Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Neal Stephenson

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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde; Anathem; the three-volume historical epic The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World); as well as Cryptonomicon; The Diamond Age; Snow Crash, which was named one of Time magazine's top one hundred all-time best English-language novels; and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
 
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 1168 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cryptonomicon

Kirkus Reviews

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Stephenson’s prodigious new yarn (after The Diamond Age, 1995, etc.) whirls from WWII cryptography and top-secret bullion shipments to a present-day quest by computer whizzes to build a data haven amid corporate shark-infested waters, by way of multiple present-tense narratives overlaid with cree...

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Publishers Weekly

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Nearly 60 years later, Waterhouse's grandson Randy, a computer hacker with a knack for cryptanalysis, is attempting to create a high-tech data haven in Southeast Asia, only to discover that a variety of governments, multinationals and shadowy secret organizations want a piece of his company's act...

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AV Club

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To keep these incredible characters from becoming too large for the story they inhabit, Stephenson—an author who believes that a smart person should know a little about everything—fleshes it out with a quasi-Jesuitical Catholic conspiracy, an exhaustive and hilarious start-up business plan, more ...

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Cryptonomicon

Entertainment Weekly

Neal Stephenson, best known for the 1992 cyberpunk classic Snow Crash, makes a bid for mainstream relevance with this Infinite Jest-size tome.

May 21 1999 | Read Full Review of Cryptonomicon

SF Site

Neal Stephenson's background shows clearly in his writing.

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