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
A friend suggested this book by saying it was one of his all-time faves. I'm so glad that he did. Such rich storytelling and engaging writing. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. Truly one of the best that I've encountered on audible.
It was really long, and still I wanted more. Fantastic, suspenseful and educational. I will be in love with these characters for a long, long time.
Good book and aside from repeatedly mispronouncing words like "Tagalog" and "Golgotha," the narrator does a good job. The problem is that several pages or chapters are either in the wrong place in the audio, or are missing. As a result, this great and already complex story is hard to follow.
Seriously, this was a true breath of fresh air! What an amazing story. Neal did a great job weaving the past and past and present time periods. The dry sense of humor and characterization were wonderful. I HIGHLY recommend!
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