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The Curse of the Gallows by Jim Throne

The Curse of the Gallows

by Jim Throne

338 pages
The decoding of mysterious medieval codices reveals unspeakable plagues to come.

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Category: Fiction:Mystery
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About the Book
The Curse of the Gallows is a contemporary murder mystery. The vault at Yaleís Rare Book Library has been broken into. A watchman is murdered, a fire is started, and some documents are stolen. Lincoln Barnes, a New Haven Detective, investigates. He quickly learns that two 15th century documents were the targets of the thieves. Both documents were written in codes that have remained undeciphered for 500 years. One of the documents, the Steganographia, was the subject of a mathematical studentís decade-old doctoral dissertation. Her dissertation is also missing from Yale archives. The other, the Voynich Manuscript, was known to have missing sections that apparently were found in Europe by a now-murdered German bioscientist.

From an Interpol agent, Barnes learns that the bioscientist was also a professor of medieval history in Pittsburgh. Barnes suspects that the doctoral student may be the professorís daughter. A Boston College mathematics student volunteers to help Barnes with the link between the two codices. He tells Barnes that the Steganographia may hold the key to decoding the Voynich Manuscript and that the Voynich Manuscript may contain medieval recipes for past pandemic plagues, including the Black Plague. The student is murdered before he can provide details about the missing sections of the Voynich Manuscript, sections that may contain secrets about the next plague.

Barnes learns that the student was the step-son of the bioscientist/professor and that the studentís long-dead mother had been murdered because she had stumbled on a method of decrypting the drawings in the codex. He accuses the Interpol agent of being the professorís daughter and the decoder of the Steganographia. She confirms that that document holds the key to decoding the Voynich Manuscript. An Israeli secret service agent, who murdered the bioscientist, the student, the studentís mother (and others), has the missing sections of the Voynich Manuscript. The agent tries to wrest the rest of the codes from the Interpol agent but she kills him. She then tells Barnes that she is really a Russian agent. She shoots him. Critically wounded, he kills her as she attempts to flee.

Thread-lines in the story stretch back to medieval Central Asian countries along the Great Silk Road, to Prague and a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, to the British cryptography group known as Bletchley Park, to rarified university atmospheres and central Florida desolation.


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About the Author
Jim Throne Jim Throne is an international engineering consultant. Although he has written a dozen technical treatises and hundreds of technical papers in plastics process engineering, The Curse of the Gallows is his first published novel, a murder mystery based on the 500 year-old undeciphered Voynich Manuscript.



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