“Crackling with techno-savvy, this slick spy thriller . . . will keep readers turning its pages long past midnight.”
-- Publisher’s Weekly
“What (Harrison) does masterfully . . . is illuminate the dark and arcane world of signals intelligence and code breaking. . . invites comparison with the novels of Tom Clancy or Frederick Forsyth.”
Enter the Clandestine World of Signals Intelligence
Secluded in the quiet Gloucestershire township of Cheltenham is the hyper-secret codebreaking and signals intelligence enclave of the British spy machine. Known as Government Communications Headquarters, it is home to a small army of eavesdroppers, linguists, and codebreakers who secretly probe the airwaves for the defense of the realm.
Within this high-tech fortress is a man of great mystery, urbanity, and élan, whose powers in the field of cryptanalysis are nothing short of legendary. His name is Faisal Shaikh, and when an unusual encrypted message crosses his desk, it is like a siren's song to his codebreaking skills. Calling upon all of his knowledge and intuition, Faisal finally unlocks its secrets, and thereby casts himself as a man who knows too much in the eyes of a powerful, mysterious clique at the highest levels of the British government.
To find the key to the possibly unbreakable Black Cipher messages, Faisal Shaikh embarks upon a global quest -- from Japan to Australia, from Fort Meade to Belfast. His only hope is to tear away the veil that conceals a menacing, invisible government lurking within the halls of Westminster before his time -- and his luck -- run out.
Publisher’s Weekly Review: “Crackling with techno-savvy, this slick spy thriller by the author of Storming Intrepid is distinguished by far-reaching geopolitical speculation, well-drawn heroes and villains and vivid descriptions of exotic locales. Working within the shadowy chambers of Britain's supersecret Government Communication Headquarters, chief cryptanalyst Faisal Shaikh stumbles onto a ``Black Cipher,'' a series of messages encrypted in a seemingly unbreakable code. Obsessed by the challenge, Faisal finally cracks the cryptogram only to find that he has stumbled onto a plot between the IRA and a highly placed terrorist faction within Her Majesty's government. For his trouble, Faisal is discredited and thrown out of the service with a veiled threat that he will be killed unless he keeps silent. Putting his mathematical genius to work at the gaming tables, he parlays his winnings into a minor fortune on the stock market. When, by chance, Faisal reencounters the enigmatic Black Cipher, he embarks on a mission to overturn the conspiracy and clear his name. Despite the improbability of its hero's magic-carpet mobility -- Tokyo, Australia, Ascension Island, Ft. Meade, Ireland and Russia are among his venues -- and of his plot -- saving good luck, this highly entertaining thriller will keep readers turning its pages long past midnight.”