Decoded

Decoded

Book - 2014
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In his griping debut novel, Mai Jia reveals the story of Rong Jinzhwen, one of the greatest code-breakers in the world. A semi-autistic mathematical genius with a past shrouded in mystery, Jinzhen is abducted and recruited to the cryptography department of China's secret services, Unit 701, where he is assigned the task of breaking the elusive 'Code Purple', the most difficult code in history. Who is the mastermind behind the code? Why has Rong been chosen? Who can he really trust? His attempt to solve this enigma leads to him becoming China's greatest and most celebrated code-breaker - until he makes a mistake. Then begins his descent through the unfathomable darkness of the world of cryptology into madness.
Publisher: London :, Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books,, 2014
Description: 315 pages ; 24 cm
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781846148194
9780141391472
Branch Call Number: MaiJ

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gerimark
Sep 18, 2015

Interesting in that it deals w/ horrific conditions that exist in North Korea.

j
JLMason
Apr 08, 2014

This book is worth a read for multiple reasons: Chinese history, language as it reflects a culture, and a good story.
This is the first book I have read that is a translation from Chinese. I assume that the translator has tried to maintain how something is expressed in Chinese when rendering it into English as I found the phrasing, name epithets, and repetition of ideas interesting and quite different from, say, English translations from European languages. Chinese history and culture form a subtext that drives characters' behaviours and the plot. For example, the multi-generational history of the protagonist's family takes up at least a quarter of the book before he is even introduced as it is important to understand where he comes from. The story is interesting. It unfolds slowly at its own pace, but is never dull. An appreciation of mathematics will add to one's enjoyment of the book, but is not necessary.

aemacleod Apr 02, 2014

Enjoyable, accessible story. It reads cinematically, almost like a screenplay, and I couldn't help but think of films like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero" as I read, especially towards the end. The book is philosophically heavy handed at times, and it's obviously written for a nationalist audience, but the story is strong and the picture the author paints of recent Chinese culture kept me turning the pages.

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