Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Cypher Bureau

The Cypher Bureau is a novel by Eilidh McGinness. It tells the story of what happens when the Polish Cypher Bureau learn that the Germans are employing a new type of code that hey cannot decypher.

The Cypher Bureau takers the decision to employ mathematics students to implement a new way of dealing with the science of code breaking.

One of these students is Marian Rejewski. With other outstanding mathematics students he participates in a top secret course in code breaking.

He is given a commercial version of the Enigma machine and a set of user handbooks, and, alone, het starts to learn how to break the code.

His work must be undertaken in absolute secrecy, but the situation is growing increasingly dangerous as the outbreak of war with Germany is becoming more obvious and time is running out for the team of code breakers.

Although the story is a fictionalised account of real events, Marian Rejewski was a very real part of the Polish efforts to defeat the German Enigma cypher.

It's a very readable account of the story of the incredibly brave and resourceful Polish code breakers and the absolutely vital part they played in helping defeat Nazi Germany.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.


  1. I loved this book. The Cypher Bureau is full of tension. It moves along at a cracking pace, adding richness and texture to a most neglected aspect of the second world war: the heroic and innovative work of the Polish mathematicians who cracked the Enigma code. Well done to Eilidh McGinness for shining a bright light on this aspect of military intelligence.

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