Dead center of the sanctuary, beneath the main cupola, wooden pews had been stacked high and were now ablaze in some sort of epic funeral pyre.
High above on the balcony, like a soul tearing free of its corporeal restrains, a luminous pyre of flame erupted from the camerlegno’s center.
Surreal wisps of memory sifted back into his consciousness …. A pyre of mystical fire …. an angel materializing from out of the crowd …. her soft hand taking his and leading him into the night …. guiding his exhausted, battered body through the streets …. leading him here …. to this suite …. propping him half-sleeping in a scalding hot shower …. leading him to this bed …. and watching over him as he fell asleep like the dead.
There are no more uses of "pyre" in the book.
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In 1829 India banned the Hindu custom of a widow’s suicide on her husband’s funeral pyre.
While cremation is not uncommon in the western world, open air funeral pyres are typically illegal.