Codex 632: The Secret Identity of Christopher Columbus

Overview

When Thomas Noronha, a professor of history and an expert cryptographer, is called upon to finish an unresolved investigation involving an aged scholar who is found mysteriously dead in his hotel room, his life takes several unexpected and dramatic turns. As Thomas slowly begins to unravel the cryptograms and enigmas that shroud the old professor's work, he finds a code that could possibly change the course of historical scholarship:

Moloc ...

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Overview

When Thomas Noronha, a professor of history and an expert cryptographer, is called upon to finish an unresolved investigation involving an aged scholar who is found mysteriously dead in his hotel room, his life takes several unexpected and dramatic turns. As Thomas slowly begins to unravel the cryptograms and enigmas that shroud the old professor's work, he finds a code that could possibly change the course of historical scholarship:

Moloc Ninundia Omastoos

In his quest to decipher this mysterious code, Thomas travels around the world from Lisbon to Rio, New York, and Jerusalem. He quickly immerses himself in the fascinating history of the discovery of the Americas, and the one enigma that no historian has ever been able to solve: the true identity of Christopher Columbus.

Mesmerizing in the way in which it reinterprets history most have come to regard as fact, Codex 632 reveals what could be one of the greatest historical misinterpretations of all time.

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Editorial Reviews

A Folha de São Paulo
“Readers more intrigued by academic detection than global conspiracies should eat this one up. A fresh-thinking historical thriller buoyed by its hero, a man with a spinning moral compass trying to find his truth North. “
Que Leer
“A most newsworthy novel on Columbus … Based on historical documents, it narrates the story of a clever expert cryptanalyst who unravels a conspiracy to keep the true identity of the great navigator forever hidden from history.”
—Jornal do Brasil
“It was supposed to be like The Da Vinci Code, but in fact it’s better and more interesting, as it presents readers with more proof than speculation. The historical part of the novel is amazing and accessible. Impressive.”
Forward
“[A] relentless quest for the truth.”
Adelaide Advertiser
“In the world of historical scholarship, the mystery surrounding the discoverer of America and his true roots remains unsolved. Codex 632 reminds us all of the historical investigation which has yet to be conducted.”
Forward
“[A] relentless quest for the truth.”
Adelaide Advertiser
“In the world of historical scholarship, the mystery surrounding the discoverer of America and his true roots remains unsolved. Codex 632 reminds us all of the historical investigation which has yet to be conducted.”
Publishers Weekly

Historian and journalist dos Santos tries his hand at fiction in this ambitious but disappointing tale of mistaken identity. Hired by a foundation to prepare a historical study of the discovery of Brazil, historian Martinho Toscano gets sidetracked by a "five-hundred-year-old conspiracy" regarding Christopher Columbus's identity. When Toscano drops dead, the foundation recruits historian Thomas Noronha, a history professor and cryptologist, to recover Toscano's work (it's written in code). Noronha, who needs cash to pay for his daughter's heart operation, reluctantly accepts the offer of $5,000 a week and a $500,000 bonus. Relying on his code-breaking skills and brushing aside pesky complications-an unlikely affair with a beautiful young Swedish exchange student, his crumbling marriage and his daughter's deteriorating health-Noronha retraces Toscano's footsteps from Rio de Janeiro to Jerusalem to Lisbon in search of the real Columbus. Unfortunately, the narrative rests uneasily on a series of extended tutorials, and the characters are bloodless. The slow unraveling of a conspiracy, while interesting, isn't enough to sustain a narrative lacking action and suspense. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A scholar doggedly pursues the true story behind one of the world's most famous explorers. A television journalist based in Portugal, dos Santos pours his storytelling experience into an intriguing if Byzantine exploration of codes, cultures and Christopher Columbus. Less a Brownian thriller than a speculative one, this debut novel focuses on its flawed protagonist and his dizzying search for the truth. Our sensible leading man, Thomas Noronha, is a professor of history and, naturally, an expert code-breaker, fluent in a handful of modern and ancient languages and possessing an innate ability to unlock complex ciphers. A basically decent guy, he struggles to balance his academic responsibilities with the considerable resources required by a distant wife and a daughter with Down syndrome. It proves a tempting distraction when the evasive Americas History Foundation offers a healthy sum to continue the work of a dead academic investigating the Age of Discovery's most famous personage. The good professor is quickly off to Rio de Janeiro, where he finds an odd note from his predecessor, scribbled in a dead language, that warns of the perils of identity. Noronha makes for a beguiling hero, burdened by his family's needs and tempted into an unwise affair with Lena, a student whose interests prove less than virtuous. Dos Santos layers in all the usual suspects, including the Knights Templar, Jewish mysticism and the Holy Grail, in speculating on the true identity, nationality and motives of Columbus. Readers more intrigued by academic detection than global conspiracies should eat this one up. A fresh-thinking historical thriller buoyed by its hero, a man with a spinning moral compass trying tofind his truth North.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061173189
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

José Rodrigues dos Santos is a professor at the New University of Lisbon and a journalist at RTP, the Portuguese public television station. He is the author of the international bestseller Codex 632. Born in Mozambique, he lives in Portugal.

José Rodrigues dos Santos nació en Mozambique en 1964. Es escritor y periodista y fue director de Información de RTP, la televisión pública de Portugal. Es también el autor de El códice 632.

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