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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.
Make certain you have a dictionary nearby. I have a reasonable vocab but constantly looking up words I've never even seen before. Using Kindle made it simple. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Buddy
I will not attempt to summarize this book, it wouldn't be accurate to do so. Simply read the book, it is fantastic.Published 10 days ago by Stanley C. Pate
What a great read! Nice change from the "serialized" stories that seem to be the norm nowadays in sci-fi. If I were to be critical it did end rather abruptly.Published 10 days ago by jeffrey J Carter
Neal Stephenson is one of the top authors of our generation. Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle are some of the best books I've read in the last 20 years.Published 15 days ago by Robert L. Witherspoon
I'm an avid reader, this is my number one favorite book. I've probably read it 3 times nowPublished 20 days ago by tazochai
beefy and gnarly and also very funny in parts. Great read. I hope this starts a series.Published 23 days ago by Michael Jacobs
Bored out of my mind. No plot, no character development, 500 pages too long... I loved Snow Crash but this is tripePublished 27 days ago by Mik
This book blends a discussion of history, cryptography, and computer networks with plenty of humor and action. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Christopher C. Davis