'Big, complex and ambitious, this new cyber-thriller calls to mind Pynchon's 'Gravities Rainbow' in it's intense, paranoid evocation of conspiracies and secret histories. Set in part during WWII, Stephenson's novel concerns Lawrence Waterhouse, mathematical genius and code breaker extraordinaire. Assigned to the super-secret Detachment 2702, Waterhouse is instrumental in the Allied plot to keep the Nazis unaware that their fabled enigma code has been broken. Almost as a sideline, he helps trigger the computer age. Nearly 60 years later, Waterhouse's computer hacker grandson Randy is attemptingto create a high-tech data haven in SE Asia, only to discover that a variety of governments and shadowy secret organizations want a piece of his company's action. Uncovering evidence of a long dormant conspiracy with it's roots partly in his grandfather's work in cryptology, Randy eventually discovers that enourmous amounts of war gold are involved, enough to change the entire economy of the planet. This fast-paced, genre-transcending novel is full of absorbing action,witty dialogue and well-drawn characters. Amazingly, it is also the first volume in what promises to be one of the most extravagant literary creations of the turn of the millenium - and beyond.' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY STARRED REVIEW.
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