In 1695, Isaac Newton, already renowned as the greatest mind of his age, made a surprising career change. He left quiet Cambridge, where he had made his earth-shattering discoveries, and moved to London to take up the post of Warden of His Majesty's Mint. Waiting in London was budding criminal William Chaloner, a gifted counterfeiter. Chaloner was rapidly rising in London's underworld, at a time when organized law enforcement was all but unknown and money in the modern sense was just coming into being. In the courts and streets of London—already being transformed by the ideas Newton himself had set in motion—the game was afoot.
"[Thomas] Levenson transforms inflation and metallurgy into a suspenseful detective story bolstered by an eloquent summary of Newtonian physics and stomach-turning descriptions of prison life in the Tower of London.... Newton and the Counterfeiter humanizes a legend, transforming him into a Sherlock Holmes in pursuit of his own private Moriarty."—Washington Post