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Enigma Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
It's February, 1943 and Tom Jericho, a brilliant young Cambridge mathematician and protégé of Alan Turing, has already suffered one nervous breakdown under the pressure of working to break secret Nazi codes. Now he's summoned back to Bletchley Park because the U-boat code, known as Shark, which was previously decrypted due to an epiphany of his, has suddenly been changed just as an enormous supply convoy from America is setting out for Britain. Despite his delicate mental state, it's felt that he'll be valuable just for his totemic value and to reassure the higher-ups that all the best men are working on the problem.
Complicating matters is the disappearance of Jericho's ex-girlfriend, Claire Romilly, who it appears may have tipped off the Germans that their codes had been cracked. At any rate, some must have betrayed this vital secret, and, even as the supply convoy sails towards one of the biggest U-boat wolfpacks ever assembled, Jericho sets out to discover who the traitor is and where Claire has disappeared too.
The author too manages a difficult feat as he balances the mystery plot with healthy dollops of WWII history and cryptographic technique.Read more ›
It completely ignores the enormous contributions made by the Poles (who gave the English two Enigma machines at the beginning of the war) as well as the heroic deeds of Tommy Brown (youngest George Medal winner at 16, survived with code materials taken from a sinking German ship), but I have found no better novel to communicate the absolute goose-bump emotional roller-coaster that the Bletchley Park gang experienced.
If anything, this novel convey a human side to code-breaking that offsets the modern-day obsession with massive computers.
The book has been very carefully researched and accurately conveys the bleakness and weaknesses of war-weary Britain in the early 1940s. We are led into the strange and taunt world of Bletchley Park, the WWII center of British cryptographic efforts to crack the various versions of the German Enigma code. Historical fact and personalities (such enigmatic genius Alan Turin) are convincingly interwoven with a multi-leveled story of espionage and betrayal. The writing is excellent; a beautifully told story.
Towards the end of the book there is a quotation from the mathematician G. H. Hardy, "a mathematical proof, like a chess problem, to be aesthetically satisfying, must possess three qualities: inevitability, unexpectedness and economy." What is true of mathematical proofs and chess solutions is also true of good thrillers. Harris has provided us with a brilliantly different espionage book where unexpectedness is present to the final page, and a graceful economy of writing that creates a smooth and enjoyable read. Unlike many books, this is one that I will be rereading next year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first 3/4 of Enigma is a good, taut novel set in Bletchley Park during World War II. The depiction of the deciphering process, and of the lives of the people there and in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Donald A. Coffin
Enjoyed the book, but found there were many unbelievable amd rather far fetched epicodes.Published 4 months ago by Mr W R George
Harris' works are always pleasurable reading. Great take on a story that is now, because of the film "The Imitation Game", much better known than it used to be.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
You can look back into history, and see the 'why', in correlation to actual events. Unpredictable!Published 7 months ago by JOHN J DEMETRIUS
Take time to understand and get familiar with the coding and decoding jargon. The book starts slowly and it is only when you have reached half of the book that the thrill takes... Read morePublished 8 months ago by J F Gautrin
This fine novel truly brings to life the challenges that the British codebreakers faced, as they tried to crack the German Enigma code. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Roger J. Buffington