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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 US 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 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.

©1999 Neil Stephenson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Cryptonomicon

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All over the place

There was some interesting crypto but the story was all over the place and so much didn't matter at all that It was hard to really enjoy this.

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Rushed ending

After 40 hours of buildup, it seems Stephenson got bored and finished writing the ending during TV commercial breaks. A good story, and the ending was positive, just felt rushed and a bit anticlimactic.

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Butchered the pronunciation

By all that is holy, somebody please, please, please teach the narrator how to pronounce "Nippon"!

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wow!

this is a great book. it is in depth and descriptive it is funny but for an adult audience. if you have even tried to live a life in the world then it is for you. the characters are burned in my mind as if I had known them all my life. as if these very people were my ancestors. in depth a d detailed we journey through a history of the 20th century leaping between WWII and the dot com boom that closed out the century. this book is also a commitment. it is 46 hours of sublime listening. the narrator acts this entire book out. he creates characters as a great actor would do. stephenson's work is both respected and honoured. Bravo.

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Amazing story and narration!

The narrator was amazing! Definitely added extra color to a brilliantly written story. Although this was a big book and long narration, I really didn't want it to end.

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Great book, a little wordy

Stephenson is a very good author. His characters are great, if a little weird, and the plot in this book is interesting. He works at walking the line between speculative and historically accurate fiction. Imagine a fictional book about Amelia Earhart. Stephenson does that with guys like Alan Turing.
A great job. My only issue is with his style. He uses as many words as possible to describe a given situation. Very smart guy, no economy of words.
Still, happy I read this one

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Love the complexity of this story

I really enjoyed the book, I especially liked how all the characters and subplot cake together at the end making a full story

Great storytelling I will be listening /reading more from this author.

The narrator was also superb he make the story come to life in a great way

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  • Joshua
  • 2016-06-20

Two thirds through and quit

Neal Stephenson books are always highly rated on Audible, but man, this guy just doesn't do it for me. Cryptonomicon jumps around in it's narration for no discernible reason. If you're not listening to it all in one sitting, you're not going to follow the multiple story lines.

But it really doesn't matter because all the story lines are boring anyway. I mean, a couple of them start strong, but boy do they get stale fast.

Two thirds through the book and I barely care about any of the characters. I'm a bit confused as to what's going on in a couple of the plot lines, and too bored by the book to go back and re-listen.

This is the third Stephenson book that made me feel this way. I'm done. And I'm not going to punish myself by sitting through the rest of this plodding nonsense.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Jerry Fletcher
  • 2020-10-18

Loved the Book and "Every-Single-Little-Thing"

I thoroughly love this Cryptonomicon - all 42 hours of the audiobook. I had to re-listen to a couple of the early chapters to sort all the timelines and principal characters, but once I got going, I didn't want it to end. The overall all plot lines and characters had me fully engaged, but what I enjoyed even more the the the astonishing density of insightful observations about every-single-little-thing the characters encounter - especially Waterhouse. I have a thing for patterns myself, and Stephenson's many diversions and doglegs were inspiring and delightful. I found I couldn't listen to Cryptonomicon any way other than absolutely actively engaged or I'd be lost and rewinding chapters for a second listen. Another amazing aspect of Cryptonomicon - any book with with heavy plot lines in tech/coding written twenty-one years ago could have been extremely dated, but it's amazing how many things Stephenson got right and and how many of the issues (bitcoin) are still fresh. Got to give some props to the narrator William Dufris. His many voices really added a lot of nuance for me and heightened many of the humorous scenes. This is my second Neal Stephenson book after Seveneves. I need to go back and listen to some of SE, because I really don't think I would have guessed they came from the same author. Not sure which Stephenson book is next ... Snow Crash, Anathem, Fall or Dodge in Hell. Recommendations appreciate.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Druinfly
  • 2021-02-16

Solid fun. [>|<]

Enjoyed this performance. Was a bit wary after reading other reviews saying it jumped around and wouldn’t be good unless listened to in one sitting.

Glad I didn’t bother with those reviews. The timeline presented was purposeful, compelling characters woven thoughtfully together. I listened to it over the course of several weeks and had no issue following the narrative.

It was exciting, dark, hilarious and moving. I recommend this one. [>|<]

Narrator nailed the performance, good show.

6 people found this helpful

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  • K. Wilson
  • 2020-05-27

Favorite Author and Perfect Narration. Great Value

This book is long. Could have been 2 or 3. I appreciate the value. This book is intense and jammed packed with interesting situations. it was hard to follow in the beginning but characters were explored in depth. I learned much about digital currency on the side - painlessly lol. Get this book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Flyger
  • 2020-06-26

the narrator is amazing

I've loved this book for years. Dufris actually Rut's dialect, no mean feat. Do buy.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Oatie J R
  • 2020-06-25

captivating and a wonderful listen

captivating story and a fantastic narration. I would highly recommend this book. very interesting sci-fi / fantasy.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Joey
  • 2015-12-13

What is this, a man's rights propaganda pamphlet?

What would have made Cryptonomicon better?

less indefensible rhetoric. hes as lazy as Ayn Rand is at creating antagonists--i.e. shallow, poorly represented, emotional, irrational, and stupid characters. Its just unrealistic. At least present the other side of the argument instead of just your strawman.

What was most disappointing about Neal Stephenson’s story?

Author is more interested in his self esteem than creating a good story.

Would you be willing to try another one of William Dufris’s performances?

no, too melodramatic

4 people found this helpful

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  • W. R. Jaeckle
  • 2011-07-31

Importance of good narration

The narrator almost entirely ruins listening to this book, which was a tremendously good read. Glaringly he mispronounces the frequent Philippine words and place names. He narrates sentence by sentence rather than appreciating the developing line of the story being expressed. I would not have used up two credits for this if I had payed enough attention to sample the quality of narration beforehand. My bad.........

10 people found this helpful

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  • Lee Hoffman
  • 2021-01-31

Just so great.

It’s interesting to absolutely love a 40+ hour audiobook and then read reviews from folks who hated it. Different courses for different horses, I guess. All I can say is this book made everything I was doing while listening (bike riding, cleaning, driving, waiting in line outside Costco) a fantastically better experience than it would have been without having these characters to keep me company. This is a total, unadulterated rave!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nathan McKim
  • 2021-02-10

amazing, what a fascinating depiction of brillianc

loved it! amazing depiction of brilliant minds that ties to timelines together from world war II to modern technology and the evolution of computing technology with a captivating narrative of modern technology and brilliance past and present

1 person found this helpful