Edgar Award Winner Sally Wright

Code of Silence
Photo Gallery
with book excerpts
and author commentary
The Ben Reese series
Publish and Perish
Pride and Predator
Pursuit and Persuasion
Out of the Ruins
Watches of the Night
Code of Silence

Code of Silence

Published December 2008
Available for Kindle

Code of SilenceCode of Silence, a prequel to the Ben Reese series, begins in 1947 when a woman linguist at Arlington Hall (a real life high security US decoding and decrypting facility) is murdered trying to get vital information to Carl Walker, a 'book breaker' friend at Arlington Hall. Ten years later, Ben Reese, whose wife has just died, receives an unexpected letter from Walker, a distant acquaintance who's disappeared, asking for his assistance in tracking a murderer who's also guilty of breaching US security. An injury inflicted by the murderer makes Ben's efforts to bring him in difficult and disturbing, but still worth the personal cost once he learns of the Venona Code, the real life Soviet code, partially decrypted by the US and Britain, which changes the way Ben views the world in the 30s and 40s.

When I began working on Code of Silence, I knew next to nothing about codes and encryptions, and I found myself reading too many paragraphs too many times before they made sense.

I was helped in writing Code by several accomplished and interesting people who saved me from my own mistakes. John Earl Haynes, who, with Harvey Klehr, discovered the Soviet side of the Venona telegrams in the KGB archives, answered endless questions and put me in touch with Rowena Clough at the Cryptology Museum Foundation, where I got to interview two retired code breakers who’d worked at Arlington Hall, while Rowena guided me to the right materials and explained that world in detail.

John Haynes also introduced me to Robert Louis Benson, who’d released our Venona Code decryptions for the N.S.A. Lou let me interview him for hours on end, then read the manuscript at least twice, and met again to discuss it further.

This is a book I had to write. The Venona revelations contradict more than one popular myth with facts worth knowing.

As Philip K. Dick (author of many more prescient books than most of us realize) once said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

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