Chapter 327

He knew it would take some getting used to, but Robert Langdon-Magdalene was not a man to shirk a difficult task just because it was a heavy burden. All he could do now was search, search like he’d never searched before, and hope he still had time.

And then he found what he had been searching for.

He recognised the shape, the beautiful regularity of its arcing profile, hiding and yet revealed by the smooth edge of the velvet sheet draping it from sight at the back of the storeroom. He scrambled over the crates and cases, undignified in his excitement but uncaring, until he had it in his hands at least.

He gently, reverently, pulled the velvet cover away to unveil its sheening surface, feeling its shimmering trill hum beneath his fingertips. It almost took his breath away.

But there was no time for that now.

Langdon-Magdalene turned and ran.

He wove through the warren of corridors like a fish, that unseen maze hidden within that great structure, beneath those great sail-like things billowing at the Australian sky, reflected Orange on the harbour waters in the tangerine glow of the Sydney dusk. He broke through into that vast room, and the sound washed over him like the waves in the bay themselves – too late? No.

Robert reared back – and threw. Away, it spun, up, high over the heads of the stunned audience, out, out, towards the ranks of skilled artists bringing this awesome moment to its stunning conclusion. And – at the last moment – from the last line of the Orchestra, Sophie’s hand reached up to grasp it, and bring it sweeping down to strike its twin, again and again, in the crashing crescendo of the 1812 Overture – widely acknowledged by music experts the world over to be the greatest master-work of the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

As the massive crowd rose to their feet as one to applaud, and as Sophie’s brilliant smile flew out to him across them all, Robert Langdon-Magdalene fell to his knees, tears running down his cheeks in ecstasy.

The Lost Cymbal.

Found.

Wow. What a marathon of a chapter that is. But what an ending.

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