High in the hayloft at Chateau Villette, Collet stared at the computer monitor in amazement. This system is eavesdropping on all these locations?
Yes, the agent said. It looks like data has been collected for over a year now.
Collet read the list again, speechless.
COLBERT SOSTAQUEChairman of the Conseil Constitutionnel
JEAN CHAFFeECurator, Musee du Jeu de Paume
EDOUARD DESROCHERSSenior Archivist, Mitterrand Library
JACQUES SAUNIeRECurator, Musee du Louvre
MICHEL BRETONHead of DAS (French Intelligence)
The agent pointed to the screen. Number four is of obvious concern.
Collet nodded blankly. He had noticed it immediately. Jacques Sauniere was being bugged . He looked at the rest of the list again. How could anyone possibly manage to bug these prominent people? Have you heard any of the audio files?
A few. Heres one of the most recent. The agent clicked a few computer keys. The speakers crackled to life. Capitaine, un agent du Departement de Cryptographie est arriv e.
Collet could not believe his ears. Thats me! Thats my voice! He recalled sitting at Saunieres desk and radioing Fache in the Grand Gallery to alert him of Sophie Neveus arrival.
The agent nodded. A lot of our Louvre investigation tonight would have been audible if someone had been interested.
Have you sent anyone in to sweep for the bug?
No need. I know exactly where it is. The agent went to a pile of old notes and blueprints on the worktable. He selected a page and handed it to Collet. Look familiar?
Collet was amazed. He was holding a photocopy of an ancient schematic diagram, which depicted a rudimentary machine. He was unable to read the handwritten Italian labels, and yet he knew what he was looking at. A model for a fully articulated medieval French knight.
The knight sitting on Saunieres desk!
Collets eyes moved to the margins, where someone had scribbled notes on the photocopy in red felt‑tipped marker. The notes were in French and appeared to be ideas outlining how best to insert a listening device into the knight.