Stephenson's characters, the dual storyline, the historical facts about the Enigma machine are all superbly done.
When one storyline breaks, you feel sad that it's going to be a few chapters till you see them again, but after a page of the other storyline you feel the same way.
This book was a complete gamble for me - it's even out of my usual genre, but probably one of the best gambles of my life, a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish - funny, serious, exciting - everything a great book should be - go & buy it now!!
Ok, so a good 2 thirds of this book are set in WW2, it still remains very much a sci-fi book. Strangely, some people seem to have taken issue with this, though I don't understand why this should be a problem.
The book is vastly entertaining, witty, insightful and often sad (when one of the main characters met an heroic end, I was truly truly gutted). The cahracters are not thin, they're some of the most interesting and rounded that I've come across in Stephenson's work.
Yes its very very long (900 pages +). This shouldn't be a problem, but in an age of goldfish like attention span it apparently is. I have to admit to being daunted at first, but by page 300 this book had become a real part of my life and I was already having to face up to the fact that one day I would finish it.
Please please read this book.