Codex is Adrian Dawson’s first book and one of the best-plotted thrillers I’ve read in quite some time.
When the multi-millionaire, computer entrepreneur Jack Bernstein loses his estranged daughter in a freak plane crash, he is devastated and wracked with guilt. But, as he begins to piece together the facts surrounding her death, it becomes clear that her death was no accident.
Bernstein is drawn into a complex web of deceit and death. He begins to realise that his entire family, his business and his new artificial intelligence program are all threatened by a religious sect’s dangerous machinations. As the body count mounts, so does the tension and the pace of the book never lets up until the big set scene at the end.
I found a lot to like in the story’s themes. Bernstein’s computer is a super-powerful chess program, so the theme of chess so popular in thrillers is given real traction in the novel. Without giving too much away, the program itself doubles as a character in the novel: a very clever device. The story also blends ideas from advanced artificial intelligence with religious beliefs about how secret codes have been hidden in the bible.
What I particularly liked about the novel is the way that Dawson weaves in the characters’ emotional development, not only with the events in their lives, but also with the bigger themes about artificial intelligence and religion. I think this plurality of threads gives the ending clout on many levels and makes it a very satisfying read.
This is an amazing achievement for a first book and I’d definitely recommend it.
This post was submitted by Arthur Piper.