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 decipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code.
©2013 Margalit Fox (P)2013 Tantor
"Fox is a talented storyteller, and she creates an atmosphere of almost nail-biting suspense. . . . This one deserves shelf space along such classics of the genre as Simon Singh's The Code Book." (Booklist Starred Review)
I mostly listen to books while exercising, which pretty much explains all of the action/thrillers on my list.
This is not so much a story about how the mystery of Linear B was solved as it is about how a woman could have solved it, probably years earlier, if the world hadn't been so prejudiced against her. And, as an older woman who remembers those times, I am sure that is true. But I lived that story and really didn't need it rubbed in my face again. I'm glad someone finally gives her the credit she is due, but I would have liked more about what she actually figured out and how as opposed to the litany of how she got @#$@# over.
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