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Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods--World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, cryptanalyst extraordinaire, and gung ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They're part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit's strange workings to Waterhouse. "When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first.... Of course, to observe is not its real duty--we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed.... Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious."
All of this secrecy resonates in the present-day story line, in which the grandchildren of the WWII heroes--inimitable programming geek Randy Waterhouse and the lovely and powerful Amy Shaftoe--team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. To top off the paranoiac tone of the book, the mysterious Enoch Root, key member of Detachment 2702 and the Societas Eruditorum, pops up with an unbreakable encryption scheme left over from WWII to befuddle the 1990s protagonists with conspiratorial ties.
Cryptonomicon is vintage Stephenson from start to finish: short on plot, but long on detail so precise it's exhausting. Every page has a math problem, a quotable in-joke, an amazing idea, or a bit of sharp prose. Cryptonomicon is also packed with truly weird characters, funky tech, and crypto--all the crypto you'll ever need, in fact, not to mention all the computer jargon of the moment. A word to the wise: if you read this book in one sitting, you may die of information overload (and starvation). --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I have been heavily involved in computing, security, and wireless networking since the 1970s. I have read many techno-thriller books and Cryptonomicon is the best of them all. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
The book is a masterpiece. My biggest issue is that I ordered a hard covered edition expecting larger print. What I got was a paperback with hard covers.Feel ripped off.Published 2 days ago by Gene Swan
Every smart person that I have met, and especially super-smart-genius people, have had Neal Stephenson on their book shelves, and have talked about his books at length. Read morePublished 3 days ago by J. Leinen
At first I didn't care for the characters, and was getting bored slogging through the chapters. Stick with it. Read morePublished 5 days ago by SEAdams
This book is a history lesson, mathematics textbook, philosophical dissertation, and novel all interwoven. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Peter Beacom
Cryptonomicon is like an onion, or an ogre…full of layers.
There are multiple story lines taking place over the course of two separate time periods. Read more
This book was recommended to me so I purchased and read it.
The main issue with this book is that it has almost no plot. Read more
I love both cryptography and WWII history. This book combines both in a suspenseful thriller. It moves back and forth between the past and present, with the descendants from the... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Stephen F. Johnson
Great read that matched several my divergent interests. The ending was rushed and left many loose ends. Would have appreciated the depth of the rest of the book. Read morePublished 9 days ago by tracy bair