On a stormy night at Lord Byron's Swiss villa, Mary Shelley challenged her host, her husband and herself to write a ghost story. Mary's, of course, became Frankenstein. Byron supposedly soon gave up his--but, Crowley asks, what if he didn't? The result is this brilliant gothic novel of manners enclosed in two frames. In one, Byron's manuscript comes into the hands of Ada, his daughter by his estranged wife. Ada, in reality, became famous as a proto-cyberneticist, having collaborated on mathematician Charles Babbage's "difference engine." In Crowley's novel, Ada ciphers Byron's work into a kind of code in order to keep it from her mother. The second frame consists of the contemporary discovery of Ada's notes on Byron's story by Alexandra Novak, who's researching Ada for a Web site dedicated to the history of women in science. Alex is, a little too conveniently, the estranged daughter of a Byron scholar and filmmaker; her interest in Ada dovetails with her father's interest in Byron, and she's fascinated by the notes and the code both.