Two more Voynich novels (both by debutant novelists) for our Big Fat List, one from late last year and one just about to come out…
First up there’s Harold W. Allen’s (2009) “The Renaissance Manuscript: A Novel Concerning the Origin and Meaning of the Voynich Manuscript“, which I have to say seems to be competing against Kennedy & Churchill’s “The Voynich Manuscript: The unsolved riddle of an extraordinary book which has defied interpretation for centuries” for some unknown maximally prolixitous book title award. It’s as if the 20th century never happened… Anyhow, Allen’s book is (presumably self-)published by “Yoyodyne Press”: though you may (as I did) possibly recall Yoyodyne from the example given in the Gnu General Public License (“Ty Coon, President of Vice… Yoyodyne Inc“), until recently I didn’t know that it was originally the made-up name of a giant Californian defence (sorry, “defense”) contractor in Thomas Pynchon’s (1963) novel “V”. Just so you know too.
Oh, and I forgot to precis Allen’s plot: a smalltown medieval history professor, his ex-girlfriend, and a Chicago inner-city teacher collectively attempt to work out who killed the professor’s best friend by tracing the origins of the Voynich Manuscript back to Babylonia and the Garden of Eden armed only with some puzzling pornographic emails, while being chased by a bunch of (presumably black-clad) three-letter-agencies and with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. As they say in Lahndahn, wudja Adam an’ Eve it? Review in due course (though I’m not necessarily expecting anything too Pynchonesque, but perhaps I’ll be surprised).
And finally, there’s Author Brett King and his historical mystery rollercoaster novel “The Radix”, due for release on 27th April 2010. Appreciative quotes from big-hitters James Rollins, Steve Berry and Jeffery Deaver, good quality cover photography and a solid-looking website, so it’s definitely supposed to look substantial. Its plotline runs:-
For centuries, the Radix existed in rumor and secrecy. Saints whispered its legend. Alchemists craved its power. Armies fought and died to possess it. Five hundred years ago, it vanished from the earth. History’s greatest mystery, lost to the ages.
And now (to nobody’s surprise) the Radix is back, a root hotly pursued by questing “government agent John Brynstone” (who presumably has a flame-haired partner called Jane Fyre? Hmmm… maybe not.), probably driven by his own personal demons to uncover the no doubt cataclysmically powerful ancient secret hidden in the VMs. Again, we shall see if Brett King’s story overcomes all this airport novel baggage