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Cryptonomicon

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Cryptonomicon Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, 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 Waterhouse and Detachment 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 granddaughter, 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; the product of a truly iconoclastic imagination working with white-hot intensity.

Review:

"Big, complex, and ambitious....This fast-paced, genre-transcending novel is full of absorbing action, witty dialogue and well-drawn characters." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Review:

"Stephenson's new book proves that he is the rarest of geniuses." New York Post

Review:

"Detail-packed, uninhibitedly discursive, with dollops of heavy-handed humor....[H]uge chunks of baldly technical material might fascinate NSA chiefs, computer nerds, and budding entrepreneurs, but ordinary readers are likely to balk..." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] heck of an action/adventure story....Stephenson...lives up to his reputation as a steely-eyed word hacker....[A] hell of a read." Wired

Review:

"Stephenson follows his startlingly original Snow Crash...with proof that he can do as well at twice the page-count....Imagine Tom Clancy turning to cyberpunk, and you have some idea of its broad potential appeal." Roland Green, Booklist

Review:

"An engrossing look at the way the flow of information shapes history. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Neal Stephenson is the author of the bestselling Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) as well as the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac.He lives in Seattle, Washington.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 12 comments:

2bikefarm, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by 2bikefarm)
Few contemporary novels should be forced reading for future high school & college students: relevant yet contempory, rabble-rousing, incandescent as the George Orwell classics of Animal Farm or 1984, a rare stroke of brilliant love for the free world. But here is one. Could it too grace every dusty shelf or digital personal stack of near-future luminaries? But if you were hoping for a nap, beware... No dusty tomb of the anolog, pedestrian epochs of 24 hr news channels... It's roots are (visceral, personable) tales at the dawn of information technology in the savant minds that decoded signals & secured our freedoms in The Great War, yet the narratives interweave generations--such as in David Mitchell's ambitiously fractal novels--right into our unresolved struggles of internet privacy, virtual currancy, need for mythology to guide us. Captivating and increadibly relevant, this is a story we are all in: a digital age of sharing across boundaries while maintaining refuges of privacy and security, a brave new world. Did I mention it was fun? Try his Snow Crash for a wilder pulp fiction ride, but this book is a true milestone of our time.
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Thomas L Knapp, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Thomas L Knapp)
Everyone should read everything by Neal Stephenson. Seriously. But if you're looking for a place to start that doesn't have too much of a forward or backward historical learning curve, Cryptonomicon is ideal. It takes place during two eras that are reasonably familiar to most American readers -- World War II and the late 90s/early 00s dot-com phase.

Yes, it's long, but you'll have trouble forcing yourself to put it down.

Yes, it's one of those novels full of, um, novel ideas, but Stephenson is all about STORY and the ideas tend to fall right into place in a plot that moves right along and pulls you with it.

Just take my word for it: You must read Stephenson and you should probably start with Cryptonomicon. Then you'll be ready for Snow Crash or the System of the World trilogy. After that, it's all gravy. Really good gravy with lots of meat in it.
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chipkerchner, March 24, 2013 (view all comments by chipkerchner)
This novel is a very large, in-need of pruning, book. Could have easily done without 500+ pages. It has a lot of cool concepts - cryptology, invention of digital computers, electronic money, more gold than Ft. Knox, intelligence agencies, etc. The evolution of cryptology was interesting. Certainly appealing nerds and techno-geeks.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780380788620
Author:
Stephenson, Neal
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Author:
by Neal Stephenson
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Espionage/Intrigue
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Adventure stories
Subject:
Technological
Subject:
Data encryption.
Subject:
World War, 19
Subject:
Science / High Tech
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Cryptography
Subject:
Adventure fiction
Subject:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Cryptography.
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Technothrillers
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Perennial ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series Volume:
86
Publication Date:
June 2000
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
928
Dimensions:
8.08x5.36x1.61 in. 1.65 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Star Wars
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Technothrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Adventure
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Sale Books

Cryptonomicon Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 928 pages Perennial (HarperCollins) - English 9780380788620 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Big, complex, and ambitious....This fast-paced, genre-transcending novel is full of absorbing action, witty dialogue and well-drawn characters."
"Review" by , "Stephenson's new book proves that he is the rarest of geniuses."
"Review" by , "Detail-packed, uninhibitedly discursive, with dollops of heavy-handed humor....[H]uge chunks of baldly technical material might fascinate NSA chiefs, computer nerds, and budding entrepreneurs, but ordinary readers are likely to balk..."
"Review" by , "[A] heck of an action/adventure story....Stephenson...lives up to his reputation as a steely-eyed word hacker....[A] hell of a read."
"Review" by , "Stephenson follows his startlingly original Snow Crash...with proof that he can do as well at twice the page-count....Imagine Tom Clancy turning to cyberpunk, and you have some idea of its broad potential appeal."
"Review" by , "An engrossing look at the way the flow of information shapes history. (Grade: A)"
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