Westminster Abbey was a tangled warren of mausoleums, perimeter chambers, and walk-in burial niches.
The church’s entryway was a recessed stone niche inside which stood a large wooden door.
The sarcophagus was recessed in a niche, obscured from this oblique angle.
As they approached the niche, Langdon felt a slow sinking sensation.
He began with the clawed feet beneath the sarcophagus, moved upward past Newton, past his books on science, past the two boys with their mathematical scroll, up the face of the pyramid to the giant orb with its constellations, and finally up to the niche’s star-filled canopy.
Their tombs, packed into every last niche and alcove, range in grandeur from the most regal of mausoleums—that of Queen Elizabeth I, whose canopied sarcophagus inhabits its own private, apsidal chapel—down to the most modest etched floor tiles whose inscriptions have worn away with centuries of foot traffic, leaving it to one’s imagination whose relics might lie below the tile in the undercroft.