Read The Lafayette Sword Online

Authors: Eric Giacometti

Tags: #Freemasons;Freemason secrets;Freemasonry;Gold;Nicolas Flamel;thriller;secret societies;Paris;New York;Statue of Liberty;esoteric thriller;secret;secret knowledge;enlightenment;Eiffel tower

The Lafayette Sword (33 page)


Rue de Montmorency, Le Marais

An hour later

arcas gazed at the three-story stone building, with its elaborate carvings around the door. “Auberge Nicolas Flamel. I've heard about it, but this is the first time I've b
een here.”

“I thought you might enjoy it. This is the oldest stone house in Paris. Flamel built it in his later years with his wife, Perenelle. As you can see, it's a restaurant now. Shall
we go in?”

The two were seated at a discreet table and given menus. Surgens opened his and looked up at Marcas. “They've got a Harry Potter children's menu. Flamel, it seems, was a pivotal character in
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
. I've never read it, o
f course.”

“My son loved Harry Potter,” Ma
rcas said.

The two men settled on the five-course tasting menu, and the server returned with their wine. Marcas waited for the server to pour and then raised
his glass.

“To enlig

Surgens smiled. “To enlightenment, my

They sipped their Bordeaux, a pricy Châtea
u Margaux.

“Complex and supple,” Marcas said, putting his glass down. “What an elegant wine. Unfortunately, on my salary I can't afford much
of this.”

“Wine—the elixir of life and beauty,” Surgens said, swirling the liquid in his glass. “But did you know that alchemic gold has also been called the elixir of life? And legend has it that those who imbibe it can achieve imm

“A nice notion, André, but I don'
t buy it.”

“Yes, it is quite a notion, isn't it? To achieve immortality—to live out a future that others can only envision. I imagine, though, that the losses would be hard to take. Outliving one's loved ones for all of eternity would be tough
to bear.”

Marcas studied the dark garnet wine in his glass. “I have to tell you something, André,” he said, looking up. “Until I started working on this case, I had never heard of your orga

“And that's how I like it,” Surgens responded. “We like to stay behind th
e scenes.”

“Something tells me that as much as you like discretion, your organization is a major presence in the world. I'm interested in how you got the whole thing

Surgens looked at Marcas but didn't say

“It's a long involved story,” he finally said. “It's Flamel's story: he was given a gift of kindness and forgiveness. He understood the symbolic meaning of the journey from philosopher's stone to gold to immortality, and with immortality came the realization that the physical metal was nothing. Or, perhaps that realization was the very essence of alchemical immortality. Flamel was nothing. I am nothing. And gold should serve no other purpose than to hel
p others.”

“Yet, it has su
ch power.”

“Indeed, greed blinds people. Perhaps one day the world will be ready for for alchemy. But for now, our organization exists to curb the most perverse consequences of the human fascination with gold. You know, we do philanthropic work all over the world. If you will, we continue to return the kindness that led to Flamel's revelation of

“That's quite a story,” Marcas said. “I think my son would have a term for what you do. He'd call it paying it

“I'm not familiar with the expression. What does
it mean?”

“It means that when you benefit from an act of kindness, you repay it by doing something good fo
r others.”

“Well, I guess you could call it that. It's the key to longevity,” Surgens said, smiling. “So, here's to your son. May he do some of that in his lifetime,
as well.”


Statue of Liberty

A month later

lack clouds were inching their way over New York, announcing an impend
ing storm.

“Dad, come
see this.”

Pierre, standing next to the pedestal of the statue, was waving to his father, who was sitting cross-legged on
the grass.

Marcas stood up, still wondering if he had actually experienced the entire adventure. He'd wandered over to the place he had climbed out, only to find a block of cement in
its place.

America's Lady Liberty—it had taken so much work to get her built. All that lobbying to get the French Freemasons united behind Brother Bartholdi. There had been meetings at the Alsace-Lorraine lodge, Franco-American Union banquets, and trips to New York to win over the American Freemasons. The decisive meeting had been with Joseph Pulitzer, the powerful newspaper publisher, who supported the idea. Then there was all the time spent with brother Richard Hunt, the American architect who designed the pedestal. And at the end—the cornerstone

Marcas thought back to his own experience. It all seemed so real, down to the underground cavern with the two pillars. He looked up at the statue. He recalled the Eiffel Tower, and the men who built these two pillars well abo
ve ground.

Pierre was growing impatient. This trip had been his son's idea, and Marcas was glad. It was good for him. He'd laid down an acacia branch at the base of the statue for Ray

Marcas reached the pedestal and put a hand on his son's

“Read the poem, Dad. It's b

Marcas startin
g reading.

“Out loud, Dad… Starting here,” his son said,

From her b

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild ey
es command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cit
ies frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”
cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired,
your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to bre
athe free,

The wretched refuse of your teem
ing shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tos
sed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the gol
den door!”

From the east, a ray of sunlight broke through the threatening clouds, lighting up the statue's gol
den flame.

The gold o
f freedom.

Thank you for reading
The Lafaye
tte Sword

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Shadow Ritual
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Shadow Ritual

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About the Authors

Eric Giacometti
, studied biochemistry and genetics in Toulouse, France, before going into journalism. Then, at the height of his career as an investigative reporter, he was contaminated by the thriller virus. His life took on another dimension: journalist by day, writer by night. That is when he and his childhood friend Jacques Ravenne created the Freemason police inspector Antoine Marcas. “Writing escapist fiction was a perfect antidote to the depressing stories of scandals and corruption I faced every day. Having one foot in reality and the other in fiction is incredible, but it's key not to mix the two.” In 2013, he left his full-time reporting job with a French daily newspaper to work freelance and write. He teaches journalism an
d writing.

Jacques Ravenne
is a high-level French Freemason. He is also a literary critic, known for his work on the writers Paul Valéry, Yves Bonnefoy, Gérard de Nerval and Stéphane Mallarmé. In addition to his academic work, he was also a local elected official for a number of years, and contributes regularly to Freemason publications. He discovered the Marquis de Sade's château in 1985, beginning a long fascination with the man, which has resulted in an anthology of his correspondence and a novel based on Sa
de's life.

About the Translator

Anne Trager
loves France so much she has lived there for over a quarter of a century and just can't seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can't stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That's when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company's motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves mysteries and

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