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3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,093 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
A gripping World War II mystery novel with a cryptographic twist, Enigma's hero is Tom Jericho, a brilliant British mathematician working as a member of the team struggling to crack the Nazi Enigma code. Jericho's own struggles include nerve-wracking mental labour, the mysterious disappearance of a former girlfriend, the suspicions of his coworkers within the paranoid high ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 22nd 2002 by Arrow (first published September 11th 1995)
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Will Byrnes
This is a fictionalized view of the British WW II code-breaking enterprise that cracked the German code scheme named Enigma. Set in the out-of-the-way English town of Bletchley. Tom Jericho is a whiz code breaker who was a crucial player in breaking the original Enigma code. But the effort cost him. Just recovering from a breakdown and a broken heart, he is brought back into the code-breaking effort. The Germans are making it tough on the Brits, changing aspects of their coding process to keep o ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mt-tbr-challenge

It’s my fault and not Robert Harris’ that I haven’t been able to rate this novel more highly. I bought it a few years ago, on sale at the local bookstore, fresh from having read and enjoyed Imperium. From memory, having seen the movie adaptation a few years previously also influenced my purchase.

The premise is a good one: it’s an espionage story set in Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, which during World War II was the site of the UK’s main decryption establishment. This is where ciphers gener
Genia Lukin
The basic idea of this story, like so many of others Harris wrote, is; 'take an interesting historical period, throw in some Noir, mix, add fascinating and beautiful femme fatales to flavour'.

It's a recipe that usually works, but, just like your basic meat-and-potatoes, it's not something you'd serve for a gourmet meal unless you're a really genuinely good chef. Harris is rather more my mother throwing together a nice but not terribly inspiring dinner than the three-star restaurant serving a ste
Kay Rollison
Jun 03, 2011 Kay Rollison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For many people, Ian Fleming summed up spy stories when he described his own James Bond books as being ‘bang, bang, bang, kiss, kiss, that sort of stuff’. But as with other genres, there is the crude and the subtle, with the best as good as many conventional novels.

On of the good ones is Enigma, by Robert Harris. Harris is an English writer, who, though not aspiring to write the sort of novel that will win a Booker prize is nevertheless an excellent craftsman who tells a clever and convincing
May 09, 2012 Lynley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit, wartime
This isn't the sort of book I'd normally pick for myself, which is why I joined a book club, I suppose.

This was the first spy book I've read, and possibly the last for a good while. My one star review is a reflection of the fact I don't find espionage the slightest bit interesting, nor have I ever understood what people see in cryptic crosswords and sudoku. Each to their own.

All that aside, I was prepared to like a book about wartime spies, except even as a non-specialist of the genre, I could
Enough time has elapsed since original publication (1995) that I believe this mystery thriller of World War II code breaking can be considered a genre classic. The thriller aspects center on Bletchley Park and efforts to break (rebreak actually) the extremely complex German Enigma codes. Worked into the plot are fascinating details on code breaking in general and the Enigmas in particular. Mystery aspects mostly involve the shadowy figure of Claire Romilly. Who she is, what she has done, where s ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Luana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Per quel che mi riguarda, Robert Harris è un autore che è ormai entrato di diritto nella mia "comfort zone" letteraria, una garanzia di qualità e di ottimi romanzi. Anche se siamo lontani dai fasti di "Pompei", "Enigma" si rivela essere un thriller molto interessante ed avvincente.

La vicenda si svolge nei primi mesi nel 1943 a Bletchley Park e a fare da sfondo ci sono le vicende che portarono alla decrittazione di Enigma, il sistema di codici cifrati impiegato dal regime nazista per comunicar
Christine Blachford
Plot: Tom Jericho is a brilliant cryptologist, successful in cracking the German’s hardest code Shark. He’s suffering from nervous exhaustion and recuperating in the country but when the code is changed and his girlfriend disappears, he must return to Hut 8 to continue his work, re-crack the code and discover the mystery that surrounds Claire.

Characters: He was an interesting character, but the 1940s is not a period I know very much about, and it’s hard to know what the people were or should hav
May 26, 2013 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read! Not only is Harris's prose style wonderful (the man can tell a story!) but the history of Bletchley Park is an integral part of the British WWII effort that must be known about and was only recently declassified.
Mar 23, 2016 Linley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star-reads
My appetite for solving puzzles and codes was not entirely satisfied by this book, but then again the Enigma codes were the most complex that had ever faced cryptanalysts who, don't forget, were working with only very basic computer 'bombes'. The story far exceeded anything I could have dreamt up for dear old Jericho and offered a flavour of English war-time living, small town gossip and fierce landladies.

Recommended as light reading, and probably with more appeal for older readers. I thoroughly
Mar 03, 2015 Brianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelf
After watching The Imitation game, I was determined to get my hands on any kind of Alan Turing biography in existence. Thanks to Indigo's tactic of throwing the price of Enigma related books past the view of God, and thanks to my lack of book funds, I went to my local used bookstore and asked if there could possibly be any kind of Alan Turing book in the wonderfully scented labyrinth-esque shop. This, in turn, led to a very excited and proud review of Enigma, and I followed the clerk through the ...more
"Enigma lavorava in base a un principio piuttosto semplice. Se, quando la macchina era regolata in un modo particolare, premendo il tasto A si completava un circuito che faceva accendere la lampadina X, ne conseguiva che, siccome la corrente elettrica è alternata, nella stessa posizione, premendo il tasto X, si sarebbe accesa la lampadina A. La decodificazione era stata ideata in modo da essere semplice e facile come la codificazione."

E' stata una lettura piacevole ed avvincente. Si tratta di un
Apr 13, 2011 Mariah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Enigma a compelling page turner. I was able to spend large chunks of time reading which is a plus. Harris weaves a very intriguing mystery into the greater struggle of breaking the Enigma machine. Like Jericho and Hester I really want to know what happened to Claire - even if I don't like her much. I'll never understand the appeal and loyalty these bitchy, self-centered characters demand, but that's another story. I really did want to know not only where she disappeared, but why and beca ...more
Ah, the satisfaction one gets after reading a good, intelligent espionage thriller. And especially if it's after a reasonable period of time.

British author Robert Harris has long been regarded as one of the exponents of the literary thriller genre, and he succeeds in making an impression upon me through 'Enigma', his second novel.

Tom Jericho is a brilliant mathematician & works as a cryptanalyst at Bletchley Park, the institution that houses codebreakers to counter Nazi Germany's coding mach
Sep 27, 2007 lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for anything that involves solving puzzles, so I was pretty sure I was going to like this book when I picked it up. It's a reasonably fast-paced novel that revolves around codebreaking at Bletchley Park during WWII.

The main character, Tom Jericho, is a cryptanalyst who has had a nervous breakdown due to the strain of codebreaking and the end of his relationship with a woman, Claire, who also works at Bletchley Park. However, Jericho is suddenly called back to work when the Germans c
Jul 02, 2015 Comrade_Bazarov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Harris is known for writing high quality historical/alternative history fiction. His 'Fatherland' imagined a world where Germany won WWII. This book tells the story of Tom Jericho, a fictionalized composite of the brilliant mathematicians that worked tirelessly to break the infamous Enigma code employed by the Germans. Jericho is a student of Alan Turing (the real-life father of computer science) who gets recruited to work at Bletchley Park, Britain's code-breaking center. There he stumbl ...more
Adam Sprague
Aug 26, 2009 Adam Sprague rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I began this book and after the first chapters I thought for sure I was reading a smaller version of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. That sure did change in a hurry.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the layering of storylines. One part is the coverage of WWII crypto and the other the disappearing of Claire. Unfortunatley (at least for me) the book was about 80% about the missing girl. The longer the book went on the less and less the book became about crpyto and the more it became a
Robert Harris is an English master storyteller, specialising in moulding a fictional story around a real historical event, similar to the likes of Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell. As the name suggests, the fictional plot is built around the code-breaking efforts at Bletchley Park during WWII. The book is brilliantly researched and at times way over my head with detailed descriptions on the decryption methods by the mathematical boffins. But don't let this put you off. The plot is superbly const ...more
Mar 09, 2014 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a smart and pleasing page-turner this novel is! What I liked best about is that it felt so very British, in a Foyle's War-type of way. It's damp and tweedy with lots of tea and toast and sadness, which is perfect for a novel about WWII Britain, which must have been one of the worst times and places on earth. It's still a mystery/thriller, of course, but in an intelligential way. I especially liked that it was assumed the reader knew where Bletchley Park was, what the enigma was and how it w ...more
Le sujet se présente comme un thriller passionnant : arriver à décoder la fameuse machine Enigma. Sauf que les embrouilles amoureuses du personnage principal prennent le dessus et gâchent mon petit plaisir. C'est un neuneu qui se fait avoir sur un coup classique. C'est comme si l'auteur n'avait pas réussi à conjuguer les deux voies (thriller espionnage/amoureux) sauf vers les derniers chapitres, il y a toujours un petit décalage entre les deux. Ou bien c'est moi qui a lu trop de scénarios d'espi ...more
Steve Webber
This book was quite hard to read at the beginning with nothing much happening in the story at first. Developed into an exciting and interesting plot about a third into the book with a strong conclusion.
Sep 21, 2015 Babs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 4-star, read-2004
I loved this.

It's so much better than the film in many ways, not least because Harris resists the temptation to ease Tom's troubled mind by pairing him off with Hester (a slightly dumpier-because-pregnant Kate Winslet in the movie). Instead they're seen as a necessary partnership, a reluctant detective and sometimes even more unwilling sidekick, neither of whom is unable to resist a good mental challenge.
For Hester, it's a matter of pride that she's the rightful winner of the crossword competiti
Michael Sova
I first encountered Robert Harris when I read and reviewed The Fear Index several months ago. Although I found certain plot aspects a bit outlandish, the book itself was great. I was especially impressed with Harris' knack for building and maintaining tension, and keeping the reader in the moment. In researching the author, I learned that Robert Harris is most known for centering his novels around major historical events. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and decided at once to read more of h ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Harris's book is a fictional telling of Bletchley Park and the people who worked there, and how they broke the German's Enigma code during WWII. While Alan Turing is mentioned often he never actually appears in the book. He's supposedly off in Washington DC.

The hero here is Tom Jericho, a brilliant mathematician, who has just returned to work following a nervous breakdown caused by a split with his girl friend. A massive Allied convoy is headed across the Atlantic and the U-boats are on t
I really enjoyed this book, and it was a timely reread for me as we have just been to see the film The Imitation Game, which is a representation of Alan Turing's life, played typically awesomely by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Turing makes a brief appearance early in this book, which is tells the story of Jericho, a fictional member of the team of crypto analysts at Bletchley Park during WW2. I have also seen the Kate Winslett/Dougray Scott film, which completely changes the story, but captures the spir
Hannah Ringler
I like spy novels. I like cryptography-related novels, memoirs, and instructional texts. Somehow, I’ve never heard of Robert Harris or his book Enigma, despite the fact that both are pretty well-known and Enigma was actually made into a movie.

Part of that may be because its depiction of Bletchley Park is not, apparently, the most accurate, and generally speaking when I read historical fiction I’m more interested in the history than the fiction part. However, as a work of fiction, it’s an enjoyab
Rachael Hewison
Jun 30, 2014 Rachael Hewison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This novel was my saviour in some ways. Before this I read a string of chick-lit books, which had gotten progressively worse. I needed a novel which would include a little thought, intelligence and history to challenge my mind and Enigma certainly delivered that.
Harris had simplified down the work of the code-breakers so it wasn't too hard to follow their roles, although even then some of it did go over my head. He had clearly done his research and at times it felt as though I were reading a non
Arun Divakar
In school, I was the kid who was potentially terrified of mathematics ! The kind of person who would keep working on long winded algebraic equations which finally run into a wall. It is probably a stroke of luck that I managed to pass them all in both my school and college years. This gave me quite a laugh when I was reading this novel for the principle of code breaking lies completely on mathematics and look at me reading this after all these years !

The setting is WWII in a small town in Engla
David Roberts
Apr 28, 2014 David Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am reviewing the world war 2 historical fiction novel Enigma by Robert Harris which is an excellent story which I bought from a car boot sale. This book is based on some true events but part of it is fiction and the characters are fictitious. The story is set in Bletchley Park near the current new town Milton Keynes where during the war they had to crack the enigma code used by the Germans. Britain had a huge amount of goods and cargo transported by ship across the Atlantic from America. Unkno ...more
Charles Vella
Aug 19, 2014 Charles Vella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot that's good about this book. It is set in England during the war, and focuses on the people trying to break the Enigma code used by German U-boats. You can learn something about cryptology from reading it if you're so inclined. But unlike the whaling chapters in Moby Dick the cryptology never threatens to take away from the story.

The main character is Tom Jericho, a brilliant mathematician/cryptologist who has folded under the stress and at the beginning of the book is dropped off
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ROBERT HARRIS is the author of nine best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been adapted to film, most recently The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his ...more
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