Paperback: 448pp

Published: Lightning Books (December 2017)

ISBN: 9781785630613

The Exphoria Code

Antony Johnston


Very possibly the definitive espionage thriller of the early 21st century” – Alan Moore

Brigitte Sharp, a cyber-espionage specialist with MI6, has been deskbound and in therapy for three years, after her first field mission in Syria went disastrously wrong. But now one of her best friends has been murdered, and Bridge believes his death is connected to strange posts appearing on the internet, carrying encrypted hidden messages.

When Bridge decodes the messages, she discovers evidence of a mole inside a top-secret Anglo-French military drone project. Her MI6 bosses force her back into the field, sending her undercover in France to find and expose the mole… who may also be her friend’s killer. But the truth behind the Exphoria code is worse than she could have imagined.

Soon she’s on the run, desperate and alone – as a nuclear terrorist plot unfolds and threatens everything Bridge has left to live for.


“She staggered back, firing at Novak. The bullet hit him in the thigh, and he cried out. But his momentum carried him through, falling into her before she could brace herself, and now Bridge fell back, expecting to slam into the wall, but there was no wall, only the empty hole of the shattered window, nothing to stop her from tumbling backwards, out and down...”




“Antony Johnston is a talent to look out for and this, his latest entry into the world of espionage, is a treat.”

Anthony Horowitz

“In The Exphoria Code, Antony Johnston delivers a crackling fuse-wire of a book with a plot torn from next year’s headlines and an understanding of contemporary spy-craft that will make your head spin. This is very possibly the definitive espionage thriller of the early 21st century. Read, memorise, and destroy.”

Alan Moore

“If Atomic Blonde was my love letter to the cold war, The Exphoria Code is my encrypted email to the modern age of cyber-terrorism.”

Antony Johnston


“Anthony Johnston’s first novel immediately establishes him as a fresh voice in spy thriller writing... An engaging character, top flight technological expertise made easy for the reader, fast action and a web of intrigue make this a propulsive read and, one hopes, the first of many outings for Brigitte, a spy with a marked difference and a breath of fresh air, compared to all the old spies of yesteryear. Highly recommended.”

Maxim Jakubowski, Crime Time

“Anthony Johnston’s novel is one that could help to redefine the espionage thriller as a literary genre... In Brigitte Sharp, he has created the perfect, if reluctant, spy for this troubled modern age... This first in a projected series of novels moves the spy story into new territory.”

Shots magazine

“Like almost everything Johnston writes, The Exphoria Code moves swiftly, is immediately engrossing, and has more than a ring of truth in its cloak-and-dagger shenanigans. This is...a fast-paced read that gets the adrenalin surging, and Brigitte Sharp is a beautifully realised protagonist. If you’re looking for an exciting new heroine and a thriller that will keep you reading long into the night, The Exphoria Code won’t disappoint. Personally, we can’t wait for the sequel…”

Starburst 9/10

“A very enjoyable piece of contemporary spy-fi. I hope someone picks up the rights to Brigitte sooner rather than later and we can see her in action on screen.”

Sci Fi Bulletin 8/10

“A really great read – a page-turner, I can attest to that.”

Steven Rainey, BBC Radio Ulster

“Antony Johnston further cements [his] espionage credentials with the release of his first prose spy novel, The Exphoria Code.... [He] has created a three-dimensional spy that I’m eager to see again. Johnston does for hackers what Le Carré did for short, fat office managers – turns them into spies you can root for.”

Spy Write

“A thrilling & fabulous read - in the age of cyber crime hackers make the best spies - NEW SPIES. NEW RULES. The Exphoria Code is the perfect modern espionage thriller.”

Imagined Things Bookshop, Harrogate

“Full of action, fast paced: I was hooked from the beginning. I hope there will be more Brigitte Sharp.”

Terror Tree


“I’’ll never utter the words ‘How hard could it be?’ again without a dozen colourful emoji in tow....”

Antony Johnston tells Crime Time about his transition from writing best-selling graphic novels and hit video games to producing his first fully-fledged conventional novel. 

For more information about Antony go to


Antony Johnston

Antony Johnston was born in Birmingham and is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling graphic novelist, author, and games writer.

He has written more than thirty graphic novels, comic series and books, including The FuseDaredevilJuliusCodename BaboushkaWolverine Prodigal Son, the Alex Rider graphic novels, Dead Space transmedia comics, and the adaptation of Alan Moore's 'lost screenplay' Fashion Beast.

The Charlize Theron movie Atomic Blonde is based on his graphic novel The Coldest City. His epic series Wasteland is one of only a handful of such long-form stories in comics. His first video game, Dead Space, redefined a genre. His other games include Shadow of Mordor, Blackwood Crossing, The Assembly, Dead Space Extraction and Zombiu. He also hosts the podcast Unjustly Maligned, and records music under the alias Silencaeon.

The Exphoria Code is the first in a major new techno-thriller series featuring cyber-espionage specialist Brigitte Sharp.

He lives in Lancashire.

Read more about Antony at

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