Winston Churchill described the Russian capture of the
German codebook as vitally important for the Royal Navy.
But he got some of the details wrong.
Based on true events, The Code Bearers is a fast-paced historical novel that delves into World War I, the Russian Navy and its capture of the German naval codebook in 1914. John Westwood brings to life not just the atmosphere of the frenzied Russian capital, but each captivating individual, concealing their true nature under the pressure of a huge state bureaucracy and its secret police.
The novel follows Lieutenant Bruce Sterling of the Royal Navy who, at the start of World War I, is aboard a Russian warship when a German codebook is discovered and captured. In his diplomatic role he must convince the Russians to send the book to London, while risking his safety to devise a succession of ruses and false trails to keep the Germans off the scent.
The presence of German agents in Petrograd, and even among the Russian secret police, remains a constant threat as it becomes increasingly more difficult to determine which side everyone is on. Bruce has no option but to put his trust in the most unlikely of people, including a stony bureaucratic officer who has been concealing a hidden life, and his own American girlfriend who, working undercover, has developed close relationships with German officers in Berlin.