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Bletchley Park: the top-secret landmark of World War Two, where a group of young people were fighting to defeat Hitler, and win the war. March 1943, the Second World War hangs in the balance, and at Bletchley Park a brilliant young codebreaker is facing a double nightmare. The Germans have unaccountably changed their U-boat Enigma code, threatening a massive Allied defeat. And as suspicion grows that there may be a spy inside Bletchley, Jericho's girlfriend, the beautiful and mysterious Claire Romilly suddenly disappears.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 109.22 x 177.8 x 27.94mm | 181.44g
  • Cornerstone
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1d.
  • 0099992000
  • 9780099992004
  • 330,863

Review Text

Former London Times columnist and BBC correspondent Harris returns, this time on much richer emotional ground. Harris's imaginative debut, Fatherland (1992), pulled off the big stunt of describing a Germany in 1964 that defeated Russia and survived WW II. Though this second novel re-creates wartime England as carefully as Fatherland built up a fictive Nazi Germany, it's no stunt. Detective-story elements remain in each but don't overwhelm the character-driven plots. Set in 1943, it focuses on cryptanalysis and spies at Bletchley, a railway town servicing a secret base where intelligence teams attempt daily to break the German code enciphered in Hitler's Enigma machines. Although the British capture a number of Enigma machines, the proud Germans think that without a key to the code in use, Enigma is unbeatable: "It never ended, this battle against Enigma. It was a chess tournament of a thousand rounds against a player of prodigious defensive strength, and each day the pieces went back to their original positions and the game began afresh." Kept largely to the rigorous innards of dark little Bletchley, where a crew of geniuses strives to save three huge American convoys now bound for England but sailing into a pack of over a hundred U-boats waiting to savage them, Harris's is no cliche wartime England but a richly felt particular place and time. The story unfolds through the eyes of Thomas Jericho, a young mathematician who broke the Enigma code, then had a nervous breakdown, and has now been called back from his sickbed to break Enigma anew and save the convoys. Meanwhile, his love affair with a cryptographer sinks when she disappears, leaving Tom with the creepy thought that she's a spy. The search for his enigmatic lost love parallels his search to break the code. A you-are-there re-creation you can crawl around in - even cars you can drive with their chokes, clutch pedals, gearshifts, and handbrakes. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

"The brilliance of Enigma is that it gives readers the sense of being contemporary with its characters and then leads them on a dark journey of discovery to arrive at another of the Second World War's blackest horror stories, one not fully admitted until half a century later... Altogether top-class stuff." -- Peter Millar The Times "Enigma totally gripped me" -- Roy Jenkins Sunday Times "After the resounding success of his first novel, Fatherland, the question was what would Robert Harris do for an encore? This is his resounding answer" -- Phillip Knightley Mail on Sunday "Extraordinarily good... undoubtedly the best thriller of the year, and perhaps of several years to come" -- T. J. Binyon Evening Standard "I finished the book regretful it had ended, and full of wonder at this extraordinary world, people and achievements it evoked" -- David Cannadine Observershow more

About Robert Harris

Robert Harris is one of Britain's most famous writers of thriller novels and gripping historical fiction. He is the author of eight bestselling historical and contemporary thrillers: Archangel, Enigma, Fatherland, The Fear Index, The Ghost, Imperium, Lustrum and Pompeii, all of which were worldwide bestsellers. Harris has been shortlisted for three notable literary awards: the Walter Scott prize for historical fiction, the Whitbread first novel award (now known as the Costa Book award) and the British Book Awards Popular Fiction Award. His most recent bestselling thriller, The Fear Index, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, for best thriller of the year, at the 2012 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards. Robert Harris has worked with international film director Roman Polanski to create the Golden Globe winning film The Ghost Writer, starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor. Enigma was adapted into an award-winning film starring Kate Winslet and Tom Hollander. His work has been translated into thirty-three languages. He was born in Nottingham in 1957 and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He worked as a reporter on the BBC's Newsnight and Panorama programmes, before becoming Political Editor of the Observer in 1987, and then a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. In 2003 he was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He lives near Hungerford in Berkshire with his wife and their four children.show more
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