Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kindle Daily Deals: A techno thriller, a historical romance, a fantasy and Julie Andrews--all for $1.99 each!

Today's Daily Deals include a techno thriller (I had to get that one), a historical romance, a fantasy and a kid's picture book by Julie Andrews. (Yes, THAT Julie Andrews)...

Here's today's Kindle Daily Deal, available for $1.99 today!

Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson.

With this extraordinary first volume in what promises to be an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse—mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy—is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Waterhouse and Detachment 2702—commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia—a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails granddaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.

A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought and creative daring; the product of a truly iconoclastic imagination working with white-hot intensity.

Neal Stephenson enjoys cult status among science fiction fans and techie types thanks to Snow Crash, which so completely redefined conventional notions of the high-tech future that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if his cyberpunk classic was big, Cryptonomicon is huge... gargantuan... massive, not just in size (a hefty 918 pages including appendices) but in scope and appeal. It's the hip, readable heir to Gravity's Rainbow and the Illuminatus trilogy. And it's only the first of a proposed series--for more information, read our interview with Stephenson.

Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods--World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, cryptanalyst extraordinaire, and gung ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They're part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit's strange workings to Waterhouse. "When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first.... Of course, to observe is not its real duty--we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed.... Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious."

All of this secrecy resonates in the present-day story line, in which the grandchildren of the WWII heroes--inimitable programming geek Randy Waterhouse and the lovely and powerful Amy Shaftoe--team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. To top off the paranoiac tone of the book, the mysterious Enoch Root, key member of Detachment 2702 and the Societas Eruditorum, pops up with an unbreakable encryption scheme left over from WWII to befuddle the 1990s protagonists with conspiratorial ties.

Cryptonomicon is vintage Stephenson from start to finish: short on plot, but long on detail so precise it's exhausting. Every page has a math problem, a quotable in-joke, an amazing idea, or a bit of sharp prose. Cryptonomicon is also packed with truly weird characters, funky tech, and crypto--all the crypto you'll ever need, in fact, not to mention all the computer jargon of the moment. A word to the wise: if you read this book in one sitting, you may die of information overload (and starvation). --Therese Littleton


1168 pages, with a 4.1-star rating from 975 reviews. Text to Speech, X-Ray, enabled.




Here's today's Daily Romance Deal, available for $1.99 today!

The Most to Lose, by Laura Landon.

“Some day, when you have the most to lose…I’ll take it all.”
Jonah Armstrong, Earl of Haywood, and the Duke of Hadleigh were best friends until a scandal involving Hadleigh’s fiancĂ©e destroyed their friendship. Three years later, Jonah returns from the Crimea as a war hero and London’s most eligible bachelor, setting the gossip afire and fanning Hadleigh’s long-simmering rage into an inferno. Hadleigh has not forgotten his old friend’s betrayal, and now that Jonah has returned, he will take his revenge.

Lady Cecelia Randolph has loved Jonah Armstrong for as long as she can remember. The moment they share a passionate kiss, she dares to hope that he feels the same for her and that his attention is driven by more than his desire to taunt her brother or his desperation for her dowry. It isn’t until Hadleigh’s quest for vengeance nearly destroys her that she realizes that Jonah loves her enough to risk everything to protect her.


293 pages, with a 4.1-star rating from 46 reviews. Kindle Owner's Lending Library, Text to Speech, X-Ray, Lending enabled. Whispersync for Voice audiobook available for $1.99 if you purchase this book.


Here's today's Daily Science Fiction/Fantasy Deal, available for $1.99 today!

The Secret of Ji: Six Heirs, by Pierre Grimbert.

The Known World is a sprawling region ruled by mortals, protected by gods, and plied by magicians and warriors, merchants and beggars, royals and scoundrels. Here, those with the gift of the Erjak share a psychic bond with animals; a far-reaching fraternity unites criminals of every persuasion in a vast army of villainy; and upon the mighty river Alt, the dead will one day sail seeking vengeance on the enemies of their descendants.
But for all the Known World’s wonders, splendors, and terrors, what has endured most powerfully is the strange legacy of Ji. Emissaries from every nation—the grand Goranese Empire; desolate, frozen Arkary; cosmopolitan Lorelia; and beyond—followed an enigmatic summons into the unknown. Some never returned; others were never the same. Each successive generation has guarded the profound truth and held sacred the legendary event. But now, the very last of them—and the wisdom they possess—are threatened. The time has come to fight for ultimate enlightenment…or fall to infinite darkness.

Volume 1 of 4 in the internationally bestselling Secret of Ji series Winner of the Prix Ozone and Prix Julia Verlanger.  (I didn't see any of the other volumes translated and on Kindle.)

308 pages, with a 3.7-star rating from 47 reviews. Kindle Owner's Lending Library, Text to Speech, X-Ray, Lending enabled. Whispersync for Voice audiobook available for $1.99 if you purchase this book.




Here's today's Kindle Daily Deal, available for $1.99 today!

The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl!, by Julie Andrews.  (Yes, that Julie Andrews!)

Gerry is asked to be the flower girl in Aunt Sue's wedding, and she couldn't be more excited. Her imagination runs wild with thoughts of extravagant decorations, a billowy white gown, and hundreds of guests. When she finds out the bride prefers a small celebration, Gerry can't help but be disappointed... but she soon realizes that having the wedding in her own backyard will let her put her creative stamp on everything. Even when disaster strikes in the form of rain on the big day, Gerry finds a way to bring sunshine to the party, reminding everyone that the most important thing at a wedding is the most special sparkle of all - happiness and love.

Christine Davenier's whimsically elegant illustrations include lush garden scenes and plenty of wedding flowers in this spirited follow-up to The Very Fairy Princess and The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage from the renowned mother-daughter team.

Note:  This book is currently only available for the Kindle Cloud Reader, the Kindle Fire, and the iPad.

32 pages, with a 5.0-star rating from 14 reviews. Text to Speech, X-Ray, enabled.



Happy Reading!

Betsy

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