By Scarlett Thomas
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156031370, 512pp.)
Publication Date: January 2004
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PopCo tells the story of Alice Butler-a subversively smart girl in our commercial-soaked world who grows from recluse orphan to burgeoning vigilante, buttressed by mystery, codes, math, and the sense her grandparents gave her that she could change the world.
Alice-slight introvert, crossword compositor- works at PopCo, a globally successful and slightly sinister toy company. Lured by their CEO to a Thought Camp out on the moors, PopCo's creatives must invent the ultimate product for teenage girls. Meanwhile, Alice receives bizarre, encrypted messages she suspects relate to her grandfather's decoding of a centuries-old manuscript that many-including her long-disappeared father-believe leads to buried treasure. Its key, she's sure, is engraved on the necklace she's been wearing since she was ten. Using the skills she learned from her grandparents and teaching us aspects of cryptanalysis, Alice discovers the source of these creepy codes. Will this lead her to the mysterious treasure or another, even more carefully guarded secret?
SCARLETT THOMAS is the author of PopCo and The End of Mr. Y. She has been nominated for the Orange Prize and named Writer of the Year by Elle UK, one of the twenty best young writers by the Independent, and one of the Telegraph’s 20 best writers under 40.
UK PRAISE FOR POPCO
"How many novels can you think of that leave the reader with an intriguing puzzle to solve, plus a cake recipe, plus a crossword and a list of the first thousand prime numbers? Clever, likeable, frothy, zeitgeist-chasing."--Time Out London
"No heroine this year was more beguiling than Alice in Scarlett Thomas's PopCo. A mix of maths, cryptography and vegan politics, this book might just change your life."--Independent on Sunday Novels of the Year.