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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
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Critic Reviews



Locus Award, Best Novel, 2000
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Rob J. on 04-16-17

Fixed!

Any technical issues reported in previous reviews (missing or out of order chapters) have been fixed. I experienced no problems and double checked the whole time w the book on hand chapter by chapter.

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64 of 65 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Steven L on 04-03-10

Good Book But Missing Something

This is a great book and the unabridged audio version is a welcome addition to my library. However, having read the book several times, the audio version has at least one technical issue - there is about a chapter and a half of the story missing in part 5 at the beginning of chapter two. In the print version this is all of "Deluge" and part of "Captivity". Maybe it will show up later, that's happened before in other audio books.

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188 of 198 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 08-06-14

Probably the best way to tackle this behemoth!

Having read Stephenson's Quicksilver over a couple of months and having tried to get going on Anathem (currently put to one side, but that's partly because it's a hard copy brick) I thought this would be a good medium for Stephenson's brilliant but voluminous style. Boy was I right! I typically listen to audiobooks for about 2 hours a day (commuting) but sometimes a little more when I travel for work. This must have taken me over a month, but I really enjoyed it and was quite sad when it was all over.

In a way it doesn't feel like one immensely long opus, because there are actually 2-3 different narrative strands being brought together here, each of which has its own eddies and diversions. Stephenson loves to fit in some (sometimes gratuitous) mathematical and scientific digressions, which I personally enjoy, but I imagine could be a bit tiresome if you're really just looking for character and plot.

Fundamentally, this is a tale of the interaction of mathematics with the material world and of the impact that this apparently theoretical discipline can and does have on the world in which we live. There's quite a bit of philosophy and history thrown in too. Stephenson always writes with the assumption that his readers are as curious about everything as he himself is and seems to be at his best when exploring the hows and whys. His characters are vehicles for this and work perfectly well, if they're a little flat at times, this rarely feels like it really matters.

William Dufris's reading really brings the whole thing to life and simply being able to sit back and absorb the story, rather than wading through a punishing 1000-odd pages of novel is a much more manageable way to enjoy this book. For me, anyway.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr. J on 10-24-16

Geek heaven

Shifting seamlessly through history and technological exposition I was hooked.

Straight on to more from this author for me.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sean Beckman on 04-29-16

Top rate performance of a cult classic novel

I never read it so this was my first exposure to the material. Very enjoyable. The actor had a good range of voices for the characters. I was never confused who was talking, even between Rudy of Bishov. Also the narrators voice changed when he was talking about WWII events or present day events. I found this really helpful but so subtle. I only noticed after about half the book. Top notch whosever idea that was.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Alison Zahra on 02-08-16

Epic historical and technical tale spanning decade

Very detailed with a number of story lines to keep track of, and quite technical.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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