My profound thanks to three dear friends with whom I have the great luxury of working: my editor, Jason Kaufman; my agent, Heide Lange; and my counselor, Michael Rudell. In addition, I would like to express my immense gratitude to Doubleday, to my publishers around the world, and, of course, to my readers. This novel could not have been written without the generousassistance of countless individuals who shared their knowledge and expertise. To all of you, I extend my deep appreciation.
To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books. The Secret Teachings of All Ages
FACT: In 1991, a document was locked in the safe of the director of the CIA.The document is still there today. Its cryptic text includes references to an ancient portal and an unknown location underground. The document also contains the phrase “It’s buried out there somewhere.” All organizations in this novel exist, including the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. All rituals, science, artwork, andmonuments in this novel are real.
House of the Temple 8:33 P.M.
The secret is how to die.
Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die. The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine. Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear. As wastradition, he had begun this journey adorned in the ritualistic garb of a medieval heretic being led to the gallows, his loose-fitting shirt gaping open to reveal his pale chest, his left pant leg rolled up to the knee, and his right sleeve rolled up to the elbow. Around his neck hung a heavy rope noose—a “cable-tow” as the brethren called it. Tonight, however, like the brethren bearing witness, hewas dressed as a master. The assembly of brothers encircling him all were adorned in their full regalia of lambskin aprons, sashes, and white gloves. Around their necks hung ceremonial jewels that glistened like ghostly eyes in the muted light. Many of these men held powerful stations in life, and yet the initiate knew their worldly ranks meant nothing within these walls. Here all men were equals,sworn brothers sharing a mystical bond. As he surveyed the daunting assembly, the initiate wondered who on the outside would ever believe that this collection of men would assemble in one place . . . much less this place. The room looked like a holy sanctuary from the ancient world. The truth, however, was stranger still. I am just blocks away from the White House. This colossal edifice, locatedat 1733 Sixteenth Street NW in Washington, D.C., was a replica of a preChristian temple—the temple of King Mausolus, the original mausoleum . . . a place to be taken after death. Outside the main entrance, two seventeen-ton sphinxes guarded the bronze doors. The interior was an ornate labyrinth of ritualistic chambers, halls, sealed vaults, libraries, and even a hollow wall that held the remainsof two human bodies. The initiate had been told every room in this building held a secret, and yet he knew no room held deeper secrets than the gigantic chamber in which he was currently kneeling with a skull cradled in his palms. The Temple Room. This room was a perfect square. And cavernous. The ceiling soared an astonishing one hundred feet overhead, supported by monolithic columns of greengranite. A tiered gallery of dark Russian walnut seats with hand-tooled pigskin encircled the room. A thirty-three-foot-tall throne dominated the western wall, with
a concealed pipe organ opposite it. The walls were a kaleidoscope of ancient symbols . . . Egyptian, Hebraic, astronomical, alchemical, and others yet unknown. Tonight, the Temple Room was lit by a series of precisely arranged...