This feature story in Vanity Fair is better than a Dan Brown book (OK, not so hard, but he does sell a lot of ’em): it features the aristocratic de Védrines family who are persuaded they hold the key to great treasure and are targets of a Masonic plot, and so turn over their lives, fortune, and ancestral château to a shadowy “grand master.” Then came captivity and torture—and a bizarre escape!
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Far, far down the High Street, long past where Oxford’s golden spires give way to neon strip malls, you come to a dense residential zone of tidy town houses, row upon row. In one of these, in a small room, a woman sits immobile in a chair.
She has been held prisoner in this room for days. Eight? Ten? Hard to keep track, when they won’t let you sleep. In shifts, day and night, her captors take turns berating her:
We know you know the number.