Translated by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne.
Never before translated into English, Decoded tells the story of a maths genius who becomes China's greatest code-breaker, only to be driven mad by the unfathomable darkness in the world of cryptology. With the pacing of a literary crime thriller, it combines elements of magical realism with historical fiction and state espionage. The fact that it takes place in a fully characterised shadowy world of the Chinese secret security, where Mai Jia worked for decades, makes it all the more unfamiliar, intriguing and authentic. The protagonist, Rong Jinzhen, is a classic Mai Jia character, possessing exceptional intelligence, yet also deeply flawed and fragile as a person.
Decoded was published in 2002 and became an immediate success. There are over 3,000,000 copies in print and it has won several awards.