“The law will be forced to change; or we shall step around it.”

The Martingale Cycle is a series of interconnected novels exploring the life of computing pioneer and political radical Elyse Martingale – and her strange afterlife in the 21st century. 

Best-known for her 1954 treatise The Electronic Radical, Elyse Martingale was one of the twentieth century's truly original thinkers in the field of computational engineering, as well as a notoriously pugnacious mouthpiece of the political left. From her recently-revealed early service at the Bletchley Park decryption station in World War II, through her pivotal role designing the memory of the 'Manchester Baby' computer in 1948, to her work on the ill-fated WOTAN network in the late 1960's, Martingale had a profound, though often invisible, impact on the digital devices we take for granted today.

In spite of this contribution, she was by the 1990s largely forgotten outside leftist political circles. It was the 1998 reprint of The Electronic Radical, on the ONM label, that reintroduced her to a new, technically savvy, generation of activists and thinkers. At the time of writing, her reputation and impact continue to blossom. Who can predict how far her influence might eventually reach?   

Martingale – the books

Each Martingale novel is set in a different decade. Each stands alone, and they can be read in any order. They work together to paint form a portrait of a flawed but brilliant woman, derided in her time, who went on to shape a generation. The whole Cycle tells an alternative history of how tech has changed the way we live – and who we are. 

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Book zero, Fallen Angel, is available now as a digital novella

Book one, Sockpuppet, is available now in print, ebook and audio

Book two, Lucky Ghostis published July 2017 in hardback, ebook and audio 

Photo: Getty