I’m a few hundred pages into Michael Gruber’s The Book of Air and Shadows and am loving it. (It’s after midnight, I should be sleeping, yet I’m… not.) I think it was the presence of the word “cryptography” on the front cover (in an excerpted review from the Washington Post) that initially piqued my curiosity. I first got into cryptography when I was in law school, working for the EFF. I was fascinated by it, and eventually took a class at the Smithsonian, given by the NSA, on the history of cryptography. (If memory serves, it was the first year the NSA admitted that they existed. Made for fun classes, that’s for sure.)
Back to the book. If I was intrigued by the presence of crypto on the cover, the author’s bio sealed it: “Michael Gruber has been a marine biologist, a restaurant cook, a federal government official, and a political speechwriter. He lives in Seattle, Washington.”
I won’t spoil the story by revealing any plot points (I’m still working throug hit, so I couldn’t spoil much anyway) – suffice it to say, if you enjoy smart thrillers and appreciate it when the author doesn’t skimp on details (historical or technical), you’ll almost certainly enjoy this.
Oh, and what prompted me to write this in the middle of reading it? One of the main characters mentioned La Femme Nikita (the film, not the TV show, don’t you dare confuse the two) in the same breath as Chinatown and The Maltese Falcon. Positively. This guy’s good.