Codex 632: The Secret Identity of Christopher Columbus by Jose Rodrigues Dos Santos
(from the back of the book) When Thomas Noronha, a professor of history and expert cryptographer, is called upon to finish an unresolved investigation involving an aged scholar who is mysteriously found dead in his hotel room, his life takes several unexpected and dramatic turns. As Thomas slowly begins to unravel the cryptograms and enigmas that shroud the old professor’s work, he finds a code that could possibly change the course of historical scholarship.
In his quest to decipher this mysterious code, Thomas travels around the world, from Lisbon to Rio, New York, and Jerusalem. He quickly immerses himself in the fascinating history of the discovery of the Americas, and the one enigma that no historian has ever been able to solve: the true identity of Christopher Columbus.
There is a lot of research behind this book and the fact that all of the documents cited in the book are real is very interesting. You learn a lot about Columbus and many of the inconsistencies in the documents that mention him. Many of which I knew nothing about going into this book. It is fascinating. Up to a point. But sometimes it got to be a little much. At one point there are 10 pages of the history professor going over every document pointing out the different names that are used to refer to Columbus. And for a while the reader is not sure what the point is, so it starts to feel a bit long. And everyone is a bit infuriating. They all reveal a little information and then add a ‘but’ on to the end until you want to choke them all. It covers a lot of ground, and you learn about the Templars and Jewish history and other interesting things along the way to the concluding of the Columbus mystery. And you do start to feel Noronha’s frustration as he tracks down the clues and searches out the secrets only to have things pulled out of his reach. But the parts of the story that revolve around his wife and daughter and the student he gets involved with seem out of place and distracting. And the characters have a sensational way of revealing information that makes you feel jerked around and everyone is winking and smiling and it makes them come out slightly obnoxious and hard to like.