School Library Journal
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Gr 9 Up-Since the death of her brother, high school senior Nora has retreated into her Latin studies to hide from her dysfunctional family. With her older friend Chris and his roommate Max, she works on a complex project at the local college. The late 16th-century texts they translate discuss the Lumen Dei, an ancient device that would purportedly give humans the insight and power of God and could possibly bring about the end of the world. Nora finds Max off-putting at first, but the two eventually begin a romantic relationship. When Chris is murdered and the Latin manuscripts are stolen, Max, the main suspect, disappears. Nora is determined to clear his name and get to the bottom of why someone wanted the stolen documents enough to kill for them. She and Chris's girlfriend head to Prague, where they hope to find Max and some answers. Some readers may be less interested in the subplot that unfolds in the Latin letters that Nora translates, but fans of Da Vinci Code-style thrillers will likely be drawn to this richly imagined novel.-Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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In this polished thriller, Nora, an emotionally scarred teenager, interns with an eccentric college professor who has dedicated his life to decoding the Voynich manuscript, a mysterious (real-life) 15th-century document written in an unknown language. One night, Nora stumbles upon the gruesome murder of her close friend Chris, with his girlfriend, Adriane, crouched catatonic in his blood. Nora's boyfriend, Max, has disappeared, and the police think he's the murderer. Nora, investigating on her own, comes to believe that the crime was committed by the Hledaci, an ancient Czech cult dedicated to finding the Lumen Dei, an alchemical machine. With the cult possibly coming for Nora next, she and Adriane head for Prague-the heart of the deadly mystery-to find answers and save Max. Wasserman (the Cold Awakening trilogy) has written an intricate and tense tale that combines code breaking, a well-realized and genuinely creepy Czech background, and plenty of believable action and tragic turns. Readers who enjoy fast-paced, bloody, historically inflected thrillers in the vein of Dan Brown will be riveted. Ages 12-up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
High-school-senior Nora Kane is a gifted Latin scholar working on a translation project with two college freshmen: her best friend, Chris, and her boyfriend, Max. Fascinated by sixteenth-century English poet Elizabeth Weston's letters to her brother, Nora steals one. This leads to Chris' brutal murder, witnessed by his now-catatonic girlfriend, Adriane, with Max as the prime suspect. Enter Chris' cousin, Eli handsome, brilliant, and irritatingly smug and so begins a search for the Lumen Dei, a machine that allows humans to converse directly with God. It's like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (2003) with shades of John Green's Looking for Alaska (2005). The tone shifts from beautifully meditative to slapstick romantic comedy, with the inevitable hookup between Eli and Nora taking place between adventures in Prague. A more unified tone would have resulted in a deeper read, but when Wasserman gets it right, Nora's narrative goes straight to the heart of grief. At least one more title is in the works, to judge from the cryptic ending.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2010 Booklist