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
I can't get through Stephenson in print but a friend recommended the audio book and it was absolutely great. I didn't see any other Stephenson titles narrated by Dufris, which is a shame - he's fantastic!
I did feel the very end was slightly a let down and abrupt but it was a minor quibble.
After more than 5 hrs of listening, I hv still no idea what the main story line is.
The author should hv hv been more focussed in his thoughts, not rambled on endlessly.
And the lousy narration made it even worse
Okay this presentation purports to be very smart. And it is. Also very ironic and iconoclastic. And full of math-geek ruminations.
I was a huge fan of Neal Stephenson's Anathem (although it does dip in quality by the third act), and I tolerated William Dufris' grating narration. I also enjoyed The Diamond Age, but this book has me questioning if Stephenson is my cup-o-tea.
I only made it through this book on the good-will I had remaining from Anathem. That good-will is officially spent.
The vocal affect that Dufris adopts whenever he's reading one of Stephenson's terrible jokes/snarky asides drives me up the wall.
Not particularly. The book is too dated to be all that interesting from a computer science point of view. There's some interesting parts about cryptology, but I think a non-fiction book on the subject would be more easy to get through.
Dull characters and a duller plot. Skip this one.
If you're already read Cryptonomicon, this audiobook is a good way to "re-read" it while you're on the go. Dufris does a great job with the narration, despite what other reviewers have said. I don't know what they expect, but Dufris does all the voices well. Accent, infection, tone, emotion. The biggest downside to the audiobook version is the lack of diagrams, maps and the problems inherent in listening to mathematical formulae and code-text instead of seeing it.
Bobby Shaftoe. Crazy. Smart enough to do his job well, but not smart enough to understand it. Dufris does a great job with his voice, conferring the "ready for anything" nature of the character. Not how I voiced him in my head when I read it, but a great rendition.
Cryptonomicon is one of my favorite Stephenson novels. Dufris does a great job narrating it, about as good as can be expected given the source material, but overall, I believe it's a book better read than listened to.
Great story but this is definitely an abridgement. If you're looking for unabridged recording, be warned: this isn't it. Otherwise, it's pretty enjoyable.
Loved Anathem, enjoyed the Baroque cycle. Cryptonomicon is, sadly, not in the same league. The plot is mostly fine, but Stephenson's talent is in world building, and this world is cartoonish. Most of the characters are frustratingly childish, and the sex scenes are awful. Skip it.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.