SpineOut : October - November 2017
You said ‘The Mapmaker Chronicles’ began when your two sons asked how far space goes ... Did the idea for the ‘Ateban Cipher’ series come to you in a similar way? For me, ideas are always a mix of an interest, a feeling and a question. With ‘The Mapmaker Chronicles’, it was a love of antique maps, that sense of looking out into space and not knowing where the edges are, and then a question: how did they map the world (and what if you were a boy who’d really rather stay home). SCOVER STORY OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017 pine Out QA& WITH A L TAIT The Ateban Cipher grew from a longstanding fascination with illuminated manuscripts. I went to see The Book Of Kells in Ireland many years ago and I’ve never forgotten the almost-physical feeling of wanting to HAVE it that I experienced when I looked at it. It’s just so beautiful. And then, the question ... A few years ago I read a short newspaper article about the Voynich Manuscript, a 15th century manuscript entirely written in code, which got me to thinking: why would you write a book that no-one can read? And so The Book of Secrets was born. Interestingly, just before The Book of Secrets was published, newspapers began reporting that the Voynich Manuscript had been decoded... Speaking of, what is the Ateban Cipher? Ah, well, I can’t really tell you that without giving away the entire story. Suffice to say that it’s an immensely valuable Medieval-style manuscript, entirely written in code (a cipher is a code). When our story opens, the book is handed to Gabe, our hero, by a dying monk, with the instruction to ’take it to Aidan’. Gabe, a foundling left on the steps as a baby, hasn’t left the monastery in his whole 14 years and has never heard of Aidan. The Book of Secrets is about Gabe’s quest to unravel the secret of the book – and keep it out of the hands of those who would do anything to have it.
August - September