In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy - is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Watrehouse and Detatchment 2702 - commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe - is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.
Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia - a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails grandaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat.
But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy, with its roots in Detachment 2702, linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.
A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought, and creative daring.
©1999 Neil Stephenson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
Not my first Neal Stephenson book, but certainly my last.
Much, much better.
The narrator was great and did a fine job voicing the many characters.
Regret that I wasted a credit.
This book would have been fine if the author hadn't tried to turn a normal length novel into an epic tale. The amount of filler was truly astounding! A decent editor could have cut this book in half without hurting the plot. I was constantly waiting for points to be made while the author droned on and on. Then the book ended, not with a bang but with a fizzle.
This book left me exhausted, which is not how a book normally leaves me. It should be a variety of emotions and thinking about what I just read. When this book ended my only thoughts were "Thats it?!" and "At least it's over."
This book was a true waste of time and an utter disappointment.
Likely in my top 15 (I listen to about 100 books a year, so that is saying something).
Too many to count. Any number of vignette's made me laugh out loud. But my favorite part might have been a certain marriage proposal.
Bobby Shaftoe - at first I found him annoying, but he really grew on me.
Considering it is 43 hours long, no.
I come away from this novel simultaneously loving it and realizing that others might hate it (and not truly thinking either party is wrong). Stephenson can sometimes be an acquired taste. This book meanders and wanders, strays and entertains tangents, twists and turns through numerous characters and events, jumping from WWII to the late 90s and back multiple times. The stories are rife with asides, sly jokes, word play, and abundant fact mixed in with the fiction. I found myself online more than once to sift the historical actualities from Stephenson's imaginative story, and I found myself utterly captivated. The book frequently forced sharp laughs from me and was incredibly clever. But for those who don't share the same sense of humor, or who like a little more directness and a little less wordplay and sightseeing, this book may miss the mark. That said, if looking for a quirky take on cryptography, WWII, Alan Turing, Axis power gold, prevention of future genocides, geekdom, adventure on the high seas, cannibals, and just a hint of romance, this might be the (incredibly long) book for you.
it's everything that any nerd would ever want in a novel about the emergence of computers and encrypted communication, sprinkled with excellent commentary about humanity's relationship with technology. it was really long, but i was still sad when it ended. it never dragged, although some of the shorter vignettes were not much more interesting/funny than personal blogs or facebook posts. but hey, this was written before that stuff proliferated -- once again showing stephenson's prescience.
the narrator was a 9 out of 10 and did a great job with the many ethnic accents and military personalities.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
This great to the end story is not 100% great but 99.9% great. The story, cadence depth, historical fiction blend with modern drama, is all wonderful content. But, the author needs to work on the ending. It sort of falls flat at the last page of the story. I will definitely read more from Stephenson. I just hope his editors help him on concluding stories.
A brilliant reading of a gripping, intelligent conspiracy/war story. It has hands down the best fictional interpretation of cryptology . . . when you can understand what's going on.
Yes, it embodied two things I'm very interested in. WWII history (more especially the code breaking involved) and computers/encryption.
Probably the description of using early forms of packet radio to log into servers via ssh from the roof of his Acura whilst sitting outside the building that housed the server in question.
Yes, but unfortunately it was relegated to my time in the truck, on the lawn mower, or basically any other time I didn't need to interact with humans.
I have always been crazy about this book.
Can't think of one. In a class by itself.
Good accent on characters. Good narrator.
Just found it facsinating. Very informative on many subjects.
One of my favorite books ever.
This has always been one of my favorite books since it came out. Neal Stephenson is such a strong and creative story teller. The dual storylines with intersecting characters and plot
Points has always entertained me.
Over all I enjoyed the reading by William Dufris but his choice of voices for some characters did digger what I "heard" in my own mind while reading. Bobby Shaftoe came across dimmer then I would have liked but that was also part of his manner so I don't complain too much. I wish Amy sounded stronger to match her persona but again it's easy to nitpick these small points in a story and performance I truly enjoyed
Report Inappropriate Content