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Codex Paperback – 1 Sep 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (1 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099491222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099491224
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 3 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The cerebral thriller Codex drops up-and-coming investment banker wunderkind Edward Wozny into the musty realm of medieval literature, where he finds an unexpected break from the rat race--a powerful client's commission to uncrate and organise a library. The diversion quickly becomes an obsession after he enlists the help of the quirkily attractive scholar Margaret Napier. Together they discover his employer, the mysterious Duchess of Bowmry, is in a race with her husband to locate an apocryphal codex that could destroy the Bowmry name. Meanwhile, Edward becomes engrossed in an addictive computer game that bears an uncanny similarity to the object of his search and accelerates his transformation from Wall Street wizard into shiftless dreamer.

For the most part, Edward moves through his adventure merely following Margaret's dedicated lead. As each new twist unfolds, he slips further into the comforting daydream of a life that isn't his but is as thrilling as the race for the codex. Codex wrestles with notions of dreams and reality that commingle as Edward finds himself adrift in a sea of passionate scholars and Old World plots. Lev Grossman's novel is an excellent entry point into the emerging genre of literary history thrillers with an added twist for the technophile. --Jeremy Pugh, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A compulsively readable novel" (Iain Pears)

"A genuine treat, with its sneaky plot and richly textured storytelling. It also moves so fast that readers won't realize how smart it is" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Codex takes its place on the shelf [with] The Name of the Rose, Possession and A Case of Curiosities, and it's as entertaining as any of them" (New York Times)

"Fabulously entertaining ... By turns fascinating, compelling, and deliciously disturbing. It's an intelligent thriller that truly is just that: intelligently thrilling" (Boston Globe)

"Mesmerizing from start to finish ... A fabulous double-helix of a novel" (Baltimore Sun)

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Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Maker on 16 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
After reading the blurb of Codex, I was really looking forward to getting into the story: ancient historical documents linked with a modern day computer game - how? and why?
Eager to get going I ploughed through the beginnings of the story, disappointed with the flat and uninteresting characters, but still waiting for the real interesting stuff to kick in. Unfortunately, absolutlety nothing kicked in. There wasn't even a gentle prod.
While the history was quite interesting, the story I was hoping for failed to materialise and the characters just didn't have any spark.
If you're looking for a good page turner with some interesting histroical reference, then look somewhere else.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By G. Gibson on 20 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up on Grossman because of The Magicians, and I suspect a great number of people who did the same are glancing over the wealth of bad reviews here and feeling worried. Well, here's what to do: if you like simplistic by-the-numbers plots featuring granite-jawed heroes with all the depth of a freshly trimmed toenail punching their way to a 'satisfying' conclusion, as so many of the reviewers here clearly do, this book is not for you. If, however, you're looking for a refreshingly clever, and cleverly constructed narrative, then come right in.

For a long time, all those one-star reviews of Codex here and on Amazon US kept me at a distance, but having now read and thoroughly enjoyed the book, I have come to understand why so many people believe the majority of Amazon reviews are not worth a damn, that they are written by people with nary the mental strength to work out the complexities of a Nancy Drew novel. Very simply put, most of the bad reviews here and elsewhere are by people who *have not actually read the book*. Instead, they have skimmed it, glossing over the - to me - carefully placed clues that led to a very, very satisfying conclusion. For instance, the complaints regarding the ending: if you don't get it, you should probably give up reading and stick to DVD's. Ones with lots of bullets and explosions. WIthout giving anything away, the clue is right there. Grossman even states the nature of his clever twist outright, for the benefit of those members of the audience still lipreading their way through the narrative. I have seen precisely one review here - or rather, a comment on a bad review - where a reader clearly understood that given the nature of the mystery at the heart of Codex, the book could not possibly end any other way than the way it did.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Read the synopsis on the cover and the story promises a great deal, but in reality it fails to deliver. There are supposed to be parallels between the central plot, the hunt for a secret message hidden within a lost medieval manuscript, and a highly complex computer game played by the main character, Edward. Where this connection was I failed to see, but perhaps I missed something! To me the pages of description of the computer game just seemed to be a filler. It added virtually nothing to the plot, apart from a link to one of the other characters towards the and the sudden realisation by Edward about the location of the manuscript.
I found myself disliking Edward, the central character, more and more as the story progressed. He was portrayed as a hot shot, decisive and combative young banker with a great future ahead of him. However, within a matter of a couple of days he is prepared to give this all up for the chance of a working for some dotty English aristocrat. As the days pass by the guy descends into an aimless existence, supposedly obsessed with finding the missing Codex. At the outset of the story this guy was portrayed as decisive, give me a break he would find making a decision to change his underwear taxing.
The biggest disappointment of all was the ending, after wading through 350 pages I hoped to be rewarded with a twist or two at the end. Unfortunately, the final encounter between Edward and his employer is totally implausible and makes the whole story almost pointless. I was left with the distinct impression that after those 350 pages the author felt the same as me, he was bored with it and just wanted to get the book finished as soon as possible.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 6 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
There's a really good ideas behind this book - what happens if you're looking for a mysterious manuscript that someone wants very, very badly and you discover that the subject matter of that manuscript appears in a popular virtual reality computer game that is sweeping through geeks everywhere? It's an intriguing premise that digs into two buzz areas of popular culture - complex searches and computer game culture. The problem is that Lev Grossman's execution is appalling.

From the start, the "hot shot young banker" is unconvincing. We're supposed to believe that he's an intelligent, ruthless investment banker on the up and up. Unfortunately, Edward Wozny has the backbone of a jellyfish. It's this dichotomy between what Grossman wants us to see and what he puts on the page that really ruins the experience for me. This is because what should be a driven, intelligent young man is led through the salient plot points by contrivance. We don't see him decide anything (even though snap decisions should be central to his character) - instead he is governed by his failure to act and this passivity robs the book of any pace or ugency (which we should have in droves because of the fact that he's supposedly only got two weeks to find this text). Indeed, Grossman loses confidence in even his fortnight time frame and finds another reason to extend it.

Poor characterisation also ruins any tension or mystery on the part of the Duke and Duchess. We gradually learn that they're at war with each other but we're never told why and indeed, their first appearance in the text doesn't suggest anything other than two people who are bored with each other.
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