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
Felt confused a bit as I went to different points in history with apparent flashbacks to give the planned 'oh so that's what they did'. Overall very good. Reader was great. I preferred baroque cycle series.
a tough one to follow for the casual listener. lots of jumps back and forth from character to character and time to time with no apparent relation for the 1st 1/3 of the book. Good story though.
I really liked SEVENEVES, and I liked snowcrash, but this felt very disjointed with 2 parallel story arcs of different eras competing for the readers attention and with long time gaps between each arc such that I found each new chapter jarring to sort out what the proper context was. Another thing is that the book characters felt very silly and more like caricatures driving the plot than something at all believable. They don't even feel consistent, seeming to make wild decisions and popping up in strange places in the narrative. The ending felt like it had no payoff. Also, the book is really long and felt like it could have dropped some characters and plot lines so there could have been more focus on the more main characters and interesting arcs. I never ended up really caring for the characters, which with a military and computers background I thought I would.
On the plus side, I (assume) I learned quite a bit more about WW2 especially how things played out in the Pacific, and about code breaking, early computing, etc. Some of the vignettes I liked quite a bit and some of the characters I wanted to get to know about much more (GD), I was hoping for a big payoff but I never felt like I got it, which is how snowcrash felt too actually.
Finally a book that gets all the math, computer science, and general science correct. Though the story is fictional, it helps that the history isn't far off either.
This was my first foray into books by Neal Stephenson and so far I am regretting it. I also purchased Anathem and hope it wasn't wasted money too.
Narration isn't bad but content is lacking.
I have no idea how this book got rated so well. I'm over 15 hours into it and it's is boring as hell. It's definitely not an action thriller or drama. It's not really what I'd consider sci-fi.
I really tried to like this book, and it's probably a really great book, but I just couldn't handle the voice actor for more than two chapters. Voices seemed forced and obnoxious. Returning it.
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