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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 (5679 )
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  •  
    Anthony Tran Plymouth, MI United States 06-16-17
    Anthony Tran Plymouth, MI United States 06-16-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "finally finished it."

    I've had this book on my shelf for years now. I must have started it 5 times with out finishing it. such a huge story that weaves back and forth through time. so many in-depth explainations on tech both old and new. finally weaving it self together in the end. I was Abit lost in the middle of the book when. the number of characters a d storylines became so wide I could not figure out who or what. but then everything began to come back and the connections were made that tied them all together. it's a monster of a read. well worth the time spent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-30-17
    05-30-17
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    "Great geeky fun"

    If you ever wrote something in secret code, read this book or listen to it. Fantastic story, plus lessons in science, math, and cryptography, but all in a fun way

    1 of 1 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
  •  
    Lorinda Forrest 04-21-17 Member Since 2015

    RedwoodQueen

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    "Outstanding!"

    One of Neal Stephenson's best. I love the continued story of the Shafto and Waterhouse clans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron C. Schuster 03-31-17
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    "riveting"

    I was hesitant to try this book as it is not my usual genre, however I figured I would give it a try since I have enjoyed other books by Neal. turns out it was a great choice. this book was riveting throughout and performed by a truly great narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Sandia Park, New Mexico, United States 03-28-17
    Michael Sandia Park, New Mexico, United States 03-28-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent narration!"

    Story slowly works its way through a virtual history of war and intrigue. I enjoyed it all the way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sfengineer 03-01-17
    sfengineer 03-01-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Awesome Book"

    Love this book. And the narration is perfect. WW2 action, computer hacking, the hunt for treasure. Name it and you've got it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Elstein PA, USA 02-14-17
    Andy Elstein PA, USA 02-14-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Highly recommended "

    This is one of my all-time favorite books. The level of detail that Stephenson goes into, is I'm sure, too much for some, but certainly not me! The quality of the writing, story and the performance are all top notch.
    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Parent 01-16-17
    Jeff Parent 01-16-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great if you majored in math or have a computer science background."

    I enjoyed this book a lot, but I also majored in math and know what a Riemann Zeta function is. A background in computer science and a knowledge of cryptography helps as well. I'm sure you can enjoy this book without knowing this stuff, there are just a lot of references with these you'll miss and you might find some of the content tedious. My mom gave up on the book.

    The book takes place in two time periods: WWII and the 1999s. It gives the reader an enjoyable history lesson laced with humor and sarcasm, for example: "Patton had the bad taste to capture Messina before Montgomery, who had been planning to be there first". .

    The book is not a casual read and ion the end I went back and reread much of it to really appreciate and grasp what was going on.

    The book was performed well. The reader did a great job with a huge variety of characters and accents. Overall, I was happy I made the effort to go through the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Gripping with a great Narrator"
    What did you love best about Cryptonomicon?

    The story really covers a lot of ground, and while it's not something to enter into lightly, it engages you and just packs on layer after layer, and you find yourself getting more interested as time goes on.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's hard to pick a favorite character, but I'm very interested in Enoch Root. He's intentionally an enigma, but that just adds to the mystery. But Goto Dengo is equally interesting, stretching through time as he does.


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    He keeps his voice buoyant, which keeps his cadence from becoming tiresome and at the same time doesn't cause him to sound moronic.


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

    Oh, God no. That would be improbable. It's almost 2 days long.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Saul
    London, United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Deep and technical, but accessible."

    Underneath all the cryptography and tech, Cryptonomicon has a great story with well rounded, modern characters. The original novel features graphs and diagrams to explain pretty technical topics like frequency counting and van eck phreaking, but you don't notice them missing in this audio book, as the narrator carries you along with the in depth descriptions while progressing the narrative.



    It's ensemble cast, split across two timeframes, provide plenty of variety, the occasional laugh, and lots of relatable geeks. It's a very long book, but it never drags. Once it's over, you want to find out what the characters are up to.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • M. Dawes
    Birmingham UK
    9/2/11
    Overall
    "Just genius"

    Like a piece of cryptography, patterns and associations begin to emerge the more you delve into this story. About two thirds of the way in, the disparate strands of the timelines and characters begin to come together in the most riveting way.

    Worth 40 hours of your life? - Absolutely.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    EdinburghUnited Kingdom
    2/7/10
    Overall
    "A milestone in fiction"

    Where to start...who but Neal Stephenson could write a book so epic in scope, seamlessly weaving a tale from the hayday of computing, WW2 wartime espionage and contemporary eCommerce underpinned by the fascinating field of cryptography. To call the book gripping is like describing the South Pole as "a bit nippy" Superlatives are rarely merited. In this case they are.

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Philip
    Piacenza, Italy
    6/20/10
    Overall
    "Great book"

    I really enjoyed Cryptonomicon. It's a dense story which requires the reader to involve themselves in a bit of brain work. Suprisingly, for an author who has a reputation as a cyberpunk I found the narrative of this book reminded me of authors such as Ken Kesey and predictably Joseph Heller. For some reason it reminded me alot of Kesey's 1992 book Sailor Song, which is hardly a bad thing.
    Only down point; about half way through Neal starts recounting a letter a character is writing for Playboy, which goes on wayyyy too long. Stephenson obviously enjoyed writing that part too much.
    Heartily recommended.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • J Sinner
    Brussels, Belgium
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Excellent capture of the book"

    I first Cryptonomicon around 10 years ago, and find myself rereading it every couple of years. Part WW2 spy thriller, part modern day geek drama, part introduction to basic cryptography, it is all brain candy.



    On my last reread, I tried this audiobook version, and was extremely happy with how it captured both the tone and the charcters of the book.



    William Dufris tone and consistent delivery manage to capture the underlying humour and bring life to Neal Stephenson's baroque prose. He manages to evoke the different settings and characters through subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) use of accents



    I definitely recommend this.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    West Wickham, United Kingdom
    10/14/10
    Overall
    "wonderful if very long book"

    This is a superb book which I enjoyed listening too very much but it is not without flaws and peculiarities.

    To start with it is arguable that it is unnecessarily long. One or two reviewers on Amazon have suggested that the author could have done with a good editor, and there is some truth in that; in some places the detail is mind-boggling and quite difficult to follow, particularly in an audiobook. However, I confess that I liked the detail - it must appeal to the inner nerd in me I think - and I do like books that explore the byways of history away from the main road, as it were. And the storyline is satisfyingly complicated and hooks you in gradually; do stick at it as it improves a lot after the first section.

    Narration is excellent - indeed it makes the book. I do like William Dufris' style, amused and kinda laid-back, and he brings the book brilliantly to life, and his characterisations are perfect.

    Not everyone's cup of tea, I'm sure, but five stars for me.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Putney, United Kingdom
    4/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Needlessly long and geeky"
    What did you like best about Cryptonomicon? What did you like least?

    The length was the worst bit. It was gratuitous. I like long books, deliberately seek them out, but this was pointlessly long. There was SO much that was unneeded.
    Also the link up between the younger generation retreading the older generations' footsteps wasn't played out in the story. They should've made more of the fact they were hanging around with the same people their grandparents were, in the same countries.

    I like the war stuff the most. Rudy, Laurence and Arthur.

    The narration was immense. Very good. Only a couple of times did it slip, where I wasn't instantly sure who was talking.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cryptonomicon?

    The scene when Randy was doing a memo to his team. I HATED it. It was pure drivel and I had to skip the chapter. By this point I was tearing my hair out with the book, just wanted it to end. I had spent over 30 hrs on it, so wasn't going to give up but I so wanted to. This send was almost the tipping point.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The last few scenes with Laurence were good, the one when last complex code gets programmed was particularly pleasing.


    Did Cryptonomicon inspire you to do anything?

    Steer clear of Neal Stephenson.


    Any additional comments?

    The complexity of the story was mind blowing. Hats off to the author for putting it together.... BUT there was no need. It could have been half the size (it is LONG) and it would have been twice as enjoyable. There were whole chapters I had to skip as the drivel was mind numbing.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    United Kingdom
    2/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning"
    What did you like most about Cryptonomicon?

    The narrator, William Dufris. This book was amazing in itself, but Kramer really did a number on this. I can easily imagine myself not having enjoyed the book as much were it not for being able to hear his performance.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Waterhouse, the socially inept little nerd, loved him right from the start, and it wasn't long before I grew to enjoy every single section featuring sergeant Shaftoe as well.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The fog horn mounted on 'there but for the grace of god'


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. M. Bleck
    sharpy
    12/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mixed emotions"

    This was no doubt about it, a really good book. But it is way too long and frequently boring as hell. Trying to piece together parts from one end of the story to another can be like playing sodoku by memory. But seen as a series of smaller events that are all in their own right very good, which work together to create one whole tapestry, yes, it works and it works well. But by heck its a lot of work.

    When a chap in the story observes a spiders web and sees how the spider can react to different things, not because of the movement but because of the lack of certain movement, you should by that point know whether the book is for you or not. I loved this concept and all the concepts that tied in with it - and then their real world application and how they created a series of events that eventually became what they do.

    However, these concepts draw together like a diagram of the final fastest and shortest era on Earth (according to the Aztecs) as this era is cast off, but then never takes us anywhere. There is no realisation to this story. Its just launch pad of concepts. Unlike many a book though, I wouldn't take back the time I spent on it (and its a lot!) because it has helped with mature and put form to many of my own ideas.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nik Hewitt
    Derbyshire, UK
    4/12/13
    Overall
    "Outstanding Translation of a Classic"

    I'd already read Cryptonomicon, a couple of times, prior to listening to it. I couldn't have been more pleased. Dufris captures the essence of this weighty journey admirably, and his intonation and studied understanding comes across with real heartfelt sympathy for the motley collection of characters and rich locations both historical and contemporary. I couldn't have been happier at the treatment of what I believe to be Stephenson's finest book.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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