The Cryptos Conundrum

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A fifteen-foot-tall steel sculpture stands in the courtyard of the Central Intelligence Agency, emblazoned with a message that no one can decipher. The three-inch-high letters on the sculpture form a coded message that is central to the survival of mankind—a message hidden in plain sight, displayed in a public space, with the full text available to anyone who has an internet connection.

One man knows exactly what the statue's ...

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The Cryptos Conundrum

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A fifteen-foot-tall steel sculpture stands in the courtyard of the Central Intelligence Agency, emblazoned with a message that no one can decipher. The three-inch-high letters on the sculpture form a coded message that is central to the survival of mankind—a message hidden in plain sight, displayed in a public space, with the full text available to anyone who has an internet connection.

One man knows exactly what the statue's message says—because he created it. 

Dr. Jonathan S. Chalmers heads a CIA unit tasked with containing the greatest secret our government has ever kept—and planning for its consequences. He alone knows the full story of the threats that face America.  Threats that would terrify us if we knew them.  Threats that have shaped our country’s past, present, and future. Threats that have become his life's work, requiring all his talents, all his energy, and even the lives of members of his family.

If Chalmers can’t save us, nobody can.

Former CIA operative Chase Brandon tells a high-intensity, cosmic tale that will leave readers breathless.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of former CIA agent Brandon’s ambitious, wildly inventive first novel, a conspiracy thriller with SF/fantasy overtones, Dr. Jonathan S. Chalmers, a brilliant 26-year-old mathematician and engineer, is serving in an American volunteer unit on the Western front in 1916 when a mysterious apparition saves him from a poison gas attack. This apparition will continue to guide Chalmers through the rest of his unusually long life. In WWII, Chalmers, who still looks like he’s 26, becomes a top OSS official and helps the American government counter the Axis. As part of a master plan by God (aka Savantis Ga’Lawed), he goes on to witness and initiate some of the world’s greatest accomplishments, while solving such mysteries of civilization as how the pyramids were built. This entertaining, if sometimes exhaustive, account threatens to become a laundry list of historical events, conspiracies, and political machinations through the year 4024, but the connections and theories are sure to fascinate many readers. Agent: Martin Greenberg, Tekno Books. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765318770
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

CHASE BRANDON is a thirty-five year operations officer in the CIA’s Clandestine Service. He lived undercover for twenty-five years and retired from undercover assignments in 2006, but continues to consult with several intelligence community agencies, the Department of Defense, and numerous state and federal law enforcement organizations. In his final assignment, Brandon was a senior staff officer for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, serving as an Agency spokesman and CIA's official liaison to the entertainment industry. He provided technical consultation to many feature films, television series, and documentary programs, such as Mission Impossible III, The Bourne Identity, Alias, and 24, and the Discovery, Learning, and Military Channels.

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Read an Excerpt

The Cryptos Conundrum

By Chase Brandon

Forge Books

Copyright © 2012 Chase Brandon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765318770


The cordite-clouded sky flashed sparks of primordial fire. And Earth’s anvil shook with concussions that pounded his body and soul as though smithed by Thor’s angry-red hammer. In terrified awe, Dr. Jonathan S. Chalmers Jr. watched as blinding artillery bursts and dismembering detonations reinforced the enemy’s specter of Death that he felt already overshadowed him.
Cold, wet, wounded, and a lifetime’s distance from his family in New York, Chalmers gripped the steel barrel and bloodstained stock of his 8mm French Lebel, but he would gladly have swapped the rifle for a crystal brandy snifter.
A brilliant mathematician, Chalmers was a scholar and gentleman completely out of his affluent Long Island element. Against reasonable odds or definable logic, he was also a private in the U.S. Army and at present trapped in a gash of dangerous dirt between France and Germany known as the Western Front. Here, a form of human slaughter called trench warfare raged unabated with the rising sun of each new day in a world at war with itself.
Chalmers knew that the gruesome horror of this historic killing zone was already immortalized in the battlefield term no-man’s-land—a realm that his knotted guts and analytical mind told Chalmers was nightmarish beyond even his own vivid imagination.
Chalmers clutched his circular ID tags, their cool metal a talisman for him. He surveyed the trench to his left and right. Flanked by shattered bodies, he saw his dead friends as harbingers of his own anticipated fate.
Chalmers had been sent up to reinforce the 407th French Rifle Regiment two weeks ago with a platoon of American volunteers, including longtime friend and fellow New Yorker Paul Baker, as well as some British regulars. He’d been under siege and without sleep for so long that he’d lost all track of time.
“So tell me again, John,” Baker said. “What the hell are we doing here?”
“Saving the French by holding this line. Didn’t you listen to that lieutenant’s briefing, le bâtard who sent us into this rats’ nest?”
“Yeah, right. Guess I overlooked the part about the Krauts trying to wipe us out.”
Both men were scared, though they tried not to show it.
They winced, recoiling again from the thundering bombardment now under way to destroy fortifications and trench systems along a twenty-mile front from Bois d’Avocourt to Étain.
German Krupp howitzers, called Big Berthas, should have finished the demolition in a matter of days. But both of them were still here, still alive and holding this line—even though the French fortification at Douaumont had been captured by German infantrymen.
Chalmers knew it was only a matter of time until the Krauts pushed them back or overran the allied stronghold here in Alpha Sector. If they survived the night, their orders were to go over the top at first light and claw across a five-hundred-yard-wide strip of barbed-wire hell. And if they made it to the other side, fight the Fritzies man to man with bayonets, and then bare hands.
The killing zone, Chalmers thought. A suicide charge into no-man’s-land.
Chalmers touched his heart, then pulled a photo of Margaret from his tunic’s breast pocket. He could make out her features in the sudden glare of a bomb’s blast. He loved her deeply and felt this was probably his last chance to look upon her face.
Chalmers felt his friend nudge him. He quickly replaced the photo.
“Seems like an eternity since we enlisted, huh?”
Chalmers nodded. “Maybe longer.” He scoured mud from his rifle breech with his sleeve. “Sorry I snookered you into this latrine. Rotten thing to do, Paul.”
“Aw, it’s all right. I’ve always been your shadow. You couldn’t have come without me … just don’t leave without me, okay?” he said with a weak grin.
*   *   *
Chalmers and Baker had been neighbors and inseparable pals since they were still in short pants. Two years older, Chalmers had always been like a big brother to Baker.
Tall, lanky, and with angular good looks, Chalmers had excelled in lacrosse in his early years but quit the sport in favor of academics.
Baker was short and stocky, and though quite smart, he tended to muscle his way through life’s challenges, having eventually earned his law degree and joined his father’s practice more through sheer grit than a scholar’s grasp of jurisprudence.
A year ago, they’d been safe on Oyster Bay, Long Island, secure in the warmth of their parents’ love and their families’ wealth, power, and influence. Although he’d recently married, Chalmers still lived in the stone mansion that had housed generations of Chalmers families. Baker still lived just down the road with his parents as well.
It was a near perfect world they’d willingly left in favor of this deadly trench.
Even more than Baker, Chalmers had been born and raised in privilege, with every advantage of wealth and sophistication his parents could give him. Chalmers’s father, the man he’d been named after, was a successful ship line attorney and investment banker. Chalmers’s French mother had always been a tender caregiver to her son. She was a consummate homemaker and devoted wife.
She’d told her son, when he was just a young boy, that she’d met his father on one of his business trips to the Continent. They’d fallen in love at first sight. He was their only child, and he’d always tried his best to live up to their love and expectations. He had set a high achievement bar for himself as well, especially in the field of education.
Most who knew Chalmers described him as being blessed with extraordinary, if not incomparable, intelligence. When Chalmers was only a few months old, he’d already begun to demonstrate awareness, physical prowess, and nascent communication skills that astounded his parents and the family physician.
*   *   *
Now twenty-six years old, Chalmers held doctoral degrees in mathematics and engineering physics from Columbia University. Before enlisting, he’d been a professor, head of his department, and the youngest man to hold that job. His students and university colleagues believed Chalmers was a true savant, the most brilliant individual they had ever known.
He’d never set a foot off the path his parents had planned for him, nor his own pursuit of knowledge, until the day he’d seen the recruiting poster. Its patriotic message spoke to his idealism and sense of adventure, and constituted what Chalmers called the convergence of coincidence—a force majeure of unrelated events that shaped one’s life, that perhaps defined the concept of life itself. He believed in the power of that force.
Chalmers Senior believed that his son’s abrupt decision to enlist would, “in hateful fashion,” as he’d put it, change the young man’s life, and he had argued vehemently against it. Jonathan Chalmers had stood his ground—and now occupied it in the soggy bottom of this trench.
Baker was here too, having followed Chalmers’s lead by signing up the next day. Both of them now faced another moment of convergence, waiting for the only thing they knew could ever end their friendship … Death.

Copyright © 2012 by Chase Brandon


Excerpted from The Cryptos Conundrum by Chase Brandon Copyright © 2012 by Chase Brandon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Jonathan Chalmers fell on his head at age four. The resulting b

    Jonathan Chalmers fell on his head at age four. The resulting brain injury turned him into a savant who could read fifty pages per minute in multiple texts and instantly recognize complicated mathematical patterns. In 1918 he is inexplicably rescued, wounded, from the trenches of Verdun by a group of quasi-spiritual, quasi-extraterrestrial beings who make him whole and instill his brain with some arcane cosmic knowledge. This experience apparently also retards the aging process. As a result of his youthful appearance he is able to again enlist in the army at the outbreak of World War II but he is quickly snatched from basic training and recruited by the OSS which segues into the CIA after the war. This coincidentally is around the time of the incident at Roswell so Chalmers finds himself in charge of the alien bodies which resemble H.R. Giger’s alien from the movie of the same name rather than the cute little gray guys with big heads we are used to associating with Roswell.

    The above only describes a fraction of this epic length adventure into the bizarre life of a charter member of the CIA who behind the scenes is responsible for the protection of everything and everyone. It is in a word, weird. At times it is painful. There are numerous anachronisms and much verbal gymnastics. I would like to see the editor tarred and feathered for allowing the phrase, “Chalmers knew...” to be used forty-three times. Seriously, it annoyed me so much I counted. That ignores all the cases of, “He knew...” and when the point of view shifts to the aliens—yes, even the aliens get a viewpoint—we are made to suffer with, “The alien knew...” The aliens’ names are corny distortions of English words and part of the alien dialog is first given in nonsensical characters before it is translated for us. I read the whole thing and never stopped asking myself why.

    In fairness it has its moments of clever situations and intriguing hypotheses. Having said all this, I probably should give some thought to the fact that the author is a retired CIA spook who surely knows how to get even.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    I thought I was going to be reading a CIA-type thriller, but the

    I thought I was going to be reading a CIA-type thriller, but the book was nothing but a poorly written science fiction, space invader, time traveling mess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    Poorly written

    Weak in transitioning from one time period to the next. Too far fetched.

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  • Posted July 26, 2012

    Recommend if you like Auto-Biography

    This book describes his life and most major events of his life in great detail. It starts after high school graduation to the end, describing war and job experiences. Not what I expected by the description given for the book.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    Gripping and fantastic

    The author has a fantastic imagination - which he combined with an actual life history which encompassed CIA missions and things he learned along that path that most people won't ever hear about, even in the media!
    Brilliant and gripping.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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