The Unbroken Spine Chapter Summary

Improved Essays

Clay Jannon is a starving artist in need of a job living in the great town of San Francisco. Clay is a trained graphic designer who used to work for a bagel shop the went under. He ends up landing the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. It is an old, dusty, but charming place owned by an old, dusty, but charming man named Mr. Penumbra. Clay soon realizes that it is no ordinary bookstore. For starters, he is instructed that with every customer that enters the store (which isn’t many), he must write a precise, detailed account of the customer and what they did, right down to the color of their socks. Second, the vast majority of the bookstore’s few customers are eccentric, old men and women who come in and borrow, not buy,
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So, with the help his Mac and his new very intelligent programmer girlfriend, Kat, Clay accidentally solves the puzzle that those who were borrowing from the Waybacklist had been trying to solve for years in just a couple of days. He soon finds out that Mr. Penumbra and the others are all part of a bibliophile cult, The Unbroken Spine. The Unbroken Spine dates back to the days of Aldus Manutius in the late 15th century and is now a global organization, with Mr. Penumbra’s store being just one of numerous other like stores. The ultimate goal of the “cult” is to crack the code of Manutius’ Codex Vitae, his encrypted book of life that is believed to hold the secrets of eternal life. The leader, Corvina, believes the best way to crack the book is by using old ways of chalk and parchment. Mr. Penumbra, after seeing how fast Clay solved the bookstore puzzle, believes that new technology will be better. Corvina banishes Penumbra for his words, but Penumbra helps Clay and Kat steal the Codex Vitae and bring it to Google to decode it. Even with Google’s massive computing power, it could not be solved. Eventually, Clay finds out that the original stamps used for the font it is written in show the key to decrypting the …show more content…
Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading about the old quirky bookstore and Clay’s life at the store. Then it suddenly took a huge turn. Clay meets Kat and all of a sudden they discover that Mr. Penumbra and his bookstore are part of some bibliophile cult. It was very unexpected, but it fit right in with the story. This was a very unique story in the way it was written from the eyes of someone very adept at technology living in the modern world. I think I could compare this to kind of a modern, contemporary Harry Potter.


Overall, I would certainly recommend this book. It's not an intense page turner, but it is far from boring. I really enjoyed the way the book was written and how the author told the story. The characters are well developed and ultra-likable, which is something I really love in a book. Although not a particularly deep book, it brings up some interesting things for you to think about when you finish reading. All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good, well-written story that keeps you interested and makes you feel good in the

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