"Snowden had been killed over Avignon"

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAvignon - Credit: Jean-Marc Rosier
Avignon is a city in southern France, on the Rhône river, about 53 miles north of Marseilles and the Mediterranean coast. Population in 2006 was about 95,000.

Avignon has a place in history as the alternate home of Catholic Popes: Pope Clement V chose it as his residence in 1309 and it became the seat of the Papacy (instead of Rome) and home of seven popes over the next 68 years. This caused a schism in the church until the Papacy returned to Rome. The fortunes of Avignon, in the mean time, as a university town, home of banking-houses, and trading center, understandably rose. The Palace of the Popes, shown at left, was a fortress on a rock, later used as a barracks and a prison, and today is a museum.

It is only at the climax of the next chapter -- Chapter 7, Chief White Halfoat (page 50 in this edition) -- that we get our first exposure to the traumatic circumstances of Snowden’s death on a mission over Avignon, when Dobbs repeatedly sobs, “Help him … help the bombardier” while “Snowden lay dying in the back.”