The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code, by Margalit Fox

The code of the title is Linear B, writing used by the scribes of Knossos, Crete, legendary home of King Minos and the labyrinth of the Minotaur, from 1850 to 1450 B.C. The tablets were unearthed by Arthur Evans, a British archaelogist, in 1900 but they were not decoded until 1952 by Michael Ventris. This book focuses on American scholar Alice Kober whose methodical work on decoding Linear B allowed Ventris to complete the final steps in being able to read this unknown script in an unknown language. Kober’s work “imposed scientific precision on the romantic, undisciplined attempts” made previously and it was only her early death at age 43 that prevented her from cracking the code of Linear B. I found this book interesting and informative.

RATING: * * * A good read
Reviewed by: KH

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