Sunday, April 1, 2012

Clockwork and Cryptography: Angelmaker Code Hints, Part 1

Nick Harkaway's witty, whimsical, energetic Angelmaker was released in the US a little over a week ago (you'd better believe I pre-ordered it), approximately a month behind the British/UK release. If you are, like me,  both 1) American and 2) a ginormous Nick Harkaway fan, this was an irksome (if expected) delay.(Taking a moment to note that spell-check takes issue with "pre-order" and "preorder," but not "ginormous.") It turns out that the wait was worth it, because the good people at Knopf and AAS Graphic Design have gifted us with a dust jacket design worthy of the book itself.

I will assume that if you're here, you already know that those discs are a code. (When I found this out, I took a moment to make an offering to the gods of clockwork, steampunk, difference engines, for they are good to us. Also to Ada Lovelace, oft-forgotten programmer extraordinaire.) I'll also assume that you're having trouble cracking it. To that end, I've put together a few hints to help you out, because the reward really is intriguing. 


Seriously. Your self-esteem and your ego will thank me. This is a code that is meant to be broken (what good is it in this context otherwise?), so you know that it's not terribly difficult. Clever, yes. Difficult, no.

Ok, fine. We'll call that Hint 0. You won't be much happier with Hint 1, but here it is (last chance to do it yourself! Turn back now!) : 
Look with your eyes.
Courtesy of Arya Stark, via Syrio Forel, of course. Take a new look at the dust jacket. There are clues there to get you started - even clues to suggest the existence of a code, if you hadn't known there was one there. Look closely. Take it off the book, if you need to. The heart of codebreaking is in recognizing patterns where there don't seem to be any, so let your pattern-sensitive human brain take over for a minute, and go with your gut.

Start there.

More hints to come. Enjoy!

Ready for more? Hint 2 is here.


  1. I'm a bit late to the party with this one - live in the UK - lots of work, lots of driving, little time for reading - solution audiobooks!

    LOLing at myself trying to keep this brief - on iPad - in bath - could be worse I guess.

    voice actor/narrator so good - Daniel Weyman - decide I have to buy the book to see if it's as good without Dan's voice in my head - and just for clarity I do mean The Angelmaker and I'm not just some crazy comment spammer for - heh, couldn't resist that, sorry - but I'm not, definitely not!

    So I do a search, and I find out the info about a code - a flipping code! So now I've just placed an order from the US for the hard back - plus bookseller says he has some of the promo stuff he will throw in - incl shipping all less than a full priced UK copy - trying hard not to peek at your hints.


    1. Hm, I think you could probably both a) crack the code without needing to have read the book and b) view the extra stuff without learning anything that would spoil the book for you. I'm not saying I would recommend it, though.