Enigma Thomas Harris

Enigma is a re-imagining of the real-life events that took place at Bletchley Park, which was the nerve-center of the Allies code-breaking efforts on Nazi ciphers and codes during WWII, in the form of a mystery-come-thriller.

There are two central characters to the piece: Tom Jericho, who is essentially the third-person narrator of the tale, and is therefore almost omnipresent throughout, and his one-time love Claire, who we only ever meet through recollections and reminiscences. Tom is a genius code-breaker, capable of Einstein-esque leaps of thought and insight, while Claire Romilly is an increasingly suspicious looking character.

This is a typically good read from Thomas Harris, but not in my opinion his best. Some of the background on the real-life events are interesting and exciting in themselves, such as the U-boat hunt halfway through, and the sense of paranoia, suspense and mystery is palpable throughout, yet it is slightly predictable and the characters just don’t have enough life in them for me to care about them a whole lot.

Specifically, Tom is the typical Thomas Harris male lead – he’s a loner on a mission, in a hell of a hurry, being pursued by unknown forces, and you are not sure right until the end whether he will live or die. But unlike Fatherland, The Ghost and Archangel, although there was uncertainty over the hero’s eventual fate, I found it wasn’t moving me as the afore-mentioned trio did. Also, there were some also-rans in terms of plot-twists, never quite managing to shock or completely surprise you.

That said, its a satisfying enough read – 3 1/2 out 5, to be traditional in my rating!

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