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TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 5, 2017
The first half of the book was fascinating. An interesting blend of historical fact and fiction that jumped between present day (well, present-ish -- present as of when it was written), and World War II. The characters are interesting, the technical aspect of the cryptography was interesting (even if some of it went over my head, even with the diagrams), and I was engrossed with seeing where it went and how the past and present characters were linked.

However, the second half of the book was a disappointment. The plot changed focus, and entire plot points were dropped. Characters were suddenly shuffled around on the map and large time periods were skipped, making it feel like the author realized a bit too late that the characters weren't in the places he needed them to be for the finale. Some of the revelations felt farcical, the plot rushed, and the entire last third felt unsatisfying.
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on November 9, 2016
If we lived in a fair world Neal Stephenson would receive Pulitzer Prize for literature . But of course we don't live in a fair world ! Very interesting to me that this book is classed by Amazon as social commentary because as I was reading it I was sitting through the final throes of the 2016 election for the presidency of the USA . This book is so much more than social commentary but it's really beyond description of most of Neals works are.

This is a reread for me and I specifically rerouted at this time because of all of the events seem to be centering on us at high-speed . Between Snowden and the NSA, Homeland security , and a federal election in the US, and commemorating DDay just seemed like a good time to take a walk down memory lane.

Of course when this book was written we had already entered into a full-blown information age but I think since then we have gone beyond all of that into a truly scary future . One in which during the reading of this book I googled bitcoin just to see what I might learn . What is truly fascinating is that within 12 hours my Twitter account showed an ad for Masters of Science in digital currency .

There's a chapter in this book in which the character Enoch gets along and detailed account of the Greek gods of Ares and Athena . This was so wildly apropos given the Trump versus Clinton election that was one day away that I felt like I was swept into a history of archetype and myth.

If you haven't read this book read it, if you've read it before reread it.

That is really what this book is about it's archetype it's myth it's storytelling at its very best , and it's really beyond description . I have read that Neal writes his books and longhand spiral notebooks and then have to have them transcribed by only one person who can actually make sense of them . Given the labyrinthine plots of these books it just is so perfect to imagine them written longhand and decrypted by the only person who can make sense of them ! I readily admit to being a geek fan of Neil Steffensen.
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on March 2, 2018
I loved this book. This was my second-to-favorite Neal Stephenson book after Snow Crash.

This book is very satisfyingly technical - which I believe is a very strong draw of Stephenson's books in general. It contains a large amount of math and cryptography to make the book interesting to anyone who has some knowledge of the topic.

This book is long, the plot complicated, and the content highly technical. For me, just what I want in a science fiction book.
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on August 18, 2012
This book will appeal to people interested in World War II, cryptography, paranoia at the highest level, swash buckling adventures, the power of money, commerce, international communications networking; which probably covers 80% of the readers in the world.

Unlike Stephenson's book called Snow Crash (Highly recommended) this story is one in the present time with deep links back to the 1940's during World War II.

The main characters are Bobby Shaftoe- a grunt in WW II Marines; Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - a cryptography and code geek at the highest level; Goto Dengo - a Japanese soldier who follows orders without question, any order; Avi - super super paranoid genius and business person: Rudy - who ends up working for the Nazi's during WW II. Along with a large supporting cast of characters

The bulk of the story revolves around creating and breaking codes during WW II and then extends beyond that as future off spring of the main characters run into each other when developing a data crypt in the Philippines, while looking for some long ago buried gold (literally tons of it).

They intermingle and run into mostly bad guys along the way.

Stephenson fully develops each character and we are privy to what they are thinking during various situations. The evolution of computers is blended into the story line as well.

The various story arcs move along at a fast pace which is god as the book is over 1100 pages long.

Recommended. I have Stephensons ReaMd on my shelf to read and am looking forward to it based on the last two books I have read from this author.
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on June 17, 2017
It is a great story, and I enjoyed the book overall. Being from the tech industry, I found the modern timeline with Randy a bit boring though technical accurate. One chapter I skimmed and skipped over in the middle of the book that involved Randy. The past timeline was very well written and a fantastic and enthralling story arc was created. In the end, as the two arcs converged the book built the drama and it was impossible to put down.

Definitely a "must read"!
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on December 18, 2016
Best book I've read for a long time. Not really sci-fi but totally involving, might not appeal to every one but if you have the least interest in cryptography and the Internet it's a must. The appendix on laying undersea cables is fascinating to
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on September 10, 2016
Fantastic book, it incorporates elements of real cryptography and history into a gripping and unpredictable story. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in crypto and good books.
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on July 18, 2017
This book is far too technical for the average person. It was recommended for our book club but if I would have been able to see it before purchasing it then I would never have bought ti.
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on December 14, 2015
What an excellent read. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first. I wasn't use to Stephenson's writing style, but now I am glad that I read all the way through. It's a big book, and it's a great book.
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on December 1, 2016
It took me a while to get "into" the book, but once I got hooked I could not stop reading it! Very good! As good as his Baroque trilogy!
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