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Mystery Books/A book about money


Hi Bruce

I hope you can help me with this question. My wife and I both read a book around ten years ago that prefigured BitCoin. The inventor of the electronic currency in the book based its security on a constantly changing cryptographic algorithm. He became the wealthiest man in the world - a sort of Bill Gates figure - and owned most of London. The novel was written in a very elegant, spare prose and had a one word title - I think. Can you remember the novel?

To david:

  This was an intriguing question which did have me stymied at first in all honesty. However, i believe that i have found the title of the novel which you are searching for. The author's name is Tobias Hill, who is basically a poet with a dark, haunting eccentric imagination. the name of the book is called "The Cryptographer" and it was published in 2003. I am enclosing a plot synopsis for you.

   Anna Moore is a thirty-six year old tax inspector living in London in the year 2021. As she states at the beginning of the story her job is to measure the worth of people. Her new assignment is to investigate the world's first quadrillionaire, John Law, also known as the Cryptographer because he invented a cashless currency called Soft Gold which is protected by an inviolable code.
Soon Anna meets the man and confronts him with evidence of false accounting but John Law readily accepts to repay the revenue what he owes them.
From then on Anna is more and more fascinated by the man, by his great aura, by his mysterious mansion hidden behind a great wall and by his wife and two children. As Soft Gold is heading towards disaster and John Law's empire is about to crumble, Anna's feelings for him remain genuinely sincere because they are much less liable to sudden shift than the greatest fortune on earth. The ultimate curiosity is whether John Law is a criminal mastermind or charitable benefactor.

   The reviews which I have read say the prose is purely poetic and evocative.

I hope that this is the right book. it has been both a pleasure and a challenge to help you, but it was an enjoyable quest. If there is anything else that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to write me again.

  Be richly blessed,
  Bruce Simon  

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Bruce R Simon


I am able to answer most questions concerning the origin of the English mystery and police procedural. I also enjoy classic American detective stories(i.e. Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker, Sue Grafton). I also boast a sizable collection of techno-thrillers (i.e. Tom Clancy, Dale Brown) and global conspiracy novels( Robert Ludlum) as well


I was a Library Associate for close to thirty years for the Richmond Public Library with my expertise being Readers Advisory. I actually wrote a mystery story once which was not published but was an enjoyable undertaking

I was a freelance Book Critic for the Richmond Times Dispatch for 12 years ( submitting 122 reviews during that period. I also wrote book reviews for an independent local publication, Style Weekly, for three years and composed approximately 25 reviews.

I received a BA in English Litrature with a minor in Linguistics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1976.

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