What would you do if you won 500k in real, solid gold — for reading a book and solving a puzzle? If that sounds like a nerd’s dream come true, it is — and one lucky reader, 25-year-old astrophysicist Froylan Moreno Del Rio, has hit the jackpot.
Let’s rewind. Last fall, authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, released ENDGAME: The Calling, the first book in an action-packed new YA series. And in the pages of Book 1 lies a puzzle, a puzzle that can only be solved with a copy of the book and our old friend the Internet. Over 135 thousand participants from 166 different countries scrambled to figure out the literary mystery. And after spending the past year trying to solve the puzzle, Froylan Moreno Del Rio solved it — just in time for the release of Book 2: SKY KEY: An Endgame Novel.
When asked how he felt about completing the puzzle and discovering he had won, Froylan admitted, “Like Frodo after destroying the one ring, I was just glad it was over. For the ‘final sprint’ I spent a whole week working on the puzzles day and night almost with no sleep.” Hardcore puzzlin’, guys. It’s no joke.
Author James Frey was inspired to craft a puzzle in Endgame by a book he read as a child, Masquerade by English artist Kit Williams. “It was a children’s book with a puzzle embedded into the illustrations. Williams had buried a jewel-encrusted gold rabbit somewhere in England and if you solved the puzzle it provided you with the location.” Frey shared. “I loved Masquerade and always wanted to something like it, but on a larger scale. As technology has developed and infiltrated our lives, I had the idea to do a book with a digital puzzle that used as many of the technologies available to me as possible. I also love sci-fi, ancient alien theory, and games. Putting them all together has been awesome, and crazy fun. Literally a dream come true. ”
Froylan is jet-setting off to Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas where he’ll claim his prize, and the second book in the series, SKY KEY: An Endgame Novel, arrives October 6.
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios