Book Jacket


rank 1309
word count 25747
date submitted 12.09.2009
date updated 16.04.2011
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction,...
classification: adult

The Codex file

Miles Etherton

Michael's wife is murdered as internet access is banned. Only a band of hackers and industrial espionage can unravel the Codex file and discover why.


Forget everything you think you know about the internet. If you think nefarious web sites peddling a cocktail of online scams, illegal pornography, racial hatred and vicious computer viruses was all you had to worry about - think again. The government has banned access to the internet and the world wide web, dubbing it an illegal, unregulated zone. Sounds good news doesn't it, until you know that its replacement controls every aspect of your life, from digital content, provision of your gas, water and electricity, and all your money. And with everything and everybody connected, we're all now potential targets if we oppose it.

Do you still feel safe?

Welcome to the future of the internet. Welcome to the Codex file.

Michael Robertson’s family has been murdered to protect the covert government project linked to establishing a new UK internet. Piecing together what happened leads him to four computers hackers, vehemently opposed to the new network, who provide the only means to hunt down the killers. But uncovering the truth leads to industrial espionage and a plot that leads right to the heart of government as he seeks the truth behind the Codex file.

rate the book

to rate this book please Register or Login



crime, cyber fiction, fiction, industrial espionage, internet, murder, mystery, online, revenge, science fiction, thriller, web

on 9 watchlists



To leave comments on this or any book please Register or Login

subscribe to comments for this book
Esrevinu wrote 1280 days ago

Miles, it is obvious a lot of work went into the book, with the carefully chosen words, and awesome dialogue. Your writing style compliments this genre and the language is precise, it gave me a sense of atmosphere, and overall you have a winner
I loved it. Best wishes
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

Owen Quinn wrote 1412 days ago

ambitious plot that has all the hallmarks of a classic scifi thriller. this would make a mustsee movie. it's actually chilling how much we would suffer without the net, like people addicted to their mobiles, the internet is now part of our pysche. the idea of a net that controls us is brilliant. absolutely backed with pleasure.

Gauis wrote 1418 days ago

Intersting idea, but feels a bit hard to swallow at first - but good action - on watch list, will read more
BTW - Have a look at the soul of Charlie Marconi

Burgio wrote 1479 days ago

The internet is our enemy! Actually, everytime my computer crashes or someone sends me a virus, I think that. This is a clever premise because it takes that thought one stage further and makes the internet Big Brother. You've created interesting characters to explore this problem. It's a good read. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Quenntis wrote 1501 days ago

What a ride! You put the reader right into the middle of the action. I love it! I love blood and guts and cruelty! This is done with psychopathic brutality. I hope the bad guys get what they deserve in the end! Q

Jupiter Echoes wrote 1558 days ago

Just read chapter 1, but found what i read fascinating. Tightly written prose and solid description helps bring this book alive to my mind's eye. A pleasure to read.


klouholmes wrote 1573 days ago

Hi Miles, I'd thought of such a thing happening with the internet but I guess it would have to be done in an awful way - the part having to do with the computer executives. The set-up for anti-internet people was chilling; the profiles of these men who would be paid so well, shocking. It made me realize how much power is to be gained and that such a thing would be at the level of warfare. I can see that you probably render many aspects of this in the book. As intricate as I'd expect! Shelved - Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

Paul T. wrote 1583 days ago

The very gory first 2 chapters give the reader the desire to know what's behind all this! What is CODEX? The descriptions are vivid and the writing is well paced.

However, there are several areas that I think would benefit from some attention to detail. For example, chp. 1, paragraphs 4 & 5 both start with 'Trevellion'. And also a typo in paragraph 5 - 'it' when you probably mean 'like'.

It's a bit picky, but to me things like that (and I've had the same problems) break up the otherwise smooth flow of the writing and distract the reader from the story.

Some of your sentences seem overly long to me, and might benefit from more punctuation.

On a slightly different point, in chapter 2 Langley seemed rather lucid for someone in extreme shock and pain.
Having said all that, you've got a good story here, Miles, and you're on my shelf for a spell.

Paul T.

B Michaels wrote 1588 days ago

I am sure I backed this before - but came back in and read the first and some latter chapters - The Codex File captured my attention - a very engaging read. Shelved.
B Michaels - Lock in the Box

Lady Calverley wrote 1591 days ago

Miles-- I am very, very intrigued--- onto the shelf for now, and shall return with actual comments...

Ruth/Base Spirits

TedT1025B wrote 1592 days ago

Hi Miles :)

Excellent premise, good story. Technical structuring needs attention. Chapter one is too long and so is the narrative. You're doing more "telling" than "showing." More dialogue is needed and several passives need fixing.

Keep in mind, every comment is subjective, even the great ones.

Good luck,

Ted Tillotson
"Deathmaker" & "The Magic Meadow"

Fred Le Grand wrote 1592 days ago

i read the first chapter and found it too harrowing to read more.
This kind of graphic violence and brutality to women is very populat too.
Try 'Swimsuit 'for example.
if I feel that way what does it tell you about the book, the writing and the author?
Well, if it disturbed me then it must be very well written, both from the POV of the story and the writing.
This is brilliantly written, seat-edge stuff though not to my taste - maybe i get more emotional as I get older - I don't know.
Superb stuff for the genre of thriller/ horror.
Shelved for that.
I think this is very publishable.
Best of luck with it!

Jupiter Echoes wrote 1592 days ago

Very V for Vendetta upon first appearance. Alan Moore would have liked it.
Cleverly written with suspense and drama moving us along deeper into you world.
Big brother is upon us already with the internet and emails....

I once wrote an email to my brother about a noam chomsky book i had been reading, with key phrase such as, "America is the only country in the world to be found guilty of terrorist activities by the world court."

I definately have been flagged. AM i being watched?

Great stuff.


Marko wrote 1592 days ago

You present us with a cold, heartless concept, Miles - and the trouble is you describe it so convincingly.

Chillingly graphic writing that should certainly appeal to today's reading public.

Already backed.

Marko (Brief Encounters)

Helena wrote 1593 days ago

Hi Miles I read the synopsis first and thought that this was a great premise and so I was looking forward to the read. You delivered it is a brilliant opening chapter. Your description of Colette and the fight she had at breakfast really brought in the human side of the story and helped me to connect with it. Then you describe her brutal killing with such explicit detail, it is gruesome but it's one of those things that you can't bear to read but can't put down. When Michael arrived home again you brought back in the human side and as he finds Colette in the room I found I was right there with him. I wish I had time to read more of this story as I genuinely think its a great read. Its definitely on my shelf. Helena (A Load of Rubbish)

Panaxus wrote 1594 days ago

Miles - Your catchy title first lured me. The rapid development into grisly gore kept me captivated, although such outright violence is not my particular cuppa ... The book's overall hi-tech premise and the nefarious business-cum-government shoud raise the hackles and imagination of any conspiracy theorist.

Well done from a plot standpoint, if you (and a dedicated team of editors) work together to correct language and off-putting grammar errors (beyond mere typos). Too soon to place it on my bookshelf, but certainly worth watching. Good editing!

Panaxus - Stephan Zimmermann
No Rapture

Linda Lou wrote 1594 days ago

Hullo Miles. Ooh what a yummy start. No, just kidding, about the'yummy' I mean. Very good start and as Bill has already said there are several spelling mistakes. since I am from US I do not know what 'White Lightning' is to you but it sounds like liquid drain cleaner to me. The computer lingo also left me behind but it is still a very good. Backed by someone who knows what killing is all about.
Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort

William Holt wrote 1596 days ago


This story is like a bad accident--one wants to look away but keeps staring anyway. Highly suspenseful--reminds me of Hitchcock's example of suspense--a guy sits at a desk, and the reader or viewer knows there's a bomb ticking away inside. Evil is absolutely palpable here.

I have a couple of nitpicks on ch.1 that do not refer merely to typos. The last sentence of the third paragraph has a dangling present participle, and the word hopefully later in the chapter is used loosely to mean something like "it was to be hoped" or "she hoped that . . ." I think most editors would dislike those. Also, later in the chapter, humanely should be humanly. Lots of editing needed but shelved for wonderfully gruesome content. This is horror beyond horror.

Bill (Faust's Butterfly)

stavroyianni wrote 1596 days ago

Hi Miles

Brutal, bloody opening, posing lots of questions for the reader, this is good.

However, I feel the first part is a little unnecessary as it's a bit slow (and would a hitman/assassin have his objective written on a device? Surely it would be all arranged by mouth so as not to leave any kind of trail)

I agree with someone else who thinks the chapter should begin with Colette openimng the front door. This would be a very hard hitting opening and the resulting scene would shake the reader up, which is a good thing. You could then drop hints of him being sent to eliminate her after the job's done. BTW, this scene reminded me of the bit in the Terminator when Arnie knocks on the door, she opens it and he asks: 'Sarah Connor?' before jumping inside. I liked this fact cos I like that film!

Other than this, I found your writing style smooth and fluid and liked the mystery of the messages left around and how they were made. With the right tweaks, this opening could be even more hard hitting than it already is. Hope this helps and good luck!


Haley Brite wrote 1596 days ago

Oh my God!

Once the man's fist smashes into Colette's face I was hooked!
I was actually just going to sneak a peek at your book while I was at work but I find myself sitting
at the computer and reading. I read the first chapter at work! I never do that!
Love it, but I agree that you might want to start with Colette. But I am reading on once I get home.
Really, REALLY want to know what happens in chapter 2!
Backed for sure!

Haley Brite - Hart

Gunslinger wrote 1598 days ago

I really think you should cut the first section and open with Colette. The smash to the face at the front door will be a much greater surprise to the reader, coming from nowhere, as it were. As it is, we're pretty much expecting it. Also, the first section does little to nothing for any sort of character development, unless you consider technology to be one of your main characters, rather than something used to help tell your story. It comes across as a big info-dump, where you could introduce the gear in a short while as it's being used. Describe the special zip-ties while she's struggling with them. Say something about the flash-drive when it comes into play. In other words, the reader might be fine without the inventory, and this might benefit from cutting to the chase (or the cutting, rather) a bit sooner.
Also, it felt strange that the narration kept shifting from Colette's limited POV to a less limited account of the men's actions (John Kennedy looked down...). I'd try telling the entire opening from her POV and then in chapter 2 change to theirs. Also, in chapter 2, you say his throat began to turn "a gradual blue." Did you mean "gradually began to turn blue"? Because "gradual blue" isn't technically a color, is it?
Anyway, that's my two cents. I hope it doesn't come across as overly-critical. I feel this has genuine merit, and I've tried to be as constructive as possible.
Backed with pleasure.
Every Atom Belonging

Binky Myers wrote 1598 days ago

Hi Miles,
I saw a recommendation on the forum and have you on my W/L.
The bloody torture and murder of a mother and the threat to kill her child, chopping off the hands of an asthmatic . Yes you have my attention. Someone has a HUGE axe to grind and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal.
In spite of the violence which is teetering perilously close to the edge of “overkill” , this book is neatly written, clear and concise. The characters are described well and the sense of place is clearly outlined. The purpose of the assaults is clear...I just don’t understand YET, why you describe them in such a brutal way. But you seem to know exactly what you are doing, and I`m prepared to trust you on this.
Promising book... on my shelf.
Dawn : ARK

Cait wrote 1599 days ago

Cotex Files:

Miles, I’ve read a couple more chapters of Cotex Files.

Writing still very vivid, ‘edge of the seat’ read, and as several people have already suggested, some tightening would make an even bigger impact.

I did have a couple of questions, and I may have read it wrong, but in chapter one, the night of Colette’s brutal murder, Michael’s parents were to pick Clare up from her rehearsal, then in chapter five, Clare’s friend’s mother was to pick her up, but the man who phoned claiming to be Michael, did?

Definitely not a book for the squeamish, eh?

All the best, and already backed.

Cáit ~ Muckers ~

Betty K wrote 1599 days ago

A tough read. Probably too rough for me but well written just the same.

Betty K 'The Huguenot's Destiny"

Ruth Francisco wrote 1599 days ago

There is definitely a market for this. As good as anything Joseph Finder publishes. The violent scenes are very well handled, although you don't want to turn off your readers with too much too soon. In the first scene, "Reclaim the World" will have more impact if you use only once and at the end. Best of luck with this,
Amsterdam 2012

deltawriter wrote 1600 days ago

Blerg. That is a particularly calculated bit of nastiness to open with, but it reads quite well. I wasn't completely buying the reasoned thoughts of Colette as she watches the men, and it isnt really necessary, since we've already seen what they're doing. Maybe just have her recognize the one and leave it at that?

Very strong start.

high cotton

William Holt wrote 1600 days ago

Will comment soon.

whiplash wrote 1600 days ago

You got some seriously sick bad guys. Overall, the work could use some spit and polish, but we all have that, and individual editors will have their own red-lines to request, so I'll leave it to that. But yo've done a cracker jack job of setting up a primo whodunit. Kudo's! backed with pleasure!

One thing I'd change, though, is the repeated use of Colette Robinson's full name. You could just say Colette and leave it at that, after the first mention of her name. You only have one Colette, and we know who you're talking about, after all.

nana wrote 1600 days ago

Hi Miles, this is so horrific I had to glance over most of it. I didn't want the mental pictures! From experience I have learnt to be careful, or suffer flashbacks. So I can say this works. Shelved!


Letting Go, a true story

Jen Conroy wrote 1601 days ago

Hi Miles,

Wowee, what an addictive book. This would be in my basket in the bookshop. Gorey, tension, chilling, detailed, its all there. You really sucked me in as a reader, and im only up as far as chapter five. Michaels character is excellent and you filck through his memories very well. I look forward to reading on. Best of luck with this, I must recommend it to my father- it would be right up his alley too.

Kind regards,

P.s: I actually backed this yesterday but totally forgot to put up my comments.. :-)

Ariel Du Plume wrote 1601 days ago


Great opening chapter. Backed on subject material. Will comment once I've read more.


robf wrote 1601 days ago


This is really good, a chilling idea for a story well told. The kidnapping is really gruesome. You need quite a bit of editing though. Watch out for word repetition, i.e sharp blade, sharp burning pain in the same paragraph. With some tightening of everey line and word this could be really excellent. Backed.

CharlieChuck wrote 1601 days ago

This is a good, well paced thriller, brutal in the description of the carving, yet not over done. You keep the reader wanting more, which is essential to thriller writing. I read to end of first chapter and enjoyed it. From the pitch it looks like being a good, well thought out story. Well done. Shelved

Ayrich wrote 1601 days ago

TO not shelve this would be denying my own genra. Well done.

miff wrote 1602 days ago

Hi Miles, glad to back this as it has all the hallmarks of a great thriller. Brilliant plot and well thought out, but you could cut back on some of the adjectives as most are unnecessary. Glad to shelve though.

Frank Island 42

Raymond Nickford wrote 1602 days ago


The reality and starkness in which you describe your settings over the first three chapters lends reality to the violence, making it the more raw. I don't think I can calve another joint on the Sabbath without feeling I'm slicing into Colette.
You have an eye for character observation, even when the action is brutal, 'her eyes narrowed into tiny windows as her anger rose' and, oddly, the 'windows' seemed to link tangentially to the destruction that your MC wants to reek on the computer. Yet the description is not all in the service of the brutal and many asides enable the reader to picture your characters. I could see Tate when 'Tate smiled from behind the rimless glasses, always peering over the top when someone else was speaking'.
I can see no reason why, as a thriller, this should fail to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with many a popular thriller which is hard hitting. Shelved.
(A Child from the Wishing Well)

DMC wrote 1603 days ago

I’ve read your opening chapter. This is a very interesting concept. And I think it could be very marketable too. I happen to know another ‘Big Brother’ themed book on the site had a full manuscript request from Harper Collins… and that’s before he even reaches the ED. Have a peek at Miranda by Ayrich Mutch (a very nice man and a fine writer too)

Well, I’m reading more.
Shelved with pleasure
Green Ore

miff wrote 1603 days ago

Hi Miles, have just finished chapter one and intend to read more. This is full of tension and holds the attention well. I will comment when I get through a few more chapters to see if you continue in the same thrilling manner.

Frank (Island 42)

lynn clayton wrote 1604 days ago

Miles, this is disturbing and in some places almost too much to take for a squeamish wimp like me. But it's a testament to your writing that you can make us feel so involved with your characters and so terrified for them. Your pitch alone is enough to sell this book. Brilliant thriller. Shelved. Lynn

R.C. Lewis wrote 1604 days ago

This is certainly intense and chilling, and by the end of the first chapter, I was well pulled into the story.

Early on, a few things were distracting. A few typos (“knew what she looked it” “police were chasing their tales”) are easily fixed. A few phrases are a little too wordy or redundant. For instance, “small handheld electronic device” … small and handheld aren't both necessary. Also, “replacing his equipment back in the bag” – "replacing" already implies "back".

As I went on, though, I got sucked in and was less distracted by these minor issues. Giving this a spin on my shelf, and best of luck!

R.C. Lewis (Fingerprints)

JD Revene wrote 1605 days ago


I'm returning your read of Appetites. Thank you for your comments on and support of my work. I apologise for the delay in returning your read, but have been overseas for a couple of weeks with limited time on-line.

Starting, as I always do, with the pitch: your short pitch has intriguing elements, but two things threw me a little:

--in the first sentence the conjunction of Michael's wife's murder with a ban on internet access is, it seems to me, a non sequiter; and
--in the next sentence the Codex file seems important but it is introduced without context or explanation.

It's difficult to encapsulate a story in twenty-five words or less, but, for me, the current version doesn't quite work.

On the other hand the long pitch--and I like your unconvetional approach of talking directly to the reader with an almost current affairs style pitch--really did pique my interest.

A couple of minor observations you might like to consider:

--I'd consider splitting the first paragraph in two, starting the second at "The Goverenment (which should be capitalised) has banned access to the internet . . .;
--the sentence starting 'Sounds good news doesn't it . . .' poses a question but has no question mark (I think it might need dividing into two or more sentences); and
--finally in your last sentence I'd be inclinded to omit 'that' and change 'leads' to 'leading', but that's just me!

Now's as good a time as any to say that, in case you haven't noticed, I'm not shy of making suggestions in my comments. Of course I'm no expert and observations that don't resonate with you should be ignored.

Moving onto the work proper, my habbit is to read the opening fourteen lines--approximately the first page--and ask myself, if I were browsing in a book shop would I turn the page? Fourteen lines gives me four paragraphs to look at.

And these four paragraphs nicely establish an atmosphere of tension. The pacing is well judged, starting with a hint of action in the opening of the switch knife, but then backing off with enumeration of the contents of the bag heightening the tension. The description is also well done, not too much detail but enough to establish the setting and details (like the blue colour of the car) fitting the mood.

I'd certainly turn the page.

I do have some observations though:

--the serrated edge of the knife strikes me as odd, all such knives I've seen have straight edges, they're stabbing weapons, not sawing tools;
--John Kennedy, as a name, comes with a lot of associations, not a name I would choose to use unless I intended to play on those associations;
--I see a lot of instances of 'that' which could be avoided making for tauter prose; and
--last clause of the last sentence of the third paragraph, 'sought' didn't feel like the right word to me (not a very helpful observation, but I stumbled for a moment here, that's all I can say) and I'm not sure you need the last two words.

Reading on into chapter one the tension continues to build until the instructions are revealed (not sure that the text needs inverted commas having been introduced by a colon, but I'm not positive on this).

Following paragraph I wonder, if you will excuse me, if 'necessary' is necessary.

The two paragraphs before the scene break--which is well placed at the moment of maximum tensions--I feel, could be combined. And in the second I'd consider replacing 'began their approach' with 'approached' this is a time for economy, action nears and tension is rising.

The second scene starts well, with details that ring true. The second paragraph, though, for me, has too many uses of the word 'was' that could be avoided with more active writing. In the third paragraph I'd try and avoid using the word 'felt', which distanced me from Colette and found the use of 'gently' incongruous.

Later '. . . a bit of TLC [and looking after].' the last few words, the ones I've bracketted, seem to me redundant.

In the reported dialogue you have tags, she yelled angrily, and he replied sheepishly, the adverbs are, for me, unnecessary. In the first case the wors spoken, coupled with the yelling, are sufficient to impart her anger without the reader needing to be told, in the second, the way he returns to his toast after the apology probably says it all. A couple of other observations on this mini flash-back scene: first I'm not sure why it's in italics; and second, having established in the first paragraph that it is in the past (he had said) you don't need to continue to use that form in following paragraphs (in other words you could write, she yelled angrily--though I'd rather you lost the angrily!--rather than she'd yelled . . .

Then there are a few modifiers that don't work for me: The ringing was [much] louder now, and [much] nearer. Omitting the 'much's, for me makes this sentence stronger.

The take down is handled well, then Collette wakes to a scene of terror also well handled, before we switch to John Kennedy's viewpoint (and I think a scene break's required here).

In the first paragraph there's a sentence 'He was [quite] please with his handiwork' where the subject is not obvious (I think it's supposed to be John who's happy, but the last person mentioned was Vincent . . .).

To add to the confusion we then do have a couple of paragraphs from Vincent's viewpoint--again a scene break is probably required, but I'd be inclinded to try and write the whole scene from a single viewpoint.

You leave Collette at precisely the righ moment: I don't think you could have made this scene any more horrific.

Great last scene and excellent closing line.

This is a well paced, well structured thriller with the potential to keep readers on the edge of their seat. I see some tidying up that could be achived in editing--which, is true of almost every work here--but I'm happy to give this a spin on my shelf.

Nick Poole2 wrote 1605 days ago

The premise is tremendous and the first chapter chillng. This has the legs to go some way, I think. Wish I had time to read more...wife demanding chores before guests arise.

TheLoriC wrote 1606 days ago

Chilling and intense stuff! There's a lot of potential here and I will admit the premise is what sucked me in at first. Backed with my pleasure.

L. Anne Carrington, "The Cruiserweight"

BL Phillips wrote 1606 days ago

The Codex File-

Holy cow, man, this is intense stuff! Made me a tad uncomfortable but I realize that's the point! Didn't read far enough to know if they did the little girl too--didn't want to....

I'd use duct tape instead of masking tape. And watch your POV when Colette's on the bed. Otherwise, whew! Scary stuff. But do we want to know who the bad guys are so soon? I trust this author that there's a lot to this story that has yet to be told. Good job indeed. -Brad (Larcenous Tendencies I & II)

AlanMarling wrote 1606 days ago

Dear Miles Etherton,

Thank you for sharing your story. You do a great job of building up sympathy factors for Colette (sick and lonely on anniversary), so we want her to escape the hit man all the more. Your clear writing and smooth transitions into character thoughts allow readers to engross themselves in the story and its tension.

In the mutilation scene, you switch from Colette’s perspective to John Kennedy’s, something that editors may frown upon. You may wish to consider picking one of the two for that scene, then have that person infer the other’s thoughts through facial expressions.

Best wishes,
Alan Marling
Ghost Warrior, the Stealing

Melcom wrote 1606 days ago

A truly chilling page turner.

Shelved with pleasure.

Impeding Justice

Lj Trafford wrote 1606 days ago

You have a cracking pitch which is why I read Codex.
In the scene when Collette wakes up and has been tortured and carved into she doesn't seem to be in any pain which I thought was a bit odd since she has been properly knifed, so maybe some description is needed there.
I do think you give too much away, within the first 10 chapters I know that Collette's murder is blamed on someone else so that they can take over the internet as a sole company.
So really there is nothing left for Michael to investigate.
Also I would have liked more background into why people want the Internet to die, I wasn't sure what this pressure group's aims were. For a sci fi I need more of the sci to understand.
I hope this is helpful.
This is an intriguing idea.

Harclubs wrote 1607 days ago

A very entertaining read, most enjoyable. I minor crit is about the parked cars one the deserted street- they aren't people so saying that the street is deserted except for a few parked cars is redundant. 'The street is deserted, with a few cars parked here and there' would make more sense. A very minor quibble, however, and it didn't interrupt the flow of the narrative.

Cataclysm wrote 1607 days ago

You write quite well. My only suggestion is that there are a lot of areas of lengthy description that you might want to trim down in order to keep the pace from lagging. Other than that, it's great and I'm happy to support it.

MickR wrote 1608 days ago

Excellent pitch.
For the most part well written.
Still got some editing to do.
I see what you mean about the lengthy first ch.
A few nits to look at.
Vincent Trevellion sat next to Kennedy in the drivers [seat]

He didn't really need to look at it again, he iknew what she looked like

Look, you know what these [things] work dos are like

she felt herself careen backwards

I would switch from Masking tape. to Duct tape.

Will back for the pitch but and the execution, but you do need an edit.
MickR - The Nightcrawler
report abuse