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Cryptonomicon Audiobook

Cryptonomicon

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Publisher's Summary

Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, Best Novel, 2000

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (5297 )
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4.5 (4371 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brad M. Castle Rock, CO 08-27-12
    Brad M. Castle Rock, CO 08-27-12 Member Since 2014

    Brad M.

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    "Magnificant"
    What did you love best about Cryptonomicon?

    The story-telling is engrossing, drawing the reader in bit-by-bit as the story unfolds. The combination of witty humor and detailed technical description will cause more than a few moments of inappropriate laughter and plenty of Google searches.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cryptonomicon?

    There are quite a few memorable moments, but the one for me is [SPOILER] the scene during the raid on the Ordo offices where Tombstone is held, seeing the combination gun toting anti-Government Intrusion Secret Admirers as well as nerds using an EMP cannon to confuse and screw with the police.[/SPOILER]


    What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    William Dufris brings the story to life. Not only pronouncing some of the more difficult completely made up languages, he gives each character life. It's less of a narration and more of a one-man radio play, complete with a great Douglas MacArthur voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wasn't able to completely finish the book until a week long road trip where I could enjoy 8-10 hours of it at a time. It is a long, long book and very technical so it does require attention to be paid.


    Any additional comments?

    Read it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-07-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worse than Stephen King"
    What would have made Cryptonomicon better?

    Well, lets just say that i dont know of anything that could have made this book better. Less needless description maybe.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Neal Stephenson again?

    absolutely not


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    the performance was decent. different voices, different personalities, etc. He just read a bad book.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    morbid depression and confusion


    Any additional comments?

    This is my first review and i have been a member for about 6 months, with many purchases. I wanted to find another genre to get into. I enjoy The Remaining, Monster hunters international, Mountain Man, things like that. This book spent 25 minutes describing...in slow, agonizing detail... the math that figured out how far a bike will go if it has one bent gear tooth and one bad link in the chain... Painful. 15 minutes telling the history of a womans' outfit and the reason that her people think color of any kind is sinful. And she didnt even have any part in the story.....Painful. If you like to listen someone read things like "the letter read q, t, l. s, t, l ,k, a, p, e, s, n, x, but i figured out that l = e. So now it read, q, t, E, s, t, E, k," etc., then you might enjoy this book. Its like Stephen King meets fictional, jumbled history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniaell 06-15-15
    Daniaell 06-15-15 Member Since 2016

    Runs with scissors.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Smart, Funny, great story"

    Love Neal Stephenson his humor is so spot on and the flow of this book is excellent. And William Dufris completely rocked the narration. A perfect reading as far as I'm concerned. The best metaphor in fiction: the manual override. Well done.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Invisibled California 05-14-14
    Invisibled California 05-14-14 Member Since 2017
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    "The Audiobook that Sets the Standard in Many Ways"
    What made the experience of listening to Cryptonomicon the most enjoyable?

    First, two words: William Dufris. Home-dude is a vocal genius. Every character, Every. Single. Character. is acted to a masterpiece. In fact, his vocalizations are so well done that he probably could have dropped quote attribution (E.G.: Randy said) and I wouldn't have suffered in the least.

    Second, two more words: Neal Stephenson. I love Stephenson's work, but this is his best piece. I by no means dislike any of his other books - I love them - but this is Magnum Opus. It's the most literary of all his work, the plot grapevines through about 50 years of time and all of the characters are interrelated. I don't understand why this isn't required reading in high schools.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it exists. And that I can read it.


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    Also, that it exists. And he performed it. And I can listen to it. Someone should invent the audiobook Grammy's, just to give him one. Seriously, they'd only need one show that lasts 15 minutes to give Dufris his AB Grammy, drop the mic and walk home.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It's a combination of moments. The evolution and progression of the characters and plot in general. Stephenson's depiction and Dufris' performance of General MacArthur is eff'ing hillarious.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-11-13
    Robert Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-11-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Rollicking Hilarious War Story..."

    clocking in at just over 40 hours. You certainly get your money's worth of quality sometimes majestic story telling. Sgt. Bobby Shaftoe is an American cryptanalyst. His orders are under no circumstances to place himself under possibility of capture. Skipping two generations, Randy Price Waterhouse is a 1990s cryptanalyst working on the cutting edge of cyber-law, and is in love with America Shaftoe, Bobby's granddaughter. Goto Dengo is a Nipanese Officer and Engineer, and Rudy von Hacklheber is a mathematician and cryptographer who befriends Waterhouse and Turing as they explore and develop early computing and crypt analysis. Gunter Bischoff is a U-Boat commander, and Glory Altamira is the mother of Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe. Brilliantly narrated by William Dufris. This novel along with Stephenson's The Diamond Age are two of the most impressive novels I've listened to in the scale of Lem and Dick. However, his Snow Crash is something I just didn't cotton onto.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Devon Lynnwood, WA, United States 11-19-10
    Devon Lynnwood, WA, United States 11-19-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Great book!!"

    I really enjoyed this book. I laughed on how 2/3 of the way through the book, I still wasn't entirely clear on the plot. Normally this would bug me, but it was so well written that I just enjoyed the ride to see where it was headed.

    I also have to say, the narrator was very good. Hard to beet.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Statesville, NC, USA 02-04-10
    David Statesville, NC, USA 02-04-10
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    "So Slow To Get Going"

    As a 30 hour per week traveler and over 12 years on Audible.com, I seldom write a negative or neutral review. However, I felt compelled to advise my fellow listeners about this title.

    The book is sooooo slow to pick up speed and I am talking 10 to 15 hours here to pick up speed.

    Even then, it rambles on. It sounds like it is about to get interesting only to shift gears once again.

    It is a novel about interesting issues that span the course of generations of family members. It starts in World War 2 (about 1941 or 1942) and comes close to present day times.

    It contains many interesting tidbits if you have a strong math/technology background.

    Trying to seperate the generations of family is a bit difficult as the names and functions are so similar.

    If you want a really long book where the engagement and excitement is spaced long enough for you to calculate your tax return in your head without missing a beat, then this is for you.

    It has it's high spots but I can not recommend it to the listener that wants a fast paced, exciting, easy to follow read.

    42 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Azle, Texas 08-15-12
    Sam Azle, Texas 08-15-12 Member Since 2009

    Gardening Geek/Fishing Freak/CADninja

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Craptocrudicon you outta your credits"

    After listening to Snow Crash I thought I was ready for some more Stephenson. Boy was I wrong.

    This book had me wanting to claw my eardrums out. I only finished it so that I could write a review with a clear conscience. I fully sympathize with those who could not push through like Bobby Shaftoe through an enemy line.

    There are brief entertaining moments, corns in the turd if you will. Particularly the WWII segments involving Goto Dengo. But these are followed by mind numbingly boring overly descriptive droning about things normal humans don't care about.

    Long sections of this book are like sitting in The Dentist's chair having your molars removed while attorneys stand around explaining to you in legal jargon how The Dentist is suing you for breach of contract because your teeth didn't pop out as easily as expected.

    I suspect that I am simply not smart enough to "get" this tome. Too many characters to keep up with in two different time lines. Too much obscure math that I don't understand, and don't want or need to understand, and I'm an electrical designer.

    I have Anathem sitting on a bookshelf at home, staring at me, mocking me. It just may end up in a used book store.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob lewisville, NC, United States 12-29-09
    Bob lewisville, NC, United States 12-29-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Jaw dropping incredible"

    Certainly the best book I have ever downloaded from Audible and perhaps the best book i have read this millennium.

    18 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Kletch Indianapolis, IN USA 04-26-17
    Mike Kletch Indianapolis, IN USA 04-26-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Quirky, geeky, hilarious, detailed...enthralling"

    A very dense, non-linear story with multiple threads spanning a seven-decade period. It can be technical in spots, but in others the dialogue carries you along like the snappy walk-and-talk from West Wing. Stephenson has a very distinctive style, which seems to elicit discrete love/hate reactions. If you like that sort of thing, you'll love this book.

    The performance by Dufris is just wonderful. You can hear every character - even minor, passing "extras" - in a district way. I plan to look for other stories narrated by him.

    There were a few technical glitches with the file; skips and bleeps that seemed like compression artifacts or file errors. But these were few.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    Chinnor, United Kingdom
    5/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "5 stars all the way..."

    Wow! I enjoyed this so much. As anyone who has researched the book at all will have gleaned (with a view to possibly reading it) it is long, and hugely detailed in places it doesn't really need to be. For me the side roads and avenues it explores throughout really added so much to the whole experience. If you want a book to stay on target and not beat around the bush - you possibly will not enjoy this.

    William Dufris does a fantastic job of narration. He brings characters to life and absolutely captures intonation and tone brilliantly. I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed reading it myself - Dufris adds to the experience immensely. There is a lot of humour in it - and I laughed out loud many times.

    Now that it's finished I am somewhat bereft. I enjoyed this substantially more than some other Stephenson work (e.g. Baroque Cycle - although I've only ventured as far as book 1).

    Highly recommended!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas Glazebrook
    3/4/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ended abruptly"

    Going into so much detail, suprised it ended so abruptly. Still, very interesting & enjoyable.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Print Traveller
    1/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Work of art"

    This is a really great book. Sure some of it is a bit long and arty but it has covered all bases and I guess that was the one I didn't like. This book has its tough and gentle characters. Funny detailed complicated and depressing moments mixed in together. Well worth a listen if you have 42 hours to spare

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Peter Thomas McNeely
    12/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "reading big words"

    Neal Stephenson has done amazingly, no complaints there.

    William Dufris, despite his many excellent talents, doesn't know how to pronounce a lot of words. This seems like a prerequisite for an audiobook. Words from any foreign language or even many words over 3 syllables just got butchered, like he had never said them out loud before.

    Please publishing companies: give your performers a pronunciation guide for all the rare, foreign, made up, or difficult words!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Wirral, United Kingdom
    10/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ambles along too much"

    I am a little confused by this book. It seemed to amble along and assume the reader knows what direction it is going to take. Nothing became clear or apparent until the last 3 hours of the book. The first 30 hours just seemed to be the character aimlessly flitting about the world. By the end it all seemed pointless and lost.

    There was something about the way the book was written which didn't feel right, the best way I can describe it is that it felt like the book was written by The Comic Book Store Owner from The Simpsons. There always seemed to be that element of geeky sarcasm. The way in which it was narrated was the same.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • daniel
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    8/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it!"

    A marathon listen....this is a Very long tale.from the start it grabbed me and never let go,great characters woven between WW2 and the near present day.as others have said it tends to ramble at times,but in my opinion this adds to its appeal.Some parts are very math based but don't let that put you off,I'm a numerical dunce and still loved it.The narration is superb,witty,dry and brilliantly done.if you're looking for something out of the ordinary that will entertain you for all its nearly 43 hour length give this a go...you won't regret it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. James OCallaghan
    Ireland
    6/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    Odd story. Seems disparate to begin with but folds together perfectly at the end. Ending was a little rushed but otherwise perfect.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin
    STOKE ON TRENT, United Kingdom
    10/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "nerdy and dull"

    I am a nerd - I like IT and I like Crypto but I am so bored with this book. It just rambles on and on and on. I stop listening to it for a couple of weeks then try again and it seems to be just the same on and on.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Robert Jenkins
    8/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very very good"
    What did you like most about Cryptonomicon?

    Terrific! Reminds me of the world according to garp in the rambling story that focuses on the personal interaction and the small stuff whilst the big stuff is going on the background. I'm late to this author but will be catching up quickly.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Celia
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    7/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tied my mind in knots trying to keep track"

    I am not a stranger to Neal Stephenson and enjoy the off-the-wall way he looks at technology. His ability to turn events that appear normal into Sci-fi or mystery is uncanny. But this book ... whew ... I could not keep up with the characters and the story line. I realised early on that we were switching between the 1940's and 1990's, but this realisation did not clarify any of the events for me. I enjoyed his explanations of technology. I like the twists he puts into his explanations. But in between these explanations, I could not work out "who was who".

    I also found that his male protagonists are quite mysogonistic. As the events unfolded, I found myself questioning why the women introduced into the story were one-dimensional, predictable, and seemingly only there for sex. It became more and more irritating, until after about 35 hours of listening, I abandoned the book.

    I hate abandoning books, particularly Neal Stephenson, because I know somewhere in the last 7 hours 53 minutes there would have been a mind-numbing, incredibly unusual take on technology or science. I can't tell you what it is, because his sexist approach to women, and the confusing story, made we want to take a rest. Which I did.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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