The Crypotographer

Published: 07-11-2013
Format: EPUB eBook
Edition: 1st
Extent: 288
ISBN: 9781408844144
Imprint: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
RRP: £7.99

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‘A splendid novel...a phantasmagory on the theme of the human search for secrets and fortunes’

Le Monde

‘Hill is one of the two or three most original and interesting young novelists working in Britain today…There is no other voice today quite like this.’

A S Byatt, The Guardian


‘There is no sweat on Soft Gold. It carries no residue of human places. But people trust it because of the code, which can never be broken. You have to trust, of course, Anna thinks. Because you need money. You need it even if you hate it. And in money, trust is everything...’

It is the year 2020. Anna Moore - tax inspector, A2 Grade - is charged with the investigation of a powerful man; John Law, the Cryptographer. An enigmatic charmer, Law is the world's first quadrillionaire, the inventor of an unbreakable code that underpins a new electric money, Soft Gold. Anna finds herself attracted to Law, even as she realises that the man is hiding something. And in love as in money, trust is everything.


They say he is Scottish by birth. This at least she half believes. She has not spoken to him herself, not yet, but she has heard him speak, naturally, and there is a certain inflection, a softness and edge, something that might once have been an accent. Now it is almost nothing, just as there are people who say he is nothing. Although Anna suspects this is untrue. She is beginning to think there will be more to him than meets the eye. In the flesh.

They say that by the age of ten, John Law could program machine code as if it were his first language. They say that he was orphaned into a lifetime inheritance; also that he is the son of a single mother, a factory worker from the island of Coll, who appeared for a time on screens everywhere. No one has fifteen minutes of fame any more; instead they get an hour that nobody watches.

They say he is addicted, though no one can agree to what. In any week of coverage, Law will overdose on crystal stim, be found drunk in an alleyway, downloading banned pornography, eating prohibited foods. On Sundays he will be recorded phoning for cheap prostitutes from glossy hotel penthouses.

No one says he is addicted to money. That is expected of him.