Authors: Glenn Cooper
“Behold ancient Vectis!” the abbot said. “Is it what you expected, Mr. Piper?”
“Yes it is. We have bags of peace here.” He pointed out the walls that had belonged to the cathedral, the chapter house, and the dormitories. Farther off were scattered low remains of the medieval abbey wall.
“Where was the Library?”
“Not here. Farther on. Unsurprisingly, they appear to have tucked it away in a far corner.”
Will held Nancy’s hand as they reached the depression in an adjacent grassy meadow, a large rectangular hollow dipping a meter below the level of the rest of the field. At the edge of the low-lying ground was a newly laid granite marker with a bronze plaque. The inscription was starkly simple: THE LIBRARY OF VECTIS—782–1297.
The abbot stood over the marker, and said, “This was your gift to the world, Mr. Piper. I’ve read all about what you did on the Internet.”
Nancy laughed at the thought of monks online.
“Oh, yes, we have a high-speed connection!” the abbot boasted.
“Not everyone thinks what I did was a gift,” he said.
“Well, it’s certainly not a curse. The truth never is. I find everything about the Library very reassuring. I can feel God’s unwavering hand at work. I feel a connection with Abbot Felix and all his predecessors who zealously protected and nurtured the great endeavor as if it were a delicate orchid that would perish if the temperature was one degree higher or lower. I’ve taken to coming here for meditation.”
“Does 2027 concern you?” Nancy asked.
“We live in the present here. Our community concerns itself with working together to praise the Lord, to celebrate the mass and to pray the Holy Scriptures. In essence, our concern, is to know Christ Jesus. The year 2027, asteroids, and all those things are not our concern.”
Will smiled at him. “If you ask me, all the fuss about the 2027 is probably for the good. The whole world’s going to be too focused on space rocks and that kind of stuff to beat up on each other. For once, we’ve got a common goal. Win or lose, my guess is it’s going to be the best seventeen years we’ve ever had.”
The abbot turned the stroller over to Nancy. “He’s a fine young man, and he has good parents. He’s got a bright future. I’m going to leave you now. Stay as long as you like.”
When they were alone, Nancy asked him, “Are you glad you came?”
He looked down into the hollow and imagined the green-eyed, ginger-haired scribes who mutely labored there for centuries, the monks who guarded their secret as a sacred obligation, the final blood-spattered catastrophe that ended it all. He imagined what the library would have looked like, the vast assemblage of thick, heavy books in their cavernous vault. He was still hoping that one day, he’d be invited to Nevada to see what the Library looked like now. But he wasn’t holding his breath.
“Yeah, I’m glad. And I’m glad you and Philly are here with me.” He looked across the meadow toward the sea. “God, it’s peaceful here.”
They stayed for a while, until the sun started to set. They had a ferry to catch and a long drive. In a family cemetery in Shakespeare country, he had a grave under a lime tree he wanted to visit before they flew back to Miami. Nancy had a new Bureau job in Florida to settle into and a house to decorate.
And he had some fishing to do in the beckoning waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
My continued thanks to Steve Kasdin. Without his “divine intervention,”
Secret of the Seventh Son
Book of Soul
s might not have come to fruition. Also thanks to my first reader, Gunilla Lacoche, for her insightful comments, and to my terrific editor at Harper, Lyssa Keusch, and to the entire publishing team at HarperCollins. And, as always, thanks to Tessa and Shane for propping me up on the home front.
is the author of the international bestseller
Secret of the Seventh Son.
He studied archaeology at Harvard before becoming a physician specializing in infectious diseases. After a career in research he became a biotechnology chief executive officer. He has written multiple screenplays and runs an independent film production company based in Boston. He lives in Massachusetts in one of the oldest houses in America.