The Riddle of the Labyrinth

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code - Margalit Fox

The pull of an undeciphered ancient script comes not only from the fact that its discoverer cannot read it, but also from the knowledge that once long ago, someone could.

As someone who had no previous knowledge of the discovery of Linear B and the eventual deciphering of it, this book was absolutely fascinating. I decided to read this after seeing a positive review of the book. I was wary that the book was going to be dry and somewhat boring but I needn't have worried because this was a vibrant yet informative book.


Margalit Fox covers not only Alice Kober but also Sir Arthur Evans and Michael Ventris. All three played critical roles in the discovery or eventual deciphering of Linear B. I liked that while Fox tended to focus on Kober, she also spent plenty of time discussing Evans and Ventris. The author shows a clear disdain for Evans and I feel like her disdain really overtakes her section on Evans. Fox also shows a sort of disdain towards Ventris and really drives home her point that he would never have been able to decipher Linear B without Kober's previous work on the subject. While Fox clearly admires the work that Kober has done I was glad that that her section on Kober didn't turn into hero worship.


Reading this book has made me want to know more about Linear B and also the still undeciphered Linear A. Fox mentions other books that have discussed these topics and they all seem so fascinating and I look forward to one day reading those as well.