CryptonomiconBook - 1999
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 sumarine 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 icon
From the critics
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"Wealth that is stored up in gold is dead. It rots and stinks. True wealth is made every day by men getting up out of bed and going to work. By schoolchildren doing their lessons, improving their minds. ..."
Source: Character of Goto Dengo in "Cryptonomicon," 2000 Harper Perennial paperback edition, p. 861.
" ... Where do you stand on this gun stuff?"
"I own them and know how to use them, as you are aware," Cantrell says.
... Cantrell has evidently decided that a more thorough answer to Randy's gun question is merited. "But the more I practiced with them the more scared I got. Or maybe depressed."
"What do you mean?" ...
"Holding one of those things in your hands, cleaning the barrel and shoving the rounds into clips, really brings you face-to-face with what a desperate, last-ditch measure they really are. I mean, if it gets to the point where we are shooting at people and vice versa, then we have completely screwed up. So in the end, they only strengthened my interest in making sure we could do without them."
"And hence the Crypt?" Randy asks.
"My involvement in the Crypt is arguably a direct result of a few very bad dreams that I had about guns."
Source: "Cryptonomicon," 2000 Harper Perennial paperback edition, p. 719.