Enigma by Robert Harris

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Arrow/Random House, 1995, www.randomhouse.co.uk, ISBN 0-09-999200-0.

Robert Harris has been a reporter on Panorama and Newsnight for the BBC, Political Editor of the Observer and a columnist on the Sunday Times. He has written five non-fiction books and Enigma is his second novel.

Although this is a fictional work, Enigma is laced with historical facts and situations. Set towards the end on the Second World War, the central character is a young mathematician named Thomas Jericho. He is ‘called up’ to work on breaking the ‘unbreakable’ German Enigma Machine cipher codes at top-secret Station X.

It emerges that a traitor is at work within the secret community of Bletchley Park. What follows is a stunningly detailed, atmospheric race against time through Britain in the Blitz. From trying to drive across the country with no road signs (which were all removed), to the desperation and optimism of the people of the time, Enigma has everything required of a Hollywood blockbuster.

A combination of Robert Harris’ flowing prose and immaculate research, expect late nights and early mornings from beginning to end. Anyone with an interest in thrillers, espionage, puzzle-solving, the 1940’s or even love stories with a twist will not be disappointed with this book.

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