Christ Church, Boston

Chapter 10 is going to introduce the antagonist of the plot. Without giving away too much, you may think of it as a kind of brotherhood or association united by a common goal. A goal so lofty that, in the minds of the brotherhood’s members, it justifies every possible means to attain it.

The chapter has the reader participate in a meeting of the brotherhood. And for that purpose I needed to find a suitable setting. For the story to work, the place needed to be not far from Boston. I wanted it to have some significance in real life, paired with a lesser known aspect, possibly a secret room, tomb or crypt, that would lend the gathering a somber note of foreboding gravity.

So I went to the author’s best friend in research and factification: Google. Although I lived in Boston for seven years, an hour of scouring the internet still taught me a lot I didn’t know. Eventually, I settled on Christ Church, or Old North Church, as it is now known.

Christ Church is the oldest still standing church in Boston, having first opened its gate to worshipers in 1723. Its steeple houses the oldest cast bells in the U.S. that are still being rung regularly today. A queer little factoid: On 12 September 1757, the Englishman John Childs performed a gliding stunt in which he glided along a rope pulled taut from the church’s steeple down to a spot several hundred feet away. This stunt performance, exhibited on three consecutive days, drew such a crowd that he was subsequently prohibited to perform anything similar again inside Boston’s city limits.

But most importantly, Old North Church is known for the role it played in the War of Independence, the birth hour which separated the British from its American colonies and made Americans of all colonialists. Immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride”, the line

One if by land, two if by sea

tells of the role Old North Church in this war. Being the tallest building in Boston, a window in its steeple was used to hang either one or two lanterns. This would signal to the Americans the route the British Red Coats were taking: either the land route north or using boats to cross the Charles River.

Ultimately, its old age (by American standards), its historical significance in a decisive hour of American history and the presence of a beautiful, original crypt holding the remains of 1.100 people in 38 tombs made it a great location for the meeting grounds of the secret brotherhood.

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