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Decipher Hardcover – September 20, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (September 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312280750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312280758
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.4 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In British screenwriter Pavlou's adolescent first novel, it's March 2012 and huge storms are raging around the globe, sparked by giant sunspots. The villainous U.S. Rola Corporation, drilling for desperately needed oil off Antarctica, discovers strange crystalline artifacts covered with a precuneiform script, while radiation detected under the antarctic ice portends the awakening of powerful alien forces. An unconvincing gaggle of scientists discovers they have only one unholy Holy Week to ship a nuclear device to Antarctica and bomb the underwater threat to smithereens. Pavlou builds his unlikely crescendo of Bad Things from nearly every major folklore, myth and religion, dizzyingly cutting between eye-popping disasters and eye-glazing capsule summaries of linguistics, geology, chemistry, mathematics, numerology, cryptology, archeology, ESP and Edgar Cayce. Stripped down to comic book proportions for the big screen, with a deafening soundtrack and a teenage audience anesthetized to a vocabulary largely dominated by four-letter cliches, this often gruesome tale might make a middling SF adventure flick. The often ludicrous dialogue and the ham-fisted handling of human relations and motivations, however, make for an unfocused novel, one patched together like Frankenstein, with every stitching line, every unnatural feature, unblushingly exposed to the most casual glance.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In a frozen wasteland near the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, a world-weary team of oil drillers jubilantly believes that it has located a major strike. Instead of black gold, however, the men discover a bizarre cluster of rocks with unnatural markings similar to ancient hieroglyphs. Shortly afterward, these enigmatic rocks begin to appear in seemingly unrelated sites across the globe, including the Amazon River and an underground chamber beneath the Sphinx. A crackerjack squad of the world's premier geocryptologists soon determines that the stones are actually composed of carbon 60, a superior energy source previously unknown to modern science. From this point, the plot machinations are revved into overdrive with all the subtlety of an avalanche. Solar flares, Atlantis, ancient Mayan prophecies, the Book of Revelations, and unexplained worldwide cataclysms are tossed into the mix, creating enough fringe ideas to make an Art Bell radio show listener drool. Ludicrous theories about the origins of carbon 60 are proposed, and the narrative is continually peppered with textbook passages that attempt to ground the science in reality. Pavlou does not exactly strike gold with this initial effort, but regardless of its faults, Decipher remains a semiprecious page-turner. For larger fiction collections.
Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Stel Pavlou makes stuff up for a living. So far he's made up two novels, Decipher and Gene, a movie, The 51st State, some short stories and a collection of other noodlings. He hopes to make a few more things up before anyone catches on and stops him.

Stel is of mixed Anglo-Greek descent, so only fifty percent of his gift giving should be treated with any suspicion.

Customer Reviews

One of the best books I've picked up in a long time.
Phoebe Annlin
Some exposition is necessary in any novel to help set the plot and characterzations, but this was way too much.
Pangloss
It is a very intelligent, scientific book with an excellent cast of characters and great story line.
Marshall L.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Knowles on April 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Art Bell meets Indiana Jones = a blast. I think this is one of those books you'll either get it or you won't. Tons of science and mythology, Reilly action, Cussler adventure, all crammed into a Dan Brown puzzle plot.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Julie M. Judkins on March 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like my science-fiction a bit mind-bending when it comes to reality. What I really admire about this story is that it actually dares to tie all the following TOGETHER: linguistics, geology, chemistry, mathematics, numerology, cryptology, archeology, precuneiform script, Atlantis, contemporary physics, the pyramids, chaos theory, Solar flares, ancient Mayan prophecies, the Book of Revelations, and unexplained worldwide cataclysms. Check it out.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Bierdrager on March 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Well-researched and chock full of interesting information - I really enjoyed this book. The characters were very real; Stel really did a good job, in my opinion, with the human element. It was thoroughly interesting and entertaining, my two primary criteria for fiction. Actually, I would give it a 4.5 (not 4).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eric Aitala on September 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Decipher is a fun 'little' thriller... pity it showed up in the US so late, it makes a great book to take to the beach.
Decipher is a great little thrill ride through physics, linguistics, religion, big business, archeology, mythology, and the end of the world. Stel Pavlou has pulled many diverse fields together, wrapped them in a tight, fast paced plot which takes the reader around the globe, added some great characters (and humor!), and produced a fine novel which keeps the reader gripped til the last page. Its also nice to see scientists portrayed as real, if sometimes quirky, people as opposed to the stereotypical characters seen so often in the media. Hope to see his second book soon!
...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Jones on March 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I went on vacation and did canoeing for the first time in my life, it was a blast, and while I was there started reading a new book. For all those Dan Brown fans out there, I can't recomend Decipher by Stel Pavlou enough. It's along the same line and tone as Dan's books.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brett Naylor on October 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Congratulations to Stel Pavlou for creating a fantastical world. A truly great adventure. Much has been made of the myths and the sheer amount of science in the book. But for me far and away the best part was the nano-technology that he put to use. Imagine that molecular sized robots can group together and swarm in biological synchronization (like flocks of birds) and become creatures that can then battle humans. Amazing! That aspect of the story intertwined with the myth of the Golem makes this book far and away ahead of its time. Why did we have to wait 2 years for it to come to America?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By dr_aneesh_desai on February 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best page-turners that I've read in a long long time. It's a totally engrossing story which moves at a very quick pace. The book reminded me of a lot of Michael Crichton's work, in particular the combination of a thriller with cutting-edge science. In fact, if I didn't know who had written it, I would have assumed that he had, so similar are the styles. Impressive considering that it's Stel Pavlou's first novel.

If you like Michael Crichton then this book is definitely for you. A thrilling read from start to finish! I look forward to reading his next novel.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Sword on February 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's easy to find reviews for something when you want to look. Inside the flap of the book for example, or even here on amazon, even though they've tried hard to bury them. Take Kirkus reviews (highly respected). they starred it and called it Spellbinding. "Spellbinding mainstream science-fiction spectacular. Small print, big picture. Pavlou's masterpiece doesn't let us off easy." Why are they right? Because for 600 pages Pavlou takes us to another time and another world, one that has been so meticulously plotted, tying together all of his rightfully vaunted research that there are one or two sad individuals spending their time under a host of fake names writing mutlple bad reviews of this book in a lame attempt to try and damage it. My money is on a rival author who probably plagiarized this book and is trying to do damage limitation for himself, or some jealous hack that feels threatened by this book. Very sad really. Oh, the Philadelphia Inquirer said: "A rocketing adventure...Stel Pavlou's debut novel burst with marvels of scientific chitchat and towers above most recent science fiction." You know why? Because they recognize the fun of Decipher, the fact that it's Indiana Jones with physics. The fact that as such, combined with the fact that the story is about, oh I don't know - Atlantis, it's not trying to be anything else but a fun adventure. The Sunday times in London understood this. That's why they said: "Few debuts are as ambitious as Decipher. Exhilaratingly imaginative." See what I mean? Very imaginative indeed. So imaginative that one or two people have been so threatened by it that they just have to try and cut Pavlou down to size to save their own puny intellects and make themselves feel better.Read more ›
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