about to escort Abaddon to the cube and the experience first timers had upon confronting the walk, she flashing back to hers, and then we seeing Katherine obsessing about the file, but getting ready for Abaddon’s arrival. Langdon is learning how the SBB level had been cleared other than room 13 and was designated by the person running the building of whom was called, Architect, we then being told along with Anderson, for whom it was reserved. Anderson also learns Peter must’ve had the primary keys to SBB13, as well as those to the SBB section and would be informed if copies were found. In the meantime, Anderson opens the SBB area and then shares with Langdon what the “S” stood for, the result only being more bad news for Langdon.

The hacker is still attempting to decipher where the I.P. address was coming from, none of his programs working, when he receives a call from the CIA, wondering why he was attempting to access one of their databases. We then following the security guard responsible for letting Mal’akh through, wondering if his job was secure, and then hearing a man knocking on the glass door, he motioning the building was closed when he recognized it was the Architect and rushes to let him in. The security guard offers to help him, Bellamy asking where Anderson was due to hearing of the drama happening. When Bellamy learns of Sato being present and the group being in the lower levels, he requests the security guard escort him to them without informing Anderson of their coming.

Trish made it to the lobby and didn’t expect to see a non-nerd, introducing herself then leading him back to the lab. She noticed through Abaddon’s comment and attitude he’d expected to meet Katherine alone, making Trish wonder if they were dating and letting him know they’d be expecting more visitors, as well as general chit chat, and details of the facility. Trish discusses the security they had which made it impossible to succeed to steal anything and the items being unworthy of interest, anyways. Mal’akh then feigns unabashed interest in the large squid, so Trish accedes to giving him a closer look.

Langdon has slowed his descent due to irrational fear, Sato pushing him periodically to make him move faster. When they do finally reach the door, it isn’t unlocked and the key they had didn’t match, Sato commands Anderson to shoot the lock making it clear if he refused he’d bring more trouble to himself. Sato decides she’ll do the shooting since Anderson hesitated and when they shine the flashlight inside, they don’t see anything until illuminating the back wall and showing parts of a skeleton and other items on a desk, Langdon recognizing what they were there for due to it being a “common” ritual. We then see where Bellamy and the security guard had gone, a floor above where Langdon and group are, they having heard the gunshots and Bellamy releasing the guard to continue alone. The dialogue bothers me when it tries to sound natural only to show a character’s nosiness or arrogance. Brown doesn’t have any redeeming qualities in his characters thus far which makes me despise the people needed to tell the story.

Back to Mal’akh viewing the “Wet Pod” and noting this was one of the oddest experiences he’d witnessed, he being no stranger to unusual environments. The place was filled with specimens and whilst Trish gave random information about certain creatures within the pod, as well as the squid, Mal’akh looked for security cameras. Trish meanwhile, was beginning to feel uncomfortable and thinking she should get them ready to leave, after making a show of letting Mal’akh inside, offering information, and turning on the light to view the squid better. She then makes a show of turning the tank light off when Mal’akh grabs her, yanking off her key card, and demanding her pin number. She tries to hold out, even going so far as to scratch his face, his makeup coming off, not doing any serious damage. After being threatened by Mal’akh dangling her face first over the squid tank, she gives up her code. Mal’akh doesn’t let her up though, Trish blacking out from his grip staying tight around her neck. Now Mal’akh had the key card and password, he didn’t need to harass Katherine for her cooperation.

We see Sato inquiring about the room they were in, Langdon stating the title being a “Chamber of Reflection” and its Masonic origins. When Sato responds with what it looked like to her, Langdon essentially says she’s like most of his entry level students (he needing to show his smarts where he can), he explaining what the items on the table meant. Sato then wonders why Peter would make a place like this in the capitol, Langdon considering it would be for other Masons working there. Sato then lights a candle which illumines the back wall where a typical word was written and Langdon reluctant to admit the meaning could indicate the pyramid. When the candle flickered, Anderson checks outside to be certain no one closed the outside door, whilst Langdon and Sato see movement on the back wall which startled Langdon. When Anderson returns he’s also surprised, Langdon touching the wall and discovering it wasn’t what it seemed and behind lay what Sato described as the pyramid for which they were searching.

Sato was now trying to put Langdon in his place for not believing a Masonic pyramid could be found, when he specifies it isn’t what’s described in the legends, the one they had found being an “Unfinished Pyramid” having a completely different meaning. Sato has a closer examination of the pyramid and is disappointed to discover nothing hidden on it. Upon further explanation by Langdon once Sato asks of one whose “worthiness” would show the hidden code, Sato shows a side of the pyramid with what is similarly described, believing it was the purpose of Langdon being there.

Katherine is now wondering what’s holding Trish up and so calls security to see when she’d used her key card, they noting it was the pod with the squid and guessing she must’ve taken her guest on a tour, then inquiring if Peter had arrived, the answer being to the negative, Katherine hanging up and feeling uneasy once more. Langdon was having trouble believing the script he was seeing was real, Sato assuming Langdon could translate it and Langdon not understanding how she came to her conclusion despite he was being there for seemingly this reason, due also to his reputation in his previous adventures being the reason others had contacted him to do the same (he still unable to see the connection there, or not believing its validity; I’m with ya, Langdon). Langdon still corrects Sato in his head when she refers to the characters as icons and then believes he could decipher it, but gives everyone a run around, instead stating how the pyramid was Peter’s private property, Sato uncaring. She then receives a text which makes her step aside with Anderson again, he learning the x-ray had been sent and the object in Langdon’s bag now obvious. Anderson soon loses focus for hearing rustling noises, the two returning to the pod and Sato aggressively laying into Langdon for withholding information. Langdon looked confused and stayed so even after being shown Sato’s cell, not knowing what he was supposed to recognize. Sato finally explains he was seeing the possessions he carried in his bag, Langdon now coming to the realization of the object in the package connected to the Unfinished Pyramid to make it a “True Pyramid”. Now Langdon understood what Peter had meant when he’d referred to the package as a talisman, he not meaning the magical sort. Langdon still had trouble believing the truth of what he carried. He then offered to explain why it seemed he’d withheld information, Sato making it clear he’d have plenty of time to explain when they got to CIA Headquarters and he better having deciphered the inscription since she’d sent a picture to the CIA’s analyst team and after requesting for Anderson’s gun and not getting a fight for once, promptly aiming at Langdon, whilst Anderson took his bag and added the Unfinished Pyramid to his pack, Langdon then noticing a shadow move from outside the room, hit Anderson from behind, disarming Sato, and commanding Langdon to grab his bag and follow him.

As Langdon followed the “elegant African American man”, he noticed the man knew his way around the dark sub-basement and had keys to go where unauthorized personnel couldn’t. Meanwhile Langdon felt his bag was heavy due to the added weight of the pyramid, the strap feeling like it could break (or he only not being able to handle the strain). Langdon then noticed the Masonic ring on his finger making he and Peter brothers and both in a high order. They then reach familiar territory for Langdon, and run into the security guard from earlier, the man giving him more orders to say nothing of their presence and to lock the door behind them, the guard overcome with being trusted with such an important task. When they leave, Bellamy introduces himself and confides his close friendship with Peter. Bellamy then leads Langdon through a long dimly lit tunnel, whilst Mal’akh walked out of the Pod and repeated Trish’s code to himself despite it only being four numbers, he’d gotten confirmation of his plans going accordingly if not how he’d planned.

Langdon was walking when he received a call which we learn is from Mal’akh, he promising Peter had a chance to live if Langdon followed his demands. Langdon then attempts to convince Mal’akh of the invalidity to believe the pyramid he carried was the Masonic Pyramid to no avail, Mal’akh only wanting Langdon to translate the inscription and he agreeing to let Peter go. Langdon still makes a comment (since he can’t help himself) of the inscription not being useful if Mal’akh knew the pyramid wasn’t Masonic, which Mal’akh has a chance to give Langdon a taste of in his own usual tone, Mal’akh knowing this and Langdon obviously not being privy to the knowledge of it holding the location to the mysteries, surprising Langdon to stop walking Bellamy stopping as well, Mal’akh continuing only to share Langdon was the only one able to crack the message, Langdon believing he was smart by saying it wasn’t difficult and anyone could, Mal’akh reminding him only he had the capstone. Mal’akh was enjoying Langdon’s distress and so concludes with sharing he and Langdon would meet at the secret location to make their trade, Langdon declaring he wouldn’t comply since their wasn’t proof of Peter’s survival, Mal’akh states he shouldn’t play this game with him due to the insignificant role Langdon played, Langdon learning through frustrated shouting of Mal’akh uncovering the mysteries to prove their existence. Mal’akh then notes Langdon needing to hurry his progress to decipher since he needed it before the night ended.

We then follow a New York editor whom was concluding his night, but picks up the phone regardless the late hour due to noticing the caller ID. We learn Langdon was calling and requesting assistance. He then asking for Katherine’s number, and receiving it after some light joking from his editor buddy; This chapter did not need to be a chapter. Katherine notices her phone go off thinking it’s Trish to explain her tardiness and being surprised it’s Langdon whom finally has the chance to express the real trouble her brother was in. Katherine at first doesn’t believe him because of the text she received, Langdon putting together it must’ve been Mal’akh whom had sent the text and after being read the message, Langdon’s urgency for she to leave the building was made clear. Katherine then calls the lobby to discover if the guard could see Trish on his monitors. He going through the footage and realizing Trish not having come out of the pod with Mal’akh and the feed being so clear as to notice his sleeves being wet, seeing he was carrying a key card to enter another pod. Katherine was now running in “the void” and talking on her cell phone, she then realizing Mal’akh had already entered the pod and so stops racing for the exit, instructing the guard to send for help for Trish and herself, closes her cell, knowing it was the only source of light and now trying not to breathe loudly. She then smells ethanol and upon getting stronger, she begins to feel a presence a few feet away, she then taking off her shoes and stepping off the carpet, but not soon enough, feeling herself being grabbed, so she slides out of her lab coat and blindly runs, not knowing where the exit is.

The Library of Congress claims to being the largest library in the world and we proceed to get some “fun facts”. Finally we get to the reason for this information being because Langdon and Bellamy were currently walking through the tunnel which connected the library to the Capitol building. When the two reach a door which doesn’t lock, Bellamy’s resolution is dubiously eyed by Langdon. Which I’d enjoy seeing him attempt to think of something better in a relatively empty underground passage; He has a tendency to doubt everyone other than himself which we seem to keep learning should be the other way around. Finally they reach an area which Bellamy claimed would be safe for them to talk, Langdon having tried to get an explanation during their walk and being rebuffed, which may be the reason he couldn’t believe the place they entered would be thought of as such. They go to a table where Langdon puts the pyramid to be examined, Bellamy making sure Langdon knew the cipher being used, we again learning how simple it was for anyone to figure out, and Bellamy questioning if Langdon knew of the reasons for Sato’s interest in the pyramid, Bellamy supposing she could have realized more dangerous possibilities for it.

We then see what’s happened with Katherine, she still fumbling along off-carpet, then deciding to not move anymore since having abandoned her key card with her coat. Her only comfort was knowing the guard was coming and soon after smells Mal’akh coming toward her. As she is considering abandoning her phone, it’s repeated she smells Mal’akh, and resisting the urge to run, but Mal’akh hears her clothes rustle, she fortunately still escaping up until hitting a wall. She tries to stay along the wall until hearing clothes moving and smelling the familiar whiff of ethanol in both directions she chooses. We then get Mal’akh’s perspective which shows how he’d tricked her and the way he’d locked them inside. We also discover Mal’akh’s intention again, but learning Mal’akh is doing so to get revenge on Peter once he’d learned of her demise. Mal’akh then sees Katherine’s cell open, he thinking she’s made a fatal mistake, but upon dashing at the wall, and hurting himself good with her clever surprise, Katherine is now running beside the wall until she hits the exit, meanwhile wondering where the guard was. She then runs next to a spot with no studs on the wall, which she doesn’t recognize and stops. By this point Brown is becoming way too comfortable using car terms to describe how quickly Katherine is running or stopping. Time to broaden your vocabulary, foo! Katherine then hears Mal’akh coming after her and the guard noisily struggles to get the door open, Katherine realizing how trapped she was, but she had also found a helpful mislead which was in every pod and hadn’t needed to be used until now. She opens, and gets through the door as soon as Mal’akh reaches her, she running off and realizing she wouldn’t be able to outrun him, so deciding to try a different idea, which works as she plans, giving her enough time to get to her car and start the engine, but sees Mal’akh coming, whom wasn’t slowing and breaks her side window. As he grips her, he confesses killing her mother and shouldn’t have waited so long to kill her, she realizing who he was and stomping on the gas pedal, succeeding in getting him off her after some time, it not being enough to put him down, but she being able to drive off unhindered.

The security guard is now seeing Sato and Anderson being aided and Sato demanding to know where Langdon and Bellamy had gone, the guard feeling guilty and seeing how serious they were by bringing a special CIA team to go after the men. The guard calls aside Anderson whom doesn’t take his confession well, and when Sato appears to inquire what was happening, Anderson tries to cover what he’d learned, but Sato already knew what happened due to having discovered the video feed. Langdon was currently worried about Katherine since she hadn’t called him to confirm her safety, and Bellamy had called someone whom wasn’t answering but could offer a safe place to stay. Langdon questioning Bellamy’s sanity since he believed the small pyramid was actually the Masonic Pyramid which would lead to wisdom, he stating this to Bellamy as kindly as he could manage. Bellamy responding in a way which makes Langdon feel belittled, which in turn makes him share how he couldn’t believe the mini-pyramid was the one of legend (my, this is repetitious). We then get to a debate as to the specifics of the legend which includes some Christianity support. Langdon finally apologizes for annoying Bellamy, and in return, Bellamy attempts to show the logistics of how Stonemasons usually show their hints to hidden secrets. Langdon then mentions how if something is referred to as a “legend”, it gave the impression of being made up. Bellamy then questions Langdon’s knowledge of ancient history which Langdon takes as being a lecture, so even though Langdon is taking the interpretation of the word legend seriously he still feels Bellamy is “preaching to the choir”, when told of how it could be taken a different way. Langdon understands Bellamy’s point of view after, he then being prompted to begin decoding the inscription. When seeing the finished translation and not understanding it, he considers he may not be enlightened enough.

A CIA analyst is reviewing the same inscription translation and on the phone with Sato, the operative unable to make sense of it and the x-ray which was sent detailing the capstone being made of gold, Sato makes it clear to keep in touch if the writing on the pyramid was decrypted. Sato then clarified to the field agents to exert whatever force necessary to obtain Langdon’s little package and pyramid. Katherine is still high-tailing her way down the street. As she drives she remembers the night Peter had shot Mal’akh, but failed to kill him, we learning a bit more of the circumstances, as well as of Peter’s own family and how his son was connected to Mal’akh. Meanwhile Mal’akh rushes back to see if he could regain access to Katherine’s lab, we learning Katherine knew Mal’akh’s true identity and his address, he believing he’d now be able to complete his mission of possessing the pyramid and murder Katherine before the night ended. Mal’akh goes into the pod and into Katherine’s lab with no issues, he impressed with the lab equipment. Some include Katherine’s experiments scientifically answering philosophical and theological questions which Mal’akh planned on shutting down before enlightenment could be found by the unworthy. Mal’akh may have had general access to the pod, but whilst he had acquired Katherine’s key card, he didn’t have her pin to get to the data room so he could get to the information which he meant to destroy. He had a back up plan though, which involved obtainable chemicals, and we don’t learn whether he succeeds, instead hearing Katherine call 911 from the operator’s side, she describing the attack and where Mal’akh lived, she suspecting this was where he was keeping Peter.

Bellamy was trying to convey how mysterious the pyramid was, Langdon unsurprised what with his fruitless deciphering of code, and not coming closer to discovering meaning. Bellamy suggests the answer may lie with the capstone and they had the unique opportunity to keep the secret safe. Langdon doesn’t quite understand the importance still, and Bellamy makes his point of view clear by speaking of Freemasonry having kept him open to ideas which seemed improbable. Next, a patrolman at the SMSC had been notified of the keypad at pod 5 having been defiled and of the bay door being open. When he goes to investigate, he’s laid out by Mal’akh whom had completed his oily trek to start his fire from, the guard realizing what Mal’akh had done, but giving the impression of learning too late. Katherine sees the blast as she’s driving away from the pay phone, but thinks it could have something to do with a football game. She then hopes the police were sent to the SMSC to help Trish, and upon realizing she didn’t remember Langdon’s number, decides to continue on to their agreed upon meeting place, then seeing a fireball erupt into the air, figuring soon after where it must’ve originated.

Bellamy was now desperately trying to make contact with whomever could aid them, Langdon thinking of Peter and Mal’akh’s words to him. Once Bellamy’s unsuccessful call is finished, Langdon wonders where the deciphered message was supposed to lead them, Bellamy sharing he’d heard it would take them to a particular staircase. Bellamy then mentions how he’d not seen it, but the Mason he’d tried to contact did believe in its existence. Bellamy then makes it clear to Langdon he didn’t need to believe the power of what Peter entrusted to him, but should understand he needed to protect it even if Peter was lost for the effort, Langdon being shocked by the suggestion. Bellamy then explains what is supposed to come first in these situations. When Langdon states he didn’t want to leave before meeting up with Katherine, Bellamy puts his priorities in order, they then hearing the bucket set-up to make noise, do so, repeatedly. We then seeing Katherine drive up to the library and see what she does from a homeless man’s point-of-view, she trying to get in, the homeless man having the most eye-rollingly pathetic joke set up as he watches Katherine.

 Katherine sees the doors open, Langdon coming out, and she breaking down. Bellamy then ushers them back to where they’d left the pyramid, Katherine recognizing it, and Bellamy putting it back in Langdon’s bag before guiding them to a cabinet which wasn’t what it seemed. Mal’akh was currently driving toward his home and contemplating the possibility of Katherine calling the cops and how conspicuous he looked, we then getting the back story of Mal’akh in prison for drugs and overhearing a late-night conversation between an administrator and Peter Solomon about his son, giving Mal’akh an idea which he planned with the administrator, and upon execution, we knowing where Mal’akh had become so rich (criss-cross!), also how he’d become the mutant he now was. We then learn how once watching a TV special on Freemasons reminded him of information about the Masonic Pyramid he’d heard from Peter’s son, we then seeing Mal’akh’s memory of the same one we’d seen through Katherine earlier. We view Mal’akh’s escape to the woods, facing off with Peter, and their conversation before Peter takes his shot at Mal’akh.

Simkins, a CIA operative is whom we follow next, he having blasted the library with explosive to finish his mission of acquiring the pyramid and package, he using thermal imaging goggles to trace their targets to the cabinet-not-cabinet, he following them down some stairs to loudly humming machinery, tracing the two men’s heat signatures into another room and seeing their trail, Simkins says some typical phrases of hide-and-seek to himself, finally gaining enough to see Bellamy struggling to continue running away. Simkins then orders for a shot to incapacitate Bellamy, noting no one was ahead of him to chase, Bellamy playing coy as to where Langdon was, and Simkins making it plain he shouldn’t mess around.

Langdon and Katherine were lying head-to-head and Langdon was adamant in keeping his eyes closed so he could ignore the close quarters he was in. We then get a flashback of Bellamy stating what Langdon would need to do to escape since he couldn’t go with them and regretted not being able to share more valuable knowledge due to time constraints. Bellamy has enough time to mention for Langdon to expect a call and what to do when he started the conveyor belt.

Meanwhile security was called before sending police to Mal’akh’s estate, the guard checking the premises. She checks in to confirm no disturbance is noticeable, then sees an odd light from a basement window, she seeing a terrible sight which she would’ve called in if not for being tasered. Bellamy is then shown with a bag over his head and hands bound being led through the library stacks by the agents. He is physically threatened and confides his lie of Langdon’s whereabouts without much prompting. We then get a memory from Bellamy of Peter’s son’s birthday, where he was to receive his inheritance, but also a choice to join the Freemasons and learn of the Ancient Mysteries, his son taking it as a joke and having no interest, but to make it worse, his son seems to be retarded as well, since Peter didn’t deny him his inheritance, but was offering the wisdom of the Masons along with it, the boy only focusing on the fact it would mean he’d have to wait to claim it. When his son leaves to fulfill his soon to be tortured fate, Peter’s eyes, as well as a previous character, fill with pain (making me think all the males are getting teary-eyed and are being saved their manliness to mention it in an acceptable way). Bellamy, upon asking and not liking the answer, decides Peter should take back the capstone and have someone else store it for safety from the expected possibility of Peter’s son blabbing. Some years later is when we see the truth of Bellamy’s foresight, which is also the time Peter takes the capstone to give to Langdon. We then learn Bellamy was the one to offer the hiding place of the pyramid, he now hoping Langdon could handle his given responsibility.

Langdon is now thinking of how Katherine must be feeling at the moment and trying not to think of his closely quartered position. He starts a conversation in order to confess the details of Peter’s hand, but Katherine instead confides of her thoughts on why her mother was killed and the pyramid. She then shares her experience with Mal’akh to give him insight as to how he’d gotten access to the SMSC and her office most likely having been destroyed. Langdon does get his chance to share his side and in her presumably shocked silence, he assures her he’ll decode the pyramid to get Mal’akh where he wanted and Peter’s safety insured. Katherine then lets Langdon know of where they’d reached and having to open his eyes since he had to jump, “just in time” before the ride gave him a second go. Katherine then brings Langdon’s bag to a table to have a look at the pyramid, Langdon relaying Peter’s instructions mirroring Bellamy to keep the package safe. Katherine doesn’t accept this due to how much it had already cost her family and despite Langdon prompting her to stop, she continues to break the seal and undo the twine.

We then see the old man whom Bellamy was attempting to reach sitting in a garden, his caretaker rushing out to locate and deliver Bellamy’s message, of which gets the old man up and wishing to be escorted inside. Switching back to Katherine continuing to open the package, Langdon nervously watching on, we finally getting a description of the capstone case, Katherine discovering how to open it to uncover the capstone, she not believing the inscription saying what it did. Sato meanwhile isn’t liking the lack of locating Langdon or the capstone and Bellamy wasn’t forthcoming which she was going to attempt to change, she then receiving bad news from her analyst whom wasn’t able to crack the pyramid code, but was commanded to continue to try. Sato then learns more from the field agent on the track to Langdon and the status of Bellamy, Sato deciding to go against protocol to interrogate Bellamy privately. We move back to Katherine and Langdon, both surprised by the simple and uninformative inscription. The two could only figure the obvious with the message, and knowing there must be more, Langdon felt like a failure once more.

Mal’akh was now handling the gap in his window and goes inside. As he’s readying to shower, he notes Langdon only had a couple more hours to call him. Langdon, now reminding Katherine of they being tracked and should probably keep moving, also hoping Bellamy hadn’t been caught. Katherine then regains Langdon’s attention for having noticed what looked like a date on the box, Langdon knowing it was a symbol for crediting a person’s work secretly. Langdon shares the credit with Katherine in learning where they need to go next. We return to the old man being led inside by his helper and the assistant being dismissed, he researching the question Bellamy had asked for it seeming meaningless to him, but found it was a signal for help. Katherine is currently absorbing the information of the name she had discovered as she followed Langdon, wondering how the name could be helpful to them. Langdon explains which painting they were looking for, Katherine stopping them from going all the way to the original when the internet was easily accessible, Langdon disappointed (the fool). Katherine discovers the painting and remembers what her brother told her about it. Langdon then playfully urges her to pick out the numbers they were searching for in the painting (since they all of a sudden have time for nonsense), he then stating it would be how they solved the grid of letters.

Bellamy is unaware of the next step of Sato’s plan for him, but did hear parts of conversation which left him a bit nervous about his destination as he’s roughly made to vacate the SUV. As they guide him blindfolded through a building, Bellamy deduces where he was and how they’d gotten in. The guard leaves him and he thinks he’s alone, until hearing breathing, and then a match striking, Sato taking his blindfold off, ready to hear him talk. Katherine was now catching on to Langdon’s reasoning and they continued adding Dürer’s squares, Langdon bringing it back to the task they came to solve. Langdon’s excitement waning and asking once more if she’s certain she wants to go against Peter’s wishes, she making it clear she’d decipher the pyramid regardless, Langdon figuring a new sequence and realizing it’s Latin. As they continue to uncover what the message meant in regards to a location, Langdon receives a call. The old man relays his location through riddle and Langdon catches on, ready to meet him to get more answers.

Next we see Mal’akh’s cleansing ritual where we needed to be made aware of his enormous giblet, this potentially being his last night as a normal life-spanned human. He studied his last patch of untattooed skin on his head and then going to his computer to read an email which confirms his wait would soon be ending. We then learn the CIA agent hadn’t found anything where Bellamy had mentioned Langdon had gone, but this soon changes when he sees the conveyor belt, he reporting this information to the leader and being ordered to go to the Adam’s Building.

Langdon and Katherine were now leaving for their new destination. Katherine the first to notice the hubbub at the previous building, Langdon pulling her along to hurry. They locate a taxi and make more distance from their pursuers. Katherine taking more precautions by not mentioning where they were going and dumping Langdon’s cell, which was rightly done, for the taxi driver had called to snitch on them due to the Dispatcher describing them, Simkins now giving the man instructions.

Sato was now questioning Bellamy on his actions against her and Anderson, as well as helping Langdon, Bellamy soon being told of Sato’s reasons for obtaining the capstone was to cooperate with Mal’akh due to being a danger to the public. Bellamy refuses to help which Sato’s call makes plain may not be a problem. Meanwhile Langdon is wishing the taxi would pick up the pace and Katherine has discovered where the capstone led, it being in the other direction, she changing the taxi’s direction, it being overheard by Simkins and they following. The driver hears where they figure they must go next, desperately offering to drive,but they go off, Simkins soon there and the driver noting where they must be going.

We then return to Mal’akh whom was remembering the time with Peter as he fell and eventually hit the water behind the Solomon family home. After some time being trapped under the ice we are told how he escapes and gives himself time to heal, driving further away and hearing on the radio of the murder of Peter and Katherine’s mother, which confuses him. When he settles in New York to heal, Mal’akh has taken some back steps when it came to being drug-free and staying in shape, but a distraction soon comes in the form of a tattooed clerk, Mal’akh deciding to cover his scars. Once being told by a tattoo artist to study more on the subject, since he didn’t want to choose a tattoo himself, Mal’akh’s taste for reading returns, he going to the library and reading everything on tattoo history. When he’d exhausted those sources, he widened his search for mystical, symbolic books, including Aleister Crowley. Mal’akh is soon sacrificing a crow and saying incantations with the rest of the funny ones of like-minded hobbies. Caused by this, Mal’akh had renewed energy, working out again. Thinking his energy came from his sacrifices, he made traps in the park for all sorts of woodland creatures. This also being when Mal’akh makes his decision of the ignorance of humanity and once reading Paradise Lost, discovers his new name (we schlepping through a few before this point). Mal’akh then thought of what he would become and making a sketch to tattoo on his body.

We move on to George Washington’s Masonic Memorial and Simkins still trailing Katherine and Langdon’s train. Simkins gets his team inside to wait for their arrival. We go to Katherine wondering why the CIA would show so much interest in the mystical (we knowing already). Katherine then notes to Langdon how close they were to arriving. Simkins now had two men ready to have the conductor of the car keep the doors to the train shut, they able to do so and the man letting them enter through manually, locking the door behind them. Next came the easy task of sweeping all the cars until they happen upon Langdon and Katherine, certain they’d be caught, but surprise, they didn’t see them on-board. We then understand how Katherine had misled the taxi driver, she and Langdon now at Washington National Cathedral. They are met at the door by the blind man after discussing some interesting facts about the cathedral including a reference to a statue depicting a character from Star Wars. Bellamy now watching Sato lose her shit on the phone with Simkins, upon hanging up reporting to Bellamy if he knew where Langdon was, he better share, and after being denied, relays how much she knew of what he’d done before helping Langdon, he unable to fathom how she could know, and she revealing how simple it had been, then giving more information on her knowledge of the case which made Bellamy consider she was with a sister organization to the Masons.

Mal’akh was currently in his deceptively large basement going to the largest room at the end, to prepare for his offering. He brought out an extremely old, large, and lost-to-history knife. He begins a ritual which ended with the product of his final tattoo being inked with. We then see the blind man, Galloway lead Langdon and Katherine to his office, where they begin catching Galloway up on information he hadn’t been informed of, Langdon placing both items in front of Galloway upon his request, he then demanding what Langdon expected of him after they had gone against both Peter and Bellamy’s advice. Galloway then shares how they hadn’t fully uncovered the meaning of the pyramid which reveals the location Mal’akh expected. Langdon then questions Galloway’s sanity once he mentions the pyramid could physically transform, but before this Galloway, regarding spot on, Langdon’s ignorance, as well as the terrible situation Katherine had put in motion. We then see Sato showing Bellamy a computer screen, the contents of which making Bellamy regret the part he’d played in the events so far. We not having the details shared.

Meanwhile Galloway questioned Langdon of whether he knew why Peter had chosen him to keep the package, Langdon being able to relay what he’d been told, they then jumping from Peter’s instinct of bad tidings, Katherine’s studies (which further details of are disappointing to me), and the CIA’s interest in “mystical sciences”. Galloway then reconfirms how the pyramid will divulge knowledge in its transformation. Galloway then guides Langdon’s finger to probe the box of the capstone (ha-ha). When he does feel what Galloway was indicating, the “transformation” is to Langdon’s finger tip, showing a simple symbol, which Katherine identifies. After Langdon’s unimpressed yet again, Galloway plays him by pretending to not know the symbol had multiple meanings to different cultures and sciences, Galloway then mentioning Peter’s Masonic ring also having an indentation, Langdon discovering this to be true and Galloway revealing how it also played a part in the symbolon. Langdon, once fitting the ring inside the box flush to the indent, plays with it according to what is mentioned on the ring and we don’t get any information due to the chapter’s end. We are then given Galloway’s perspective in having the satisfaction of schooling a symbologist on his career of study, then Langdon’s perspective on seeing the box react like a puzzle box, changing its form. Langdon soon understanding what its new form represented. The next bit goes into detail behind the meaning and it making me want all the more to read The Name of the Rose. Langdon is struggling to remember a connection which Galloway helps by mentioning the use of pseudonyms, Langdon writing the name down, after which Katherine realizes where this information will next lead them, Galloway interrupting her for hearing others coming and not wanting the knowledge if prompted to share, he urging them to quickly pack up. Bellamy was attempting to contact Langdon, leaving a message stating simply a horrible event has occurred.

Mal’akh had performed a life and sex mutilating surgery on himself and he contemplates the next role Peter would play. He noted how terrible a person Peter was and no one knowing, referring back to having left his son in prison and how his actions had created Mal’akh, he then readying himself to take care of matters of this reality. Katherine and Langdon are now running once more, out of the cathedral, but they soon realize a helicopter is visible above them, they hiding in a tunnel. Their escape route had been barred by the helicopter hovering over it, but Langdon commands Katherine run when he puts together it was landing. Galloway was currently walking to the door, reinvigorated by the connection of the Rosicrucian manifestos he’d read whilst young, we then getting Simkins point-of-view again as he approaches the cathedral with men and gets a smart ass response from Galloway upon asking if he’d seen Langdon.

Then we go to the CIA security analyst, Nola waiting for Sato’s call and receiving one from someone in her department with information about what she was working on due to a program which was supposed to be helpful to the agency and Nola found distracting, but tonight actually would aid her, after listening to the co-worker speak of the hacker being hired and the key-word being searched, she demands the agent come to her with all prevalent information. Nola’s story playing a significant minor role in the long run and only another vehicle for Brown’s spew of mystical “facts”. Langdon and Katherine had made it to Cathedral College, it being across the lawn from the Cathedral where Katherine claimed she could get the supplies needed to transform the pyramid, they locating the kitchen and Katherine making Langdon do the heavy work in setting up. Outside, the helicopter pilot had noticed a thermal mist, reporting to Simkins, Langdon and Katherine awaiting the right temperature to see if the pyramid would change, which it does, showing a three-word location, which Katherine now prompted Langdon to make the phone call Mal’akh was expecting in under ten minutes, Langdon hesitating again, but when calling is surprised by an unknown voice, we learning he was speaking to the partner of the security woman checking Mal’akh’s house and they having found Peter, Katherine declaring they’d come immediately.

Langdon and Katherine see the empty lawn and believe the team must be inside the Cathedral, wrongly as Sato speaks up in response to their out loud thought. Katherine and Langdon blurt the truth, even showing the secret text, Sato then sending for Bellamy whom was outside, Sato giving the two more word lashings for having destroyed her plan of catching Mal’akh. When Bellamy enters, Sato immediately has him send an attached picture to Mal’akh of the capstone, making Langdon aware of the part Bellamy had been playing, as well. We then see Mal’akh receiving the text and wondering why Bellamy had decided to play games with him now, he being the sort whom didn’t play nice. Katherine, Langdon, and Bellamy were now waiting with Sato for a call from Mal’akh so she could continue her goal of catching him, Katherine being denied going to her brother. Galloway is then brought in before Bellamy gets the phone call, Mal’akh acting like he still possessed Peter, and Bellamy insisting he meet him at Franklin Square with Peter for the trade of the address. Mal’akh agrees only upon he coming alone and after hanging up, Sato commands her men briskly, Katherine desperate to get to Peter and convincing Sato of the necessity, Sato dispatching an agent to accompany Katherine and Langdon. Galloway is still seated and gives Langdon a message to pass to Peter which Langdon didn’t understand (surprise), he collecting the pyramid and being whisked away with Katherine.

Sato was setting up her men in Franklin Square, relying on Mal’akh being truthful about the time it would take him to arrive, as everyone got into position, Sato awaiting two phone calls, one from Nola and the other from the agent with Langdon and Katherine, whom were speeding to Mal’akh’s home, Langdon discovering the pyramid and capstone had a new substance all over them, but they’d reached the house and Langdon couldn’t delve further, Katherine rushing in and no one realizing until too late, the people inside weren’t medical crew, Katherine flying through the air. She not knowing what had tripped her up, but seeing Mal’akh going after Langdon after taking down the agent. Mal’akh then held Katherine down as he bound her with wire, to keep her from struggling free. Meanwhile Langdon was recovering from his stun gun attack and when he was able to turn his head, saw the pyramid had transformed again, he now understanding the message Galloway had given him to pass on, and when being able to move more and seeing the state of Katherine, is surprised by finally seeing Mal’akh, he blacking Langdon’s consciousness out. We then see Mal’akh recapping how he’d tricked Bellamy, Langdon, and Katherine, now focusing on the pyramid for a moment until putting it away and dragging Langdon rather than carrying him due to he being toned. (Jeez, eye-roll, much?) During this we get an inside view of Mal’akh’s beliefs being fleshed out and explained in contrast and similarity to Christianity.

Sato was now insisting the Franklin Square address must be real and having Nola recheck for its location. Nola trying a different tactic to search and coming up with an odd description of the building. Langdon revives with a debilitating headache, meanwhile, and not recognizing his surroundings, but discovering he was naked, and when he attempts to sit up and almost knocks himself out, he discovers the room he was in was actually a box, he now dealing with his worst nightmare (I now remembering he swims fine, and he didn’t become afraid of water from his childhood trauma, as well, oddly). When we return to Katherine’s side of what had occurred after Langdon had been forced into unconsciousness, she sees Mal’akh disappear with him plus the corpse, and when she hears footsteps, Brown decides having her “hope against hope”, it isn’t Mal’akh; great, Brown. Mal’akh carries Katherine to a hidden door where she notes of the insulation behind was “apparently not meant to be heard by anyone outside”, so it’s possible, but we we’re supposed to hope against hope they can? As Mal’akh takes her further down into his basement, Katherine smells particular odors and Mal’akh comments of being impressed with her work, he hoping she felt the same of his.

Simkins was currently watching Bellamy not being approached when he receives a call from Sato who was concerned about something unmentioned, Simkins responding by glancing at the buildings whilst in cover by bushes, Sato commanding he’s now to watch the building, and both he and Sato realizing the agent sent with Katherine and Langdon hadn’t called yet. We then see Langdon attempt to calm himself with visualization, but it wasn’t working. Then we return to Katherine whom was slowly choking on her gag, Mal’akh removing it, in the nick of her unconsciousness, he then popping a finger in her mouth for rubbing on his literally bald (the devoid of tattoo area) spot, with her spittle, Katherine noticing Langdon’s belongings on the floor, Mal’akh pointing where Langdon was being stored and how he wouldn’t suffocate, only letting him torture himself. Langdon is then shown hearing a terror-stricken Katherine speaking about him, and then feels the air from the vent in the box, we seeing what Katherine saw about to be pumped inside, this being when Mal’akh confesses what he’d done to Trish and how his near drowning had made it clear to him how he’d become one of the gods. We move back to Langdon as he’s slowly being consumed and feeling he was sure to die.

Katherine was begging and crying, saying they’d cooperate if he stopped the process which would kill Langdon. Mal’akh responding about the way they’d betrayed him by bringing an agent to his home and not revealing all of the address wouldn’t be taken lightly. Katherine continues to promise to comply with anything he wanted and when Mal’akh tests this she immediately clams up, he literally applying pressure and finally she confessing the information he asks, until he mentions the symbols on the bottom of the pyramid and what was at the address, she not knowing. Mal’akh takes care of her ignorance of the former easily, retrieving the pyramid which had a grid of symbols including religious symbols, as well as the zodiac, Katherine admitting to not knowing what it could mean. Mal’akh then goes to Langdon’s box and shifts a panel in the top so he could show Langdon the base of the pyramid, Langdon needing to come up with an answer quick before he wouldn’t be able to speak anymore.

Langdon struggles to make a connection, but the symbols were a-jumble and struggling to also remember what building actually existed in 1850 which could make sense of the address wasn’t forthcoming either. Then, when his ears are covered he has an epiphany, the text was a symbolon, as well and he conveys this to Mal’akh whom won’t release him unless he told him beforehand, which he does, but Mal’akh makes as if he was going to leave Langdon inside anyways to die. Langdon, due to swimming as a pastime, knew not to struggle, which would waste oxygen, instead hoping he would be saved, Katherine being held above him, unable to do anything, but watch. Mal’akh then moves Katherine to a table down the hall, after she witnesses Langdon’s last look of terror, strapping her down. He again has a power driven moment of obtaining saliva from her mouth and onto his head. He leaves and then Katherine notices the extensive amount of drawings on the walls, and next to her was the bone knife, along with some other items which worried her. We then go back to Nola, whom was awaiting the agent to show up and when he does so with the single page searched by the hacker, the shocking piece of information was whom the page belonged, Sato’s boss. Simkins was still waiting for movement at Franklin Square and only seeing Bellamy shivering and pacing, Sato calling, and once they discuss how late Mal’akh was, she decides to call off the operation, learning where the agent whom still hadn’t called had taken Langdon and Katherine, we discovering how uncommon it was for Sato to feel chilled or fear and currently possessed both.

We then go to Mal’akh whom was rushing to his “laptop computer” to prepare for his escape. Langdon, before being submerged had shared the meaning of the text on the pyramid, again pointing to a magic square which would then divulge more information which Mal’akh was currently researching. Mal’akh deciphers enough to know his next destination, we then moving on to Katherine, whom was still bound to the table in the basement, she thinking of Peter’s survival possibilities and her research’s demise. We get a flashback of Katherine showing Peter footage of an experiment which not only was Kevorkian-esque, but made weight measurements specific to a human body before and after death. After this remembrance, she’s brought back to reality upon hearing Mal’akh coming down into the basement and wheeling a drastically changed and gagged Peter into the room. Mal’akh explains Peter was joining him to his final location and was allowing them a farewell. Mal’akh then jabs Katherine with a needle as collateral for Peter’s cooperation, claiming he’d have time to save her after, if everything played out accordingly. Mal’akh leaves with Peter, and Katherine is alone in the dark.

Meanwhile we see Langdon supposedly now a conscious spirit, floating around and such. Sato and Simkins is next seen spotting the CIA vehicle and landing. When he viewed a body through a window, his team gracelessly make an entrance and check the house, discovering nothing. Sato makes for Mal’akh’s office after hearing Simkins report from within, being disappointed to deduce Mal’akh used a laptop and the monitor would have nothing of importance. Katherine heard the CIAs footsteps and tried to calm herself for the blood loss quickening upon attempted noise. Langdon was experiencing nothingness and recent memories of Mal’akh, and then some chanting. Then Sato locates Simkins on hands and knees, viewing some depression tracks in the carpet being oddly traced from the wall, Simkins uncovering the hidden door. Langdon is now receiving an insistent bell toll along with the chanting he seemed to believe he was meant to understand. We then seeing a flashback of Langdon attending a lecture (for once) by a friend (whom else would he bother to willingly listen?) Once we are told it’s Peter, we hear about his lecture and the questions the ripe young minds throw out, blasting information we’ve already gone through, other than mentioning where Langdon had first heard a couple words of the chant before. Peter makes a killing with his speech after having answers to all those opposed and appreciation for those in agreement.

Katherine is saved before impending death, the agent trying to get her to speak of Mal’akh’s whereabouts, she still verging on fainting, but able to convey where he’d gone which wouldn’t be readily understood. During this, Sato is led to the box, she sliding the window open for the sight she was physically repelled by–Robert Langdon (ha-ha). Langdon was hallucinating, apparently where he wondered whether he were staring into God’s face (Yeah, t’would surely make sense). We then learn the true nature of the liquid Langdon had been put in, leaving him alive and essentially well. Sato then goes about the easiest way to revive Langdon without traumatizing him so he could relay what he knew. Langdon’s resurfacing, despite all the attempts to keeping him comfy, were jarring as a bitch, but he regains his faculties quickly enough.

Langdon is then led by Sato to the room Katherine was in, he relieved, but aware of her serious condition, but she awake and in shock by him standing in front of her, she showing all kinds of affection for her disbelief and happiness. After discussing where Mal’akh had gone, Langdon offers his ability to recall the symbols so they could attempt to follow. As Sato looks up what Langdon requested, it gave him enough time to see the pages pasted on the walls, he realizing Mal’akh had been searching for the “Lost Word”, Sato then receiving a call from her techie agent, her news no longer applicable and Sato sharing the bad news of Mal’akh carrying a laptop. Mal’akh is then shown wheeling Peter to a place where he had the code to the gate, it being Freemason related, Peter aware of where in the building Mal’akh was guiding him and looking worried, Mal’akh assuring if he went along willingly, Katherine would live, whilst thinking to himself she was most likely already dead. Langdon is next seen struggling to remember a final letter and upon doing so, immediately knows where they’d gone. We flip back to Mal’akh, now at the room of his initiation, planning on using Peter to decipher the rest of the message on the pyramid to track the riches/lost word. Langdon is also conveying the same to Sato and the knowledge of the word for Mal’akh’s empty spot on his head and the ritual to come for Peter. Sato then is shown the second use of the blonde wig of Mal’akh’s, as well as Simkins getting the required code to the gate from Bellamy, Langdon at first being denied coming, but once learning he was the only other person whom knew how to navigate the innards of the place quietly, the O-K is given by Sato.

Mal’akh was now assembling the symbolon and rubbing in how Peter had not figured out how to decipher it, he removing the gag from his mouth when he saw Peter was attempting to speak. Peter pleads for Mal’akh to send help for Katherine, Mal’akh confirming he’d do so once Peter told him where the staircase was, Peter now horrified by Mal’akh’s insistence and knowing there wasn’t one (which later on seems to be untrue), but Mal’akh is now all smiles and contented in knowing he had time to spare, but Katherine didn’t, then showing Peter the deciphered symbols and Peter’s disbelief in it showing what Mal’akh described. Peter decides a different play, he agreeing to show Mal’akh once sending help for Katherine, but Mal’akh was messing with Peter, he showing more of his tattoo and how he only wanted the Lost Word. As Mal’akh organized the other items he’d brought, he relays how Peter must not yet comprehend the trouble he was in.

 Langdon, before leaving with the CIA, gets another cheek kissed by Katherine, since she was staying behind with Bellamy (isn’t Brown so kind to give Langdon the hope of a woman’s affection?), but now Langdon noticed they weren’t going to land anywhere near where Mal’akh had taken Peter, Sato sharing she aimed to go in quietly, Langdon arguing the extent of what she was attempting to prevent. Sato sets up the laptop she had used to show Bellamy, assuming it’s the same recording, of which were from the Masonic initiation rituals. Langdon understood the video had been cut to make the Masons look bad, he becoming more disturbed as he saw the rituals and whom of celebrity and political power he recognized. Brown then shares why the Masons had rituals so themed toward death, the positive to Mal’akh’s negative, and how it was supposed to teach the brothers of an optimistic way of viewing life and why the teachings stayed unchanged. Langdon knew it wouldn’t be accepted well if made public, even whilst pretending to convince himself otherwise, knowing it’s a pipe dream and still making us sit through it. Langdon in obvious agreement as to how serious it was to stop Mal’akh.

Mal’akh was currently still threatening Peter with sending a group email of the video if he didn’t confess the word, this after Peter had viewed the footage. Mal’akh tries to get Peter to decipher the code, Peter showing pure contempt, Mal’akh not minding due to believing the energy from his emotion will help Mal’akh’s ritual. Meanwhile Sato was discussing with Nola game plans to stop the internet in the area which was pretty much impossible, Nola suggesting electro-magnetic pulse, but Sato returning with the pointlessness due to the stone building Mal’akh was in, currently. Sato ends with Nola to stay in touch if she saw any news breaks. Langdon was now being hastily driven to Mal’akh’s location, and Peter was struggling with how he’d last seen Katherine and the progress of the email being sent. Peter decides to confess the truth which Mal’akh senses is genuine and knowing he’d found the Lost Word. Meanwhile a CIA agent believed he had uncovered something useful in Mal’akh’s trash, speaking with Nola. Katherine was feeling better with her infusion of “Ringer’s solution” and now free to worry about Peter, she then wandering around to discover Bellamy upset in the study and confessing he’d discovered the reason for Mal’akh’s hate for the Solomons.

Mal’akh was now inscribing his bald spot with the word and readying for his sacrifice which included cutting Peter from his bonds, Peter asking why Mal’akh would put him though so much, Mal’akh going through the sacrificial motions to gain power. Mal’akh then finally reveals more about the sacrifice he would make and confides whom was truly responsible for Peter’s family’s deaths. We then see the connection of Bellamy’s knowledge of why Mal’akh had chosen to come after Peter and his kin, the reveal not exceptionally surprising if readers are paying attention. Peter is truly in shock by the revelation and Mal’akh, ecstatically reveling in Peter’s pain. We then get the picture of what Bellamy saw as Katherine perused the newspaper articles in the drawer, she getting weak in the knees as she realized how she knew Mal’akh more closely.

Langdon directed Simkins to the back entrance and then Langdon mentions a skylight in the room Mal’akh and Peter were in, Simkins passing it on to Sato who decides to take advantage of this. Peter sensing Mal’akh had no empathy in his eyes and in order to save Katherine from death and his brothers from public ridicule, he had to choose quickly whether he would give Mal’akh what he demanded. Langdon and Simkins were now making their way through the building when Langdon heard a scream, entering the room to see a bald figure about to drive home the knife. We learn how Mal’akh becomes injured by the helicopter and he having a kind of waking coma, Peter informing him the sign he’d written in head head wasn’t the Lost Word, Mal’akh being in denial of this being true, but Peter explaining he wouldn’t have believed the truth, Mal’akh then making the descent into what is supposed to be Hell, presumably.

Katherine is then reunited once more with Peter, she trying to ignore Mal’akh’s body in the room, then meeting Langdon’s gaze as she comforted Peter, which was a rarity. Nola is then shown making a call to Sato after stopping the remote transmission of email being sent to all media, due to the garbage hunt. Nola being congratulated with time to sleep. Langdon looks like shit as he stared at himself in the mirror and being interrupted by Katherine whom was about to check something Peter had informed her of, and Peter asking for Langdon, he going to begin by responding like a smart ass, as usual. Peter then readies to fulfill Masonic prophecy by confessing the Lost Word to Langdon, whom was hard-pressed to believe the Age of Enlightenment would stem from a single word. Peter sets the symbols of the pyramid before Langdon to hear him decipher it, he giving a detailed answer which Peter accepts, but elaborates of knowing the true answer of where the Lost Word was hidden, pulling a Langdon by making him work for the answer (they being meant for each other in this respect). Peter then divulges how he’d had an epiphany of the meaning of the symbols leading to the Lost Word’s location, Langdon reverting to his safe place of incredulity and believing Peter’s traumatic night had turned him “funny”, but Peter explains how Langdon could see the map for himself. When he does understand, he maintains his usual skepticism and Peter confides Langdon has earned the right to see for himself. Simkins is ready to drive them once Sato confirms with Peter he’d be allowed temporary access to where they were going and also had a few choice words for Langdon, which definitely seem founded in this reviewer’s opinion. Peter than has Langdon blindfold himself to protect the location; But, seems pointless once the blindfold is off due to where they go having windows, ah well.

After a pointless trek to the cafeteria where some old statues were placed, Nola is shown by the agent the completed page the hacker was after, it not being classified and came from a CIA message board. Nola and the agent don’t do anything important after this and go back inside. Langdon is quite confused as to where they were headed and Simkins leads Langdon out of the car and takes he and Peter as far as a second door, stating he’d wait there for them, Langdon nervous about all the precautions being taken, as well as the need of a flashlight. Peter stops them a moment as Langdon begins pussing out and suggest to have Langdon keep an open mind and attempt to believe the legend for a moment. Peter taking Langdon through one more sliding door to finally allow Langdon to remove his blindfold and the staircase being shown by flashlight, going far down, Langdon unable to see the landing. Peter, before guiding Langdon on their descent down, leads him to what seemed a small room and suggests he have a look inside, but to prepare himself for what he’d see. It definitely does have the expected effect, Langdon now seeing the Capitol Building from an angle and place he didn’t comprehend he ever would (the only reason for Peter to keep the location secret from Langdon being for another mislead to get him to be more pliable in believing what he saw as unbelievable). He then looking through each window to see the sight of other well-known buildings. Peter than speaking of the cornerstones and how they were buried, Langdon still thinking Peter wasn’t sure of the Lost Word being buried, Peter making it clear he knew it for fact. Peter also confiding of the “Word” not being one and was only called this due to it being the original name used.

Galloway is then shown completely giving away what is meant by the “Word”, and those whom are religious nuts should understand fairly quickly. (Mal’akh would’ve had one helluva time getting the Word in the space he’d left on his noggin). As Langdon and Peter descend, Peter shows some engravings on the walls, which started their religious discussion, which included why the teachers of religion of the past spoke and wrote cryptically. They walked down to the bottom, and now Langdon knew what the Word was, they don’t view it due to it being buried, Langdon instead noticing a circumpunct, and asking a favor of Peter, he agreeing, but only after showing he and Katherine, whom was meeting them there, one more “treasure”.

When Katherine arrives, we learn of her research being safe, and a repeated way of speaking of Langdon, referring to his “deep voice”, Langdon sharing Peter had gone to the hospital, upon his request, Katherine then stating whilst the topics Peter spoke needed intellectual effort for Langdon to accept, Katherine claimed to have more scientific proof. Bellamy is then shown getting a key in preparation of Langdon and Katherine’s arrival to see something only someone with his title could show them. Katherine and Langdon waiting at the designated area for the right time to enter the door which contained the “item”, Katherine admiring the Brumidi’s painting due to the close vantage point whilst Langdon waiting nervously due to being “a chicken”, Katherine’s words. She then discusses what the body/temple from the Bible meaning more than what it said. She moves on to related topics which involved her research, Langdon being thoughtful to the new information. She then making another confession about her research which included the “breakthrough” knowledge of multiple minds thinking the same thought for the desired result, Katherine’s research apparently hinging on this (underwhelmingly, once more).

So, why this last section is the Epilogue and not an ending chapter is a bit confusing since usually when one reads of what happens to characters, it’s in narrative, but most of this book (and Brown’s others) having contained puzzling pointlessness, I’ll continue on. When Langdon awakes, Katherine was gone along with the key, so Langdon gets up and goes upstairs, Katherine claiming she was about to go wake him, she having gone through the door early it seems, regardless of being instructed to wait, it leading outside on to a balcony, she leading him to a particular side (and I now feel the ending may be a disappointment, and…), she then pointing to the Washington Monument where the sunrise began lighting the capstone, Katherine making the connection of no building to be built would be allowed to be taller than the Monument, seemingly for the sight, at the height no one was allowed to traverse, on the balcony. Langdon has an epiphany which ends with my being right about being put through a deflated ending. If not for the in-the-running-for-most-annoying-protagonist, the typical one liners of eye-rolling capacity, the revelations which weren’t mind-blowing if one reads a wide variety of subjects, the fact which this novel apparently needed to hinge and hang lanterns galore on surface knowledge of religion and especially God, — the ride was entertaining in part, but and this is a big fat one, I’m quite content to leave Brown alone from now on, even his previous books weren’t so obviously cliché. Read it for the caper aspect, if it’s a must, otherwise, go see Crichton.

Buddha, Vol. 6: Ananda (Buddha #6)

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For the fifth volume in the series. This volume begins ten years before when Kosalan soldiers were killing the people of Kapilavastu. We see Ananda’s parents trying to escape the soldiers by fleeing to a little island which is inhabited by some kind of spirit who saves the family only for Ananda, which the father had pleaded any force to have if he were saved. After denying his words, he’s attacked by a plague of leaches and the mother and child escape the island. After his mother discovers a place to stay for some years, the soldiers catch up to them and try to finish the job they’d started, leaving Ananda and his mother stabbed, but Ananda hadn’t been killed and so avenged his mother’s death appropriately, but from then on hated humanity and became a renowned bandit by the age of seventeen. He began to target schools for tuition money with his crew to fund his plan to steal the tax money which was recently collected, coming up with an ingenious plan to get them into the office overnight. They are caught red-handed and whilst Ananda escapes, he doesn’t unscathed. Then the officials that gave chase try to come up with a plan that will rid them of Ananda once and for all, due to his ability to cheat death repeatedly. One of them has a plan that he believes will work and the chapter ends.

We next see the man with the plan training a dog and the chief making it known he doesn’t believe it will be enough to take down Ananda, but as the detective shows him, these dogs will shred a body to bits and so Ananda’s regenerative ability may not work. Meanwhile, Ananda was setting a trap for a rich boy on a horse and planning to use him as a hostage. Ananda then dresses like him and steals the boy’s identity, making the townspeople believe his guards had been overtaken by a rock-slide and needed to be left alone to rest. After they leave, he’s left to discover the jewels underneath the jeweler’s son’s room and is soon attacked by the son’s bird and not long after is discovered as a thief, trying to make a hasty retreat and having dogs sicced on him, getting thrown from his horse and the detective catching up to confront him, but when he tries to have the dogs he trained to attack Ananda, they are afraid to for some reason and he tries to attack him himself and is struck in some way I will not disclose, retreating. Ananda then questions the ether as to why it keeps protecting him from his enemies. The deity appears not long after explaining why he’s in “her” debt. She reports of Buddha being his ultimate enemy and how he must remember the name. We then see what’s become of the detective, who is still determined in killing Ananda in three days, ending the chapter.

Ananda is still up to no good and after killing a merchant for money and leaving his daughter to live, he is then followed by her until he threatens to kill her. The detective tracks Ananda’s crime and continues to try and catch him. Then we skip back to see Ananda relaxing in a pond and the girl watching him again and he goes and chases her down, catching her this time, realizing she was a slave rather than the murdered man’s relative, still not knowing how to get her to move along. She collapses and when he has every intention of leaving her, turns back and carries her along instead, the detective soon identifying him, but deciding to wait and see where he’ll go. Ananda notices an inn and pays for the girl to stay until rested, but soon returns to defend her honor. He kills the innkeeper and commands the other bandits to watch her or they’ll be in trouble.

When Ananda leaves, the detective tries to snipe him out and fails repeatedly, whilst Ananda is deep in thought over the girl he’s left behind, soon heading back toward the detective and the inn. The detective still tries to shoot Ananda, failing and he makes it back to the inn where the slave-girl is bathing. Once he brings himself to her attention, he figures out her name is Lata and likes she can’t speak so she couldn’t repeat all his bad deeds. After she saves his life from the detective still trying to kill him, he relents in taking her along until he gets tired of her. She steals a chicken and when Ananda learns of her crime and how she hadn’t done it properly, they go to a stream and are met by another thief seeking Ananda out to help him lift 30 sacks of gold. They go off to see where it’s kept, Ananda not trusting the bandit, leaving Lata to await his return and soon being surrounded by wild dogs. When Ananda goes back to where he left Lata and sees she’s missing we see Pampas the detective has to do with it and his trick to make Ananda disappear for good is shown. Ananda happens upon Lata and the trick does its duty, leaving Ananda stuck and asking for help from the deity, who agrees if he ditches Lata. He is saved, Pampas flees from the impossible sight and the chapter ends with Ananda revealing to Lata of the money he’s soon to have and his plans to get a house and marry her.

The next chapter begins with Ananda meeting up with the bandit to put his plan to action. Ananda’s part in it becomes much more difficult when he doesn’t seem to have the power used to make animals cower before him. They retreat and the bandit starts to insult Ananda’s pride, goading him to fight. Ananda comes to the realization this “drifter” bandit, is not ordinary and asks to hear where he comes from. What Ahimsa discloses to him sets his resolve in hating Brahmin ever since. After sharing, he asks Ananda where he’d gotten his power from and Ananda finally explains, after which Ahimsa deduces the reason his power seemed to have left him. Ananda comes down with an infection from the wound the tiger left him and Ahimsa convinces Lata to go away in order to save him. When she leaves, his infection leaves him and even though he tries to go after her, nature seems to get in his way and so they continue with the trail of the men who have the gold sacks and Ahimsa realizes they’re heading to the Kassapa brothers, who have the power of controlling fire, ending the chapter

We begin with the gold-sacked men begging Kassapa to help him keep Ananda away, offering seven sacks of gold if he’s able to help and after showing him his plan in killing Ananda, someone sees Ananda’s approach and he starts a fire which could have killed them, but the deity protects him. After the fire is out, Ananda and Ahimsa go to expose the tigers, succeeding and about to kill them when Uruvela Kassapa comes in requesting Ananda to fight him instead, he accepting the challenge. The monk’s psychic power is overcome and he leads them to the fire chamber, trapping them inside with the idea all the gold sacks are there. Ananda and Ahimsa are suffocating when the deity returns at Ananda’s call. Meanwhile the monk is teaching his students about fire and how it suffocates when a sentry comes to inform him of a man with a halo coming in their direction. We learn Buddha has been led by Lata to help Ananda. When he approaches the shrine of Kassapa, he’s scoffed at yet again when providing his name, but is still let in. Buddha explains why he is there and he’d like to spend the night in the dome with Ananda, knowing Mara, the devil is in there. Buddha is finally approached by Mara in disguise, which doesn’t fool him and finally has her show her true form, starting the next chapter.

Buddha succeeds in getting Mara to leave Ananda in his care, but refuses to give up trying to kill him or make him suffer relentlessly. When they all leave unharmed, Kassapa wishes to test Buddha’s powers still more and instructs he must cut some logs without touching them, which he does, making Kassapa fear being undermined by Buddha’s power. He demands he then must light the fire, which Buddha refuses and Ananda takes into his own hands in doing, now making it impossible to put out due to spreading and the reservoir being dried out. Ananda, after hearing Buddha’s response to his belief of being the son of a devil, wants to become his disciple and then he sees Lata, who can now say his name. After, Kassapa also wishes to join Buddha and shares with his disciples they are welcome to follow him and have Buddha teach them instead or can leave of their own accord. Kassapa then mentions to Dhepa of his two brothers of which he wishes for they to join them and they goes to ascertain whether they’ll agree, ending the chapter.

We next see Ahimsa getting to Kassapa’s brothers and breaking the news their brother has become a disciple of Buddha’s, which one brother refuses to believe. We next observe Ananda having bad dreams of the people he’s killed and Lata offers to get him herbs to help him sleep dreamlessly, going into the crocodile-infested water and getting trapped. Ananda hears her cries and Buddha goes after her to see if he can reason with the crocodiles. He leads them off to another part of the island and proceeds to lecture them with a sermon, leaving them there to see Kassapa confessing to his brothers why he’s dissolved his sect. After his brothers state they’d consider following Buddha if he came out of the midst of dealing with the crocodiles in one piece, Kassapa leaves and returns to the other disciples still waiting for Buddha’s return, also distinguishing Ananda had run off with Lata and they had found Buddha with Ahimsa, set on dealing out revenge upon Buddha. Ananda defends Buddha until being told to stop due to their conversation being interrupted, regardless of how it was perceived by Ananda. Ahimsa tries to go through with his planned torture of Buddha, but can’t go through with it every time he tries and so Buddha expresses he can speak of the thoughts on his mind, Ahimsa resisting at every opportunity, eventually running off, leaving Ananda, Lata, and Buddha to try and make their way back to their group. Buddha goes back on the backs of the crocodiles to ask for a boat from the Kassapa brothers, who are amazed how they see him crossing the water. One brother decides to grant Buddha’s request with the invitation of giving a sermon to their disciples to see whether they’d like to join him. Buddha accepts and the brother describes his plan to the brother that was shocked about how kindly he was acting towards Buddha, who he’d planned on trying to make look a fool.

The disciples see the notice and head to the mountain to hear the sermon. They try to direct Buddha’s sermon to be about fire and he proceeds by getting one of the Kassapa brothers to close his eyes to “put out” the fire, then shares the story of some ducks and how they were starving in their small pond and so started branching to other sources of survival until we uncover what happens to each in their new area and revealing the ducks decided to stay, survived. Then it goes straight into another story about a bright city and how a poor boy burn’s with the desire to live in the city and partake of the best in life only to have it go wrong in the end and ending where he began. Those stories and Buddha’s advice to one of the Kassapa brother’s disciples finally convince first one then the other to join Buddha and learn from scratch his teachings, upsetting Ahimsa’s plan, whom we see leave them in bad spirits by the end of the volume. Still quite good, but I’m hoping to get to get better in the next volume.