York: The Shadow Cipher (Hardcover)

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By Laura Ruby, Dave Stevenson (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

This story is set in New York City…but it’s not the same NYC you & I know & love. Set in modern-day, it has inventions we have yet to see in the real world: cobblestones & windows that absorb light, only to be stored in batteries that power the city. Mechanical marvels that help keep the city clean: metal beetles tidy up the streets, snails scrub windows & dragonflies dry clothes, just to name a few. But this city also has a marvelous secret, created by the same people, a brother & sister duo, who long ago built all these wonders. And now, it’s up to another brother & sister duo to solve it. They must if they want to save their home…& quite possibly, the entire city itself. Filled with codes, ciphers & puzzles that challenge the mind, this book hooked & reeled me in, utterly & completely.

— Susan


“The pleasures of the novel go far beyond the crackling, breathless plot and the satisfaction of watching the puzzle fall into place. The book is shot through with humor, both laugh-out-loud and subtle.” New York Times Book Review

From National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner Laura Ruby comes an epic alternate history series about three kids who try to solve the greatest mystery of the modern world: a puzzle and treasure hunt laid into the very streets and buildings of New York City.

It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before.

Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York.

And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

"An epic mission to solve one of the greatest mysteries of their time. I loved this book. It is full of twists and turns" (from the Brightly.com review, which named York: The Shadow Cipher one of the best books of 2017).

Praise For…

★ “In this smart, immersive series starter, Ruby expertly juggles stunning plot choreography, realistic stakes in a captivating fantasy setting, well-wrought characters, and flashes of sharp cultural commentary.”

“The pleasures of this novel go far beyond the crackling, breathless plot and the satisfaction of watching the puzzle fall into place. The book is shot through with humor, both laugh-out-loud and subtle.”

★ “This first volume opens up an ever expanding sense of magic, culminating in a bittersweet ending that promises bigger things to come. The past informs the present as the review informs readers: don’t let this one go.”

★ “Ruby’s latest is a high-stakes mystery novel filled with intriguing puzzles, solid world-building, and diverse characters. An engaging series opener that will leave readers eagerly awaiting future installments.”

“The first book in an exciting new series that’s great for fans of steampunk, history, mystery, and magic. Let the puzzles begin!”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062306937
ISBN-10: 0062306936
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 496
Language: English
Series: York