Friday, April 13, 2012

Russell Blake Visits on Tour for The Voynich Chronicle!

A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript,...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"The Scroll Chamber was a small room, engineered
to exacting measurements, and constructed entirely
of stone blocks painstakingly hewn from a nearby
quarry. Four meters by three, with not a centimeter
of variation anywhere, the furnishings were modest,
with only a dilapidated stool and a hand-carved stone
table cleaved from the wall nearest the access door.
Resting on this rustic ledge was a single cylindrical
canister, twelve inches in height, resembling nothing
so much as a coffee thermos - with the exception that
common beverage containers were rarely constructed
of medieval amalgams of oak and alabaster, embossed
with crude Christian symbols and dire warnings in
Latin...The container was distinctly unimpressive
considering what it purportedly held...
"The intruder grabbed the canister and hastily
shoved it into a streamlined backpack..."

The Voynich Cypher

By Russell Blake

I was pleased to be recommended for this book tour--I had not previously read Russell Blake and found his novel The Voynich Cypher one that immediately caught my attention and literally pulled me through the book in a day of reading! I love fast, action-packed adventure. When you can't stop reading because you want to immediately know what is going to happen, then there is no hesitation in making it a must-read for action lovers like me...

But it was the story itself which drew me in. Yes, I love to read or watch movies about lost treasures... Do you? What I found quite thrilling was that the manuscript does exist and has yet to be deciphered. Will it be? Should it be?

What is intriguing is that, often, these hunts are for documents that have a religious origin and usually relates to something that should "never" be known by the entire world. Somehow that makes it more sinister to me--and I, along with many others, wonder what it is that must be hidden...

Dr. Stephen Cross had developed an interest in older documents, many of which had been coded for secrecy and he had become a cryptographer. Later after he had started his own computer business, he had created several programs that could be used in deciphering such documents. He had studied the Voynich manuscript and had become somewhat of an expert with what was available. In fact, he had a working theory on this obscure document which had been written entirely in code. It wasn't surprising then that Winston Twain, considered one of the most respected cryptologist in the world had contacted him after receiving Cross' letter. Twain had been working on the same manuscript for the past 30 years, and was curious about what Dr. Cross had in mind, especially since he had himself rejected what Cross seemed to be working on...
But then Winston Twain was murdered...

When men are put in charge of securing and protecting something by leaders of an organization--the church--where does loyalty fall--to God, to the church, or to the man/men who are your supervisors, your leaders? And does that require that you think nothing of killing others in order to perform as instructed? And how could groups of men--those who had been charged, even centuries before, know who was really to be followed, on any given day, when leaders changed? For "A man without belief in God, or conviction in a supernatural realm outside of his own scope of understand, was a danger..."

Natalie Twain had only one goal--to find out who had killed her father...

And when she came to Stephen Cross and shared that her father was dead, she shared her belief that both she and Stephen were also in danger...

It all related to the potential cracking of the code of The Voynich Cypher and now it was known that Natalie Twain and Stephen Cross just might be able to do that!

Blake is heavy on detail, giving readers a full picture of what and who was involved as the chase begins for being able to test out Dr. Cross' proposed process. The various clues are found and pulled together, and the danger and efforts are increased to keep that from happening. At the same time, Blake's keeps the narrative lean and clean of anything that is not necessary to keep readers totally enthralled and moving along with the characters as the hunt proceeds. I was captivated by the story. I've enjoyed all "the lost treasure" books and movies out these days, but for the style of writing? I consider this one of the best... Highly recommended!


Russell Blake is the acclaimed author of the intrigue/thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, the Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy (The Manuscript, The Tortoise and the Hare, Phoenix Rising), The Voynich Cypher, Revenge of the Assassin and Return of the Assassin (May, 2012).
His first satirical non-fiction work, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated) released to rave reviews from literary luminaries like Lawrence Block, John Lescroart and David Lender.
His second non-fiction book, "An Angel With Fur," is the true story of Lobo the miracle dog and is an international bestseller.
"Captain" Russell lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he spends his time writing, fishing, collecting & drinking tequila, playing with his dogs and battling world domination by clowns.
His blog can be found at where he publishes his periodic thoughts, such as they are.

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