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Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

October 23, 2009

This book could be considered the fourth book in the Baroque Cycle, although it was actually written first. One character features across all four books, but telling you who would count as a spoiler, so I won’t.

Cryptonomicon takes place partly in World War Two, partly in the 1990s. Two stories, each gripping in their own way, gradually connect on the Philippines in a search for Japanese war gold, looted from Asia and hidden away for decades.

As you might expect from the title, a lot of the World War Two action focuses on the codebreaking efforts of the allies, as they race to decode German and Japanese transmissions while also hiding from the enemy their successes.

As with Neal’s other books in this cycle the research has been meticulous and every location is describes briefly, but with incredible authenticity. From the Philippines of the 1990s to Sweden in World War Two, each location becomes almost a character in its own right. I love Neal’s writing so this book was a real treat for me. Highly recommended, along with the three Baroque Cycle books.

  1. December 15, 2009 at 12:28 am

    I’m not the kind of guy that reads big, long fiction books. But this one just caught and tied me up until I read it. The following three, a trilogy called “The Baroque Cycle” make the whole batch about 4000 pages. Don’t get scared away by the size. You can always give it up for a while and come back when you have digested what you have read.

    Neal says somewhere, that people read either to relax their minds or to exercise them. He usually writes the second kind.

    Cryptonomicon and the others are several stories intertwined with such skill that you can’t help wonder how in the world anyone could design them, let alone, write them. If you want to exercise your mind while laughing, crying and screaming, “YES”, to the heavens read Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle. When you’re done, go for Stephenson’s latest creation, “Anathem”

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