The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code

by Margalit Fox


$15.90 $16.99 Save 6% Current price is $15.9, Original price is $16.99. You Save 6%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, August 27


In the tradition of Simon Winchester and Dava Sobel, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative.
When famed archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that flowered on Crete 1,000 years before Greece’s Classical Age, he discovered a cache of ancient tablets, Europe’s earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of the inscriptions, and even the language in which they were written, would remain a mystery.
Award-winning New York Times journalist Margalit Fox's riveting real-life intellectual detective story travels from the Bronze Age Aegean—the era of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Helen—to the turn of the 20th century and the work of charismatic English archeologist Arthur Evans, to the colorful personal stories of the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death that may have been a direct consequence of the deipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062228864
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 160,118
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

An award-winning journalist trained as a linguist, Margalit Fox is a senior writer at the New York Times. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in linguistics from Stony Brook University and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia Univer-sity. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, the writer and critic George Robinson.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii

Introduction xv

Prologue Buried Treasure 3

Book 1 The Digger

Chapter 1 The Record-Keepers 13

Chapter 2 The Vanished Key 41

Chapter 3 Love Among the Ruins 67

Book 2 The Detective

Chapter 4 American Champollion 85

Chapter 5 A Delightful Problem 113

Chapter 6 Splitting the Baby 129

Chapter 7 The Matrix 151

Chapter 8 "Hurry Up and Decipher the Thing!" 177

Book 3 The Architect

Chapter 9 The Hollow Boy 203

Chapter 10 A Leap of Faith 221

Chapter 11 "I Know It, I Know It" 233

Chapter 12 Solution, Dissolution 247

Epilogue Mr. X and Mr. Y 269

Appendix: The Signs of Linear B 287

References 289

Notes 297

Acknowledgments 347

Picture Credits 351

Index 353

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My husband and I listened to this audio book on a cross-country drive and enjoyed it. It helped my appreciation that I had quite a bit of familiarity with the Minoan culture and have taught Minoan art history. I thought Fox gave a balanced account of the roles of Evans, Koger and Ventris in the decipherment of Linear B. She added the very interesting role of a female classicist to the history of this endeavor. My husband thought the writing (or perhaps reading) was too florid in places, but I thought the writing and recitation made it quite riveting. A definite thumbs-up for a non-fiction audio book.
mjcNYC More than 1 year ago
The author presents the complicated disciplines so clearly that you almost believe you could decipher the code, given time and patience. The personalities involved keep the account of the search lively, involving and suspenseful. Besides, I loved visiting Crete and this reminded me why.
Ed-read More than 1 year ago
The writer presents a true account of how an unknown script written in an unknown language was eventually deciphered. I found this book interesting and enjoyable to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent mix of the scientific aspects of the process of understanding Linear B coupled with the personalities involved. A very compelling story, a quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kpet More than 1 year ago
Margalit Fox has written an excellent book on the cracking of Linear B, a language used in ancient Crete. The author highlights the work of Alice Kober, who did most of the work. Alice's story is one of hard work and great discovery. Michael Ventris' story is also told, and how the language was finally deciphered. A great story of code breaking, CHECK IT OUT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Duuhhh. Tim. I hear these jokes all the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago