In 1887, the village priest of Rennes le Chateau, France, ordered a stained glass window for the church depicting Lazarus being raised from the dead. At certain times when the sunlight shines through the glass, human DNA is replicated inside the sanctuary. Father Bérenger Saunière became extremely wealthy shortly after his odd renovation of the Mary Magdalene church.
Sarah Roland Cabot discovers the truth behind the Rennes le Chateau legend and the ancient religious medal given to her by her grandmother, along with the tale of a woman named Claude, who was sacrificed for the Roland family. When France returns to a monarchy, Sarah learns the shocking importance of the Valois, Merovingian and Davidic bloodlines and the number 666 to human DNA.
Sarah kept sneezing to her great irritation. The crypt was dusty, but in good shape for a tomb hundreds of years old. It held the lords and ladies of Rennes in its bosom like a goose guarding her eggs. The room was full, which would explain why the last lady of Rennes was buried in the Church yard and not in the crypt. It did not answer the question as to why it was sealed up sometime between 1753 and the late nineteenth century when Saunière discovered a way in.
Niches in two walls held stone coffins eight layers high in four rows while the more important early lords lay in coffins in the middle of the tomb with knight effigies on the lids. At one end stood a large ornate stone coffin with images of a Fleur de Lis and a sword with a crown over the blade adorning the bronze lid-symbols of the Valois dynasty.
Sarah’s heart pounded as she approached the stone monument. There was also a knight on this lid, but holding a banner and a sword. This had to be her! She tried using the pick axe to move the heavy lid, but could not make it budge. Damn it. Not willing to be defeated, the detective backtracked to the research room to look for tools.
In a tall mahogany cabinet Cabot found leather aprons, hammers, chisels, shovels, brushes and crow bars. It was all so odd. What had made them just pick up and leave? The Germans had found the tomb, so what if anything did they remove from it? Maybe it was near the end of the war when they discovered the caverns under the village and they ran out of time, leaving the dig to the allies. She grabbed a hammer and a crow bar then turned to leave when Sarah spotted a drafting table. She hooked the crow bar onto her jeans pocket as she approached the table.
The pencil drawn image of a woman in armor donned one side of a large sheet of paper, her gaze steely determined as she held a banner depicting a strange symbol that comprised a Celtic knot, a sword and a crown. The sword bore a large swastika on the hilt and five small ones on the blade. She could not read the German to the left of the image, but could see that it stated something about Lorraine and the Alsace. The region Joan of Arc was from had once belonged to Germany and was settled by the Celts. If there was one thing the Nazis knew it was history. It also meant that they knew Joan was buried there.
Once back in the crypt, Cabot used the hammer to nudge the crow bar into the crack between the coffin and lid. The top was heavy, but moved fairly easy with some leverage. She shoved the lid over to one side but not far enough to let it plunge over the side. She shined the light inside and her heart sank. There was no bottom, but a stone stairway into the blackness below. Oh hell.