At Bletchley Park, Tom Jericho, a brilliant young codebreaker, is facing a double nightmare. The Germans have unaccountably changed their U-boat Enigma code, threatening a massive Allied defeat.
As suspicion grows that there may be a spy inside Bletchley, and Jericho is suspected, his girlfriend, the beautiful and mysterious Claire Romilly, suddenly disappears. With the help of Claire's best friend, Hester, Jericho sets out to find Claire, clear his name and unmask the spy. The answers will change his life forever.
Steeped in the atmosphere of wartime England, based around an actual event, Enigma is a thriller of genius: a compelling mystery of codes and codebreaking, love and betrayal set inside the birthplace of the secret state.
©2004 Robert Harris; (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks
Retired landscape historian who wrote a few books and articles in his time but now concentrates upon the garden, the family, and travelling.
The film was disappointing in that it degenerated into a chase across Scotland, something Buchan (39 Steps) did better. The book is more interesting, building up the bizarre world of Bletchley Park as they seek within acute claustrophobia and developing paranoia to break the German naval codes the better to protect the convoys from the U-boats. But different agendas impinge upon their engagement with the Battle of the Atlantic, for they are also listening to Wehrmacht signals from the eastern front, where something very strange has been unearthed in the territories over which the Nazi extermination teams are putting down all resistance and more. The devil has found traces of someone worse, at least comparable, if you are Polish. It gradually becomes clear that our new Soviet allies have been up to something none of the Allies want to hear about. And so the chase is on, to stop the U-boats and so break the naval seige of these islands, while coming to terms with what has been going on along the eastern front. Different members of the team to break the German code react in different ways, but all are going to be changed utterly by the remifications of what they are discovering about war at sea and death along the eastern front. Since this book came out much has changed as regards our knowledge of what happened when Poland was divided between the Nazis and the Soviets. The book was a novel way into the complexities of why one of the worse moments of the Second World War was so long hidden not just by the perpetrators but by almost all concerned. It suggests too that no aspect of the war was totally sealed against what was going on elsewhere: this truely was a world war. And most people have to survive with little knowledge to go on, with every choice often little more than the lesser of the two evils. Read/listen to the book (and then read Fatherland for an exploration of an even greater though hidden trauma).
Just to mention that it's an abridged version, I didn't realise when I got it and found it was a little light for Robert Harris. So nothing to do with him, just be more careful than me if you're looking for the unabridged version.
I,ve read various books on the Bletchley Park code breakers, enigma etc and this story (mixture of fact and fiction) certainly held my interest. It is well read, with enough suspense to keep you listening until the end with the odd twist. Be aware that there is little mention of Turing nor the great debt we owe to the Polish Cypher bureau and their pioneering work. Having said that, whether you are interested in this time period and the events of the code breakers or not I think you will enjoy it.
I'm an audible addict!
What a great story, compelling and pacey with twists and turns throughout, linking to historical facts.
A believable whirlwind of deception crafted to entertain
As a reader fascinated by the Bletchley Park events during the Second World War I was interested to read a fictional mystery based on that place at that time. I'm pretty familiar with the facts surrounding those events so it was a considerable disappointment that this story is so riddled with factual inaccuracies. The characters are plausible enough, but all involved, including the police, seem utterly to ignore the 'need to know ' mantra which is one of the most fascinating aspects of that period of history. A top secret establishment which fails at every turn to be anything but secret is just not plausible to me. The story is well read and it moves on at a good pace, it just fails to suspend disbelief for me.
I love listening to books as don't always have time to read them. Mainly into Spy novels or Funny fantasy novels like the Discworld series.
The book keeps you interested throughout. He does a great job of making the characters interesting as well as making sure there are enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes.
Plot, it makes use of a historical event and adds a personal tale that keeps you listening.
"Great story, Well read, Based on actual history"
Just as good as the written. But you can't compare the two. They are as essentially different as bottle and draught varieties of your fovourite ale. Both are equally enjoyable. Read the book first, then listen to Alan Howard introduce you to subtly different facets of the personae of the characters. It reflects the atmosphere of wartime Britain of the Second World War. I've visited Bletchley Park and seen the Enigma machines. This book accurately complemented what I saw and read there.
Alan Turing and "Dr.Weissmann". OK, I'm a cryptophile and for years have taken a deep interest in the Enigma and the breaking of the code. "Weissmann" and Turing are unsung heroes that have been forgotten by history.
Atmosphere and explanation. You need to close your eyes to concentrate on the detailed explanation of the workings and theory of Enigma... You can't read with your eyes closed.
WHY NOT DO AN UABRIDGED VERSION..Robert is a wonderful story writer, and as most of his novels are deeply and accurately rooted in history, they are enlightening. Harris gives pages of history that might have been forgotten a boost into our appreciation of the past.
I usually avoid abridged versions - but the full version wasn't available so I took the punt! This is a great story expertly shortened - the narrator also is a stand-out. I can recommend this shortie - well worth the credit!
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