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Thriller Thursday bonus: DECODED

HOT TITLE ALERT! We want to make sure this gripping debut novel is on your radar: DECODED by multi-award-winning author Mai Jia. 

One of China's bestselling novels, it reveals the mysterious world of Unit 701, a top-secret Chinese intelligence agency whose sole purpose is counterespionage and code breaking. Brilliantly combining the mystery and tension of a spy thriller with the psychological nuance of an intimate character study and the magical qualities of a Chinese fable, DECODED discovers in cryptography the key to the human heart.

The New York Times jumped on DECODED early and ran an interview with Jia on their Sinosphere Blog and reviews have been outstanding:

“Told by a shadowy narrator who draws on interview transcripts and declassified documents, the book ranges in style from mythic fairy tale to spy story to epistemological speculation. Within this fantastic framework unfolds the saga of Rong Jinzhen, a youngster of illegitimate origin and odd upbringing whose phenomenal success in his non-chosen field leads to international counterespionage.” The Wall Street Journal 

Finally, a great Chinese novel. It stands out among Chinese novels for its pace, liveliness and the sheer novelty of the tale it tells. It grips from the first page… [Jia] offers a beguiling and magical mystery tour of China. It is an absolute joy to read. The Economist 

“An espionage novelist who navigates the top-secret world of cryptography, Mai has been hailed as China’s Dan Brown. DECODED quite blithely—and deliberately—defies the genre expectations.” — The New Republic 

“Readers skate the line separating insanity from genius in Mai Jia’s riveting tale of cryptographic warfare. A denouement at once heartbreaking and thought-provoking leaves readers pondering the collective sanity of a world shrouding knowledge in enigmas. Gifted translators bring English-speaking readers a Chinese literary treasure.” — Booklist, starred review

“Mai’s careful attention to pacing and the folklore-inspired narration make for a fascinating story, neatly interwoven with complex mathematical theory.”
Publishers Weekly

DECODED is now available from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

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