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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 (5389 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joni 06-27-16
    Joni 06-27-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "way too long"

    would work with half the length. many of the longest scenes are quite detached from actual story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-20-16 Member Since 2016

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Two thirds through and quit"

    Neal Stephenson books are always highly rated on Audible, but man, this guy just doesn't do it for me. Cryptonomicon jumps around in it's narration for no discernible reason. If you're not listening to it all in one sitting, you're not going to follow the multiple story lines.

    But it really doesn't matter because all the story lines are boring anyway. I mean, a couple of them start strong, but boy do they get stale fast.

    Two thirds through the book and I barely care about any of the characters. I'm a bit confused as to what's going on in a couple of the plot lines, and too bored by the book to go back and re-listen.

    This is the third Stephenson book that made me feel this way. I'm done. And I'm not going to punish myself by sitting through the rest of this plodding nonsense.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Yates 06-03-16
    S. Yates 06-03-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You'll love it or hate it"
    Where does Cryptonomicon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Likely in my top 15 (I listen to about 100 books a year, so that is saying something).


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cryptonomicon?

    Too many to count. Any number of vignette's made me laugh out loud. But my favorite part might have been a certain marriage proposal.


    Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favorite?

    Bobby Shaftoe - at first I found him annoying, but he really grew on me.


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

    Considering it is 43 hours long, no.


    Any additional comments?

    I come away from this novel simultaneously loving it and realizing that others might hate it (and not truly thinking either party is wrong). Stephenson can sometimes be an acquired taste. This book meanders and wanders, strays and entertains tangents, twists and turns through numerous characters and events, jumping from WWII to the late 90s and back multiple times. The stories are rife with asides, sly jokes, word play, and abundant fact mixed in with the fiction. I found myself online more than once to sift the historical actualities from Stephenson's imaginative story, and I found myself utterly captivated. The book frequently forced sharp laughs from me and was incredibly clever. But for those who don't share the same sense of humor, or who like a little more directness and a little less wordplay and sightseeing, this book may miss the mark. That said, if looking for a quirky take on cryptography, WWII, Alan Turing, Axis power gold, prevention of future genocides, geekdom, adventure on the high seas, cannibals, and just a hint of romance, this might be the (incredibly long) book for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Garry D. Leonard 06-02-16 Member Since 2016
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    "great book with time jumps that can be jarring"

    really good book. the overall story is good. Alot of the villains are poorly set up and are thus not very meaningful. it's more about the journey and it's a good one. in audio format there are these time jumps that don't play well, and at first it can be confusing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Russell 05-21-16 Member Since 2014
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    "A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME"

    Except for a few chapters, the story is just page after page of the author's written indulgence. Too many words with too little impact. Like the author, the narrator worked very hard, but his voices were usually over the top and often irritating. Ok, they earned my $14.95 . . . But I would like my 42hrs back!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billy SEATTLE, WA United States 05-03-16
    Billy SEATTLE, WA United States 05-03-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting, but it ultimately goes nowhere."

    While I enjoyed many aspects of this book, including the characters and different time periods used, it was overall a letdown as the story just peters out and doesn't really leave me satisfied.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Classics Rock Washington, D.C. 03-31-16
    Classics Rock Washington, D.C. 03-31-16 Member Since 2011
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    "A big investment"

    I read the book on the recommendation of an IT friend thinking that it would be more about cyber. They did talk quite a bit about cyber and although I found those portions to be interesting, they were a little disjointed and really seemed more to be an excuse to talk about sex and masturbation. A popular topic, to be sure, but not really important to the story. After I'd finished, my first thought was about the 40+ hours I'd spent listening to it and how many other books I could've listened to during that time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book fan 02-14-16
    Book fan 02-14-16

    book fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book - chapters STILL in wrong order."

    While the book is quite good, Audible has still not fixed the out of order chapters people have noted before. Selling defective books is really not acceptable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 01-04-16
    Tim 01-04-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved the book, but not the reader's Japanese"
    Did William Dufris do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I think he was doing a fine job until he got to the Japanese. Here he totally butchered all of the names. It is one thing if they were filtered through the American characters ability, or lack thereof, to pronounce Japanese, but when during Goto Dengo’s storyline Ninomiya became Ninomaya I turned off the book. I’m not looking for perfection, but that was just horrible. I eventually went back to listening because I really wanted to know the rest of the story, becuase I really, really loved this book, and didn’t have the printed book at hand.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ken22 06-24-15
    ken22 06-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fun,educational and relevant"

    Full of dynamic characters and historical fact. Excellent humor and pragmatism. Bobby Shafto is my hero. The reading is done masterfully.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Garethman
    7/10/11
    Overall
    "There is a good book somewhere"

    I really tried hard with this book. I listened to it for about 6 hours before I gave up. There is a good story in here somewhere, but the narrative is plagued with pointless epic similes that add little to the enjoyment and deviations leaving the listener wondering where they are in the tale. I wonder if the author was paid by the word count?

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Wras
    Kildonan
    4/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The many levels of understanding and deception"

    War is not just about bullets but concealment and secrecy, we are living proof of this reality, the the war on terror is fought in the networks and in communications and messages, in lies and half truth. This book works within all this elements but begins at beginnings of the second world war exposing what effect cryptography, Allied Codebreakers and tactical-deception had on the european and pacific fronts, and how those ideas changed our world. We are introduced two to sets of characters one set in WWII and the others in in the late 1990s this group is related through blood to the first ones and share some the interest of their relatives in cryptography and communications. We are exposed to history at its most brutal, and intelligent, some truly funny episodes and dialog mixed with high adventure, mathematics, ideas, philosophy, programing, geeks, super geeks, dentists, soldiers, submarines and lawyers. There are plots, subplots, ramblings and thoughts expounded in all seriousness and some just taking the piss.
    This is more than a book it is an experience. A work madness and genius; madness because of its reach genius because of it erudition and entertainment value.
    The reader manages to create voices for all the characters and move through the book with amazing ease. .

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Chobb
    5/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like a slow march to an unremarkable death..."

    Recommended to me by a programmer friend on the autism spectrum, I can see why he enjoyed it and I didn't. It's a slog and the reward is minimal. Certainly interesting at points and undoubtably well written but if I could have the time back, I would in a heartbeat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M
    3/6/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen"
    What did you like most about Cryptonomicon?

    I liked the technical detail and the way different story lines came together.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Waterhouse


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    It fitted the story.


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

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    Good read mixing real history with invented events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James
    2/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Review"

    Much like a train, it starts off slowly, then builds up a head of steam till it's fairly rattling along

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • CyberC
    Tadley, United Kingdom
    12/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning jouney from 1942 to the Web"
    What did you like most about Cryptonomicon?

    Educational and stunning story interlaced from 1942 to the present day.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nicely integrates the story with a cameo of Alan Turing and Bletchley park


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

    I would have listened to this in one sitting but it is a very long book (42hrs 53 mins) so that isn't really practical. But the book is compelling and wanted to listen again and again as soon as possible.


    Any additional comments?

    Get it Now...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patrick
    High Wycombe, United Kingdom
    7/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oh so nearly fantastic."

    If you had asked me to review the first thirty something hours of Cryptonomicon then it would have received four, maybe even five stars and I would, mostly, have been singing its praises. There are a few segments in those hours that didn't quite come up to scratch and I wanted to press the fast forward button (except you might miss a completely different section if one did as the story does jump around a bit).

    The plot is varied, and yes there is jargon, and other elements, there that may not please all, but the story draws one in fantastically and I found myself anticipating a fabulous ending.

    So I was ever so disappointed by the last few hours, and the ending. It felt as if the story completely fizzled out. In fact I might almost wondered if the final few hours of the book were written by the same person. Gone was the intrigue that I had felt and now I wanted to press the fast forward button in the hope that we would get back to the same level of intrigue. Patience prevailed and I refrained from skipping forward. I wish I hadn't bothered. This will not be an audiobook that I will bother listening to again.

    William Dufris' narration, on the other hand was fantastic throughout - definitely a narrator to be listening out for!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    United Kingdom
    6/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Phew!"

    What a book!
    Intricate story, great characters and fast paced. So interwoven with documented events of the past that you wonder where fact ends and fiction begins. This story was so captivating I even ended up doing research to understand historical details to see how well they fitted in.
    This is a long listen and worth every second.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    Whitstable, United Kingdom
    6/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Treasure Island updated"

    Cleverly weaving together action from WW2 and the present day with humour, visceral war images maths and cryptology ( yes a bit over my head but not essential to understand) he tells a terrific tale that keeps you listening through 42 hours

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Winchester, United Kingdom
    4/10/13
    Overall
    "Nerd Nirvana"

    I'm helplessly in love with this book in dead tree form, and it's no different in audiobook form.



    The narrative jumps between a Marine Raider and a codebreaker in World War Two, and a computer hacker descendant in the present time. This is an precursor to the much more ambitious Baroque Cycle in many ways, and shares lots of the same themes (and surnames) with that: currency as an abstract concept, computers, codes, war, information theory, maths.



    It also shares the usual Stephensonian tropes: lengthy (but fascinating) digressions, snarky, dialogue, a plot somewhat less important than the prose, digs at the soft sciences, and sumptuous period detail.



    It also finally tells you what that scroll lock light on your keyboard is useful for.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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