4.1 16
by Robert Harris

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—The Washington Post Book World
England 1943. Much of the infamous Nazi Enigma code has been cracked. But Shark, the impenetrable operational cipher used by Nazi U-boats, has masked the Germans' movements, allowing them to destroy a record number of Allied vessels. Feeling that the blood


—The Washington Post Book World
England 1943. Much of the infamous Nazi Enigma code has been cracked. But Shark, the impenetrable operational cipher used by Nazi U-boats, has masked the Germans' movements, allowing them to destroy a record number of Allied vessels. Feeling that the blood of Allied sailors is on their hands, a top-secret team of British cryptographers works feverishly around the clock to break Shark. And when brilliant mathematician Tom Jericho succeeds, it is the stuff of legend. . . .
—San Francisco Chronicle
Until the unthinkable happens: the Germans have somehow learned that Shark has been cracked. And they've changed the code. . . .
—The Orlando Sentinel
As an Allied convoy crosses the U-boat infested North Atlantic . . . as Jericho's ex-lover Claire disappears amid accusations that she is a Nazi collaborator . . . as Jericho strains his last resources to break Shark again, he cannot escape the ultimate truth: There is a traitor among them. . . .
—New York Daily News
"ELEGANTLY RESEARCHED . . . Readers will find themselves perfectly placed to experience one of Britain's finest hours."
"SATISFYING . . . Harris does a crackerjack job here, playing his characters' lives off historical events in surprising ways."
—Entertainment Weekly
—Detroit Free Press

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set during WWII, Harris's latest thriller concerns the British attempt to crack the Nazis' secret codes.
Library Journal
Enigma was the name for an enciphering machine developed in the 1920s and later used by the Nazi military. If numbers and ciphers puzzle you, do not despair. Harris (Fatherland, LJ 4/1/92) effectively evokes the damp bleakness, the deprivation, and the anxiety of war-torn 1940s England. The hero of his novel, Tom, is a delicate, slightly effete young man but a mathematical genius. As the story opens, Tom has had a mental and physical breakdown from too many hours working at code breaking and not enough eating and sleeping. He is recuperating at Cambridge when his supervisor arrives to lure him back to the same punishing grind. The Enigma Codes have changed, and the good guys cannot find the deciphering key in time to save an extra-large convoy coming from America. There is love, a spy in their midst, and a few other red herrings to round out the mix. Definitely recommended.
-- Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills Public Library, Texas
School Library Journal
In 1943, a group of Britain's finest mathematicians and cryptologists gathered secretly in pastoral Bletchley Park with the sole aim of decoding the incomprehensible German cipher, Enigma. Its use had confounded both British and American intelligence, because new, highly classified mechanical improvements within the cipher machine made it superior to any Allied instruments. Enter Tom Jericho, master cryptologist and code-breaker, recently recalled from a nervous breakdown and fractured romantic relationship, to troubleshoot British efforts to crack the code. In this tightly crafted story based on actual events, Harris succeeds in engaging readers by realistically portraying the environment of intrigue existing in wartime England. Jericho is a meek and sympathetic anti-hero, stinging from an unrequited relationship, still hopeful of reconciliation, who reluctantly realizes the possibility of his lover's betrayal of classified information. This novel's singular strength is Harris's ability to take a technologically complex concept and make it lucid and riveting reading. The plot moves apace, and the ending has an unexpected twist. World War II buffs will enjoy this challenging and satisfying tale.
-- Carol Beall, Immanuel Christian School, Springfield, VA
From the Publisher
"After the stunning success of his first novel, Fatherland, the question was what would Robert Harris do for an encore? This is his ersounding answer." — Phillip Knightley, Mail on Sunday

"Extraordinarily good — and undoubtedly the best thriller of the year, and perhaps of several years to come." — T.J. Binyon, Evening Standard

"I finished the book regretful it had ended, and full of wonder at the extraordinary world, people and achievements it evoked." — David Cannadine, Observer

"Altogether top-class stuff" — Peter Millar, The Times

From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.88(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Harris was born in 1957, in Nottingham, England, and educated at Cambridge University. He graduated with an honors degree in English and joined the BBC, working as a researcher and director before becoming the BBC's youngest reporter on "Newsnight" in 1982. In 1987, he left television to become political editor of The Observer before joining the Sunday Times as a weekly columnist in 1989. He has since made several films for British television.

Harris is the author of five nonfiction books, three of which have been published in the United States: A Higher Form of Killing (1982), a history of chemical and biological warfare; Gotcha! (1983), a study of how the media covered the Falklands War; and Selling Hitler (1986), the story of the forged Hitler diaries scandal, which was made into a television miniseries. His first novel, Fatherland (1992), was the most successful first novel by a Bri tish author in the past twenty years and was published in 18 countries.

He lives near Hungerford, Berkshire with his wife and two children.

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Enigma 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
kristak More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was interesting. It gave alot of insight on the war from a different perspective than the usual soldier's. The women in England did a lot during the war we rarely hear about. I have actually read this book more than once.
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, and "Fatherland" is one of my favorite books but this novel by Robert Harris was too thick in technical cryptanalst speak to hook me. The reveals were somewhat less dramatic had I completely followed all the code-breaking jargon. Sadly, when the "villain" was revealed it seemed pretty anticlimatic. Definitely not Harris' best work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thought it was a good book. Pretty cool how they broke the code and how they put a code in a code. It was pretty interesting how Robert Harris told you what a kiss, pinch and cryptogram where. I would read this book again if i forgot what it was about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing historical detective story: the German Enigma code has been cracked and the Allied forces are close to winning the crucial Battle of the Atlantic. Suddenly, the code is changed and it is obvious that there is a traitor in the midst. The code-cracking hero then finds that his girlfriend is missing, leaving incriminating evidence in her room¿ Psychologically well-observed characters, particularly the hero, propel this book into classic nail-biting fiction. The battle of good and evil is played out on both the world stage and the personal one, ending with a race-against-time chase. This book is a beautifully-observed portrait of the rigors of war, the lack of glamour in the code-breaking world, and that old favorite - given a new twist here - the agony of unrequited love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this to be Robert Harris best... The book took-off and never came down... A page turner from the start... Treat yourself to some good reading... Robert harris is a unique story teller...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A little know story of wwii that deserves more attention. All that went on at Bletchley Park was decisive in helping win the war for the allies. And despite some criticisms to the contrary, the connection to Poland is talked about in the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Actuall, ENIGMA was broken by Polish matematicians shortly before WWII. The British did it for the second time... If the book is correct on that it should mention it as NSA on its pages does.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a little confusing throughout the whole thing but it was good. And I actually would give it 4 1/2 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a great combination of science and suspense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Enigma,' by Robert Harris, is a mix of history and fiction blended nicely together to make a very interesting book. The story takes place during World War II, before the United States entered the war. During this period, the German's had a type of code, called 'Shark' by England's cyptoanalysis teams, which was used to send coded messages to and from German U-boats. The story is about the English cryptoanologists that attempt to crack this code and how they go about doing it. The main character of the story is Tom Jericho, who is a math nerd, and has no life outside of math, crossword puzzles and chess. He also has a girlfriend named Claire Romilly who is also a cryptoanologist. While they are working to crack the code, the English find that there is a leak in their team that has been giving information to the Germans. Tom and Claire are both suspects, but Claire is much more so. During the course of the story, Tom tries to clear her name while, at the same time, trying to crack the German code.

This book is enjoyable because it includes so much factual information about World War II, and at the same time has two different plot lines that are both interesting and exciting. The reader will learn a lot about World War II from the English point of view, which is quite different from what we Americans think of the war. This book is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys reading about World War 2 or just wars in general.

Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Harris should have research his book better before publishing it. Enigma code was broken not in England but in POLAND by Marian Rejewski, Crypto analyst working in the Cipher Bureau of the Polish Intelligence Service in Warsaw. In July 24, 1939 crypto analysts and heads of the Intelligence Services from France and Great Britain arrived in Pyry, near Warsaw, to receive the Enigma replicas along with all the crypto analyst information Poland gathered. It is very annoying that history is being changed in the book and in the movie to satisfy British nationalism.