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Hacking Timbuktu

1 rating: 4.0
A 2010 book by Stephen Davies.

Danny is a freelance IT specialist–that is, a hacker. He and his pal Omar are both skilled at parkour, or freerunning, a discipline designed to enable practitioners to travel between any two points regardless of obstacles. This is fortunate, … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Stephen Davies
Publisher: Clarion Books
1 review about Hacking Timbuktu

"If martial arts teach you fight, parkour teaches you flight"

  • Oct 2, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+4
Seven hundred years ago on the Niger River in Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa's greatest center of Islamic learning, a fictional 17 year old student of mathematics named Akonio Dolo stole a massive amount of gold bricks from a mosque. Escaping his captors by acrobatic skills common in his mysterious Dogon tribe, Akonio Dolo climbed to the top of the mosque. Before plunging to his death, he gave clues as to where he had hidden the gold, far, far away from Timbuktu. Searchers from Timbuktu ignored an important clue found in the boy's room: an Arabic mathematics treatise with a Magic Square of 7 by 7 blocks filled with numbers. One October not long into the 21st Century, two students in Timbuktu, Moktar Hasim and Ahmed, were scanning old crumbling manuscripts into computers to preserve them. Ahmed discovered the manuscript from Akonio Dolo's room and recognized it as a key to finding the lost gold. Moktar slammed the scanner top on Ahmed's head, deleted the copy of the MS from the computer and ran off to find the gold. Word of this theft reached London during a major international conference of computer hackers. A group calling itself Knights of Akonio Dolo began putting pressure on conference attendees to help them find the gold. Enter 16 year old Daniel Temple, "free lance code monkey." He is pressured by searchers for the gold to hack his way into the computer in Timbuktu and retrieve the missing Magic Square. He succeeds and escapes the Knights with the help of his mate Omar Dupont, who is bilingual in French. This proves handy as after many narrow escapes in London, the two boys reach Mali and search for the gold. Danny is a phenomenally good hacker. Omar is fantastic at parkour. Danny is not bad at parkour but can never catch up with Omar. Omar knows little about computing. The novel is called HACKING TIMBUKTU. Its author, Stephen Davies, bills HACKING TIMBUKTU as "perhaps the first-ever parkour novel" (Author's Note). If you don't know what parkour is going in to this non-stop, no girls, action yarn, you soon will. It is described over and over and over. For example: "If martial arts teach you fight, parkour teaches you flight --an efficient way of evading pursuers and moving smoothly over obstacles in your path. Kong vault, dark vault, kash vault, cat pass, gap jump, dismount, drop" (Ch. 2). Throughout HACKING TIMBUKTU parkour and hacking are compared. Both give practitioners a rush, a sense of freedom. "Parkour is not so very different from hacking. Traceur (one who does parkour) and hacker both require special techniques, special vision. Both move freely to surpass the barriers erected by man to enclose and restrict. Parkour and hacking are about one thing only: freedom" (Ch. 15). This book, despite its total absence of girls or teen romances, should appeal strongly to boys and girls aged 10 to 18. It has history, Africa, murder, chases, codes, computers, mysteries and two British boys using only their bodily and mental skills to track down a huge hoard of gold. And don't forget Moktar Hasim. He is ruthless, regards the gold as his. When his path crosses that of Daniel and Omar, expect mayhem. Daniel begins as a "white hacker," doing no harm to computers he invades. See if Daniel can stay true to his ideals when tempted by gold. -OOO-

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