Book cover

Codex: A Novel

Edward Wozny, a high-flying twenty-something personal banker, is about to take his first vacation in years. But before he can quite relax an unusual assignment comes his way: A wealthy, aristocratic client is asking — insisting even — that he help her inventory the private library she and her husband have inherited.

The couple is looking for something, of course: a medieval manuscript, a codex. In the course of his search Edward meets Margaret, a disaffected graduate student who has her own scholarly stake in the search, even though she’s convinced the codex — an obscure travel narrative by an eccentric 14th Century civil servant — is a fraud, if it even exists at all. The search takes Edward and Margaret into the labyrinthine depths of the world’s most exclusive libraries, and back in time to the life of the book’s author, Gervase of Langford, a contemporary of Chaucer’s who was hiding secret sorrows of his own. The closer they get the more the clues multiply and ramify and invade other parts of Edward’s life. And that’s before the searchers begin turning on each other…

Codex is a literary thriller in the tradition of The Name of the Rose, Possession and The Secret History, with dashes of Neal Stephenson and Jorge Luis Borges thrown in for good measure. It’s also an unusual love story, as well as a love letter to the mysteries and wonders of the Book, the death of which has been wildly exaggerated.

An international bestseller, Codex has been published in 13 countries in 11 languages. You can buy it here.

Praise for Codex:

“Codex takes its place on the shelf of bibliophilic page-turners like Name of the Rose, Possession and A Case of Curiosities, and it’s as entertaining as any of them.”

— The New York Times Book Review

“A genuine treat with its sneaky plot and richly-textured storytelling. Moves so fast you won’t realize how smart it is.” “A genuine treat, with its sneaky plot and richly-textured storytelling. This is one of those deeply nuanced tales in which small things take on great significance and readers are rewarded for paying close attention to detail.”

— San Francisco Chronicle

“Transcends the current vogue for the archaic—explicitly linking the 14th and 21st centuries by considering the respective, and not entirely dissimilar, powers of parchment and PlayStation.”

— The Village Voice

“Grossman’s a clever, daring writer, and his ability to merge bibliophilic detail with racing turns alone is worth a corner in the library.”

— Time Out New York

“Turns the [thriller] genre into something eerie and literate in his fabulously entertaining Codex…By turns fascinating, compelling and deliciously disturbing. It’s an intelligent thriller that truly is just that: intelligently thrilling.”

— The Boston Globe

“Bibliophiles, rejoice! Grossman’s clever debut thriller has his hero search not just one, but two mysterious libraries for a fabled medieval book that may not even exist…This puzzle of ‘nested secrets within secrets’ is tailor-made for fans of The Name of the Rose and The Club Dumas.”

— Detroit Free Press

“Blisteringly hot. If you’ve ever been seduced by libraries and the dusty history of books, put Codex on your list.”

— Santa Cruz Sentinel

“The reader of Codex can also easily turn obsessive as well when it comes to trying to put this novel down. Intelligent, dramatic, great characters, fantastic plot, and like all the best thrillers, believable.”

— The Hamilton Spectator

“An exhilarating literary tour de force … mesmerizing from start to finish. A fabulous double-helix of a novel.”

— Baltimore Sun

“A fiercely addictive page-turner. Codex is also a fascinating and informative exploration into some ofhte most exclusive and unusual (and highly inaccessible) realms of society. If Codex is an example of the kidn of hybrid literary things to come, book lovers of all types are better off.”

— The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Lev Grossman’s Codex is a captivating literary thriller with a nice concluding twist.”

— The New York Sun

“From his breakneck, hyped-up high-stakes life of investment banking, Edward Wozny is sucked overnight into a kaleidoscopic world where everything seems more real than reality. Worlds collide like particles in a cyclotron, when Lev Grossman turns up the heat in this fast-paced, cerebral thriller — all pointing toward a quest for a rare, million-dollar book: the Codex. Unique. Astonishing.”

— Katherine Neville, author of The Eight

“Part thriller, part literary history, part computer game, Codex is a dreamy, strange tale which blends the landscapese of New York and the electronic imagination. A thought-provoking and compulsively readable novel.”

— Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost

“Codex makes the game of writing seductive…How delightful that Lev Grossman, in writing a novel about the pleasure of narrative, has created a page-turner.”

— Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil

“As surely as his hero, Edward, falls under the spell of a jmysterious manuscript so does the reader fall under the spell of Lev Grossman’s intricate plot and vivid characters. Codex is a rare treat for readers and bibliophiles.”

— Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture

“Lev Grossman is a novelist to watch, a pure pro. He writes with simple accuracy, a settled grace, his style perfectly suited to the fascinating Edward Wozny and the world in which he thrives. Codex packs an undeniable wallop. Read it.”

— Darrin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng