Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Digital Fortress

Before the multi-million, runaway bestseller The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown set his razor-sharp research and storytelling skills on the most powerful intelligence organization on earth--the National Security Agency (NSA), an ultra-secret, multibillion-dollar agency many times more powerful than the CIA.When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious c...

Title:Digital Fortress
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0552151696
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:510 pages

Digital Fortress Reviews

  • Seizure Romero

    There's a reason why everyone talks about The DaVinci Code and not about this book. I have no idea what that reason would be, because I thought Angels & Demons was mediocre so I never bothered to read the The DaVinci Code. Anyway, I was bored and a copy of this was sitting at the library for a quarter and I thought "WTF, mate, I'll give it a go."

    The first page of chapter 1 starts with Susan Fletcher waking from a romantic dream to the ringing of the telephone:

    "Susan, it's David. Did I wake y

    There's a reason why everyone talks about The DaVinci Code and not about this book. I have no idea what that reason would be, because I thought Angels & Demons was mediocre so I never bothered to read the The DaVinci Code. Anyway, I was bored and a copy of this was sitting at the library for a quarter and I thought "WTF, mate, I'll give it a go."

    The first page of chapter 1 starts with Susan Fletcher waking from a romantic dream to the ringing of the telephone:

    "Susan, it's David. Did I wake you?"

    She smiled, rolling over in bed. "I was just dreaming of you. Come over and play."

    He laughed. "It's still dark out."

    "Mmm." She moaned sensuously. "Then

    come over and play. We can sleep in before we head north."

    That is not a transcription typo, or the manifestation of my unfocused rage. It really does read

    Please feel free to vomit if you need to; I'll wait.

    David then proceeds to postpone their plans to celebrate their six-month engagement due to something hush-hush, like maybe his being a big homo. C'mon, what sort of man is going to pass up some sweet, sweet lovin' before disappearing on a mystery mission? The kind who likes other men, that's what kind. A handful of pages later, it becomes clear that Dan Brown has read too many

    novels as we're treated to a description of David Becker:

    "Becker was dark--a rugged, youthful thirty-five with sharp green eyes and a wit to match. His strong jaw and taut features reminded Susan of carved marble. Over six feet tall, Becker moved across a squash court faster than any of his colleagues could comprehend. After soundly beating his opponent, he would cool off by dousing his head in a drinking fountain and soaking his tuft of thick, black hair. Then, still dripping, he'd treat his opponent to a fruit shake and a bagel."

    Is it just me or does this read like Dan Brown was typing this with one hand? Why does Mr. Stud have the same initials as the author? Why would anyone want a sharp green wit? And is 'fruit shake' some sort of code for gay sex? Is that why he is still dripping?

    So then, after all this ran through my immature little mind, I remembered I had other books to read--books that didn't suck horrifically within the first ten pages. Yay for other books!

    Oh, and I sold it to a used book shop for a dollar, so it was worth the quarter. Yay for used book shops!

  • Claus

    It is truely mind-boggling how Dan Brown can get away with putting so many factual errors about cryptography and computers into a single book. Doesn't he have anybody proofread his manuscripts? It is also surprising that a so highly praised writer can write so badly.

    In "Digital Fortress" we enter a universe where:

    * A 64-bit code requires 64 characters to type. (Fact: 64 bits can be easily typed with 16 characters or less.)

    * Public Key Cryptography requires the exchange of a secret passkey. (Fact

    It is truely mind-boggling how Dan Brown can get away with putting so many factual errors about cryptography and computers into a single book. Doesn't he have anybody proofread his manuscripts? It is also surprising that a so highly praised writer can write so badly.

    In "Digital Fortress" we enter a universe where:

    * A 64-bit code requires 64 characters to type. (Fact: 64 bits can be easily typed with 16 characters or less.)

    * Public Key Cryptography requires the exchange of a secret passkey. (Fact: One of the nice features about Public Key Cryptography is that it does NOT require the exchange of a secret passkey.)

    * The concept of an unbreakable code is an impossibility as it violates the "Bergofsky principle". (Fact: The "One-time Pad" encryption invented more than 90 years ago is unbreakable (but often unpractical to use).)

    * A password consisting of five random characters is a really good one.

    * If you hide a backdoor in an algorithm, only the author of the algorithm will be able to find it.

    On a less technical side, in "Digital Fortress" we enter a universe where:

    * A German addresses a total stranger as "Du" instead of "Sie".

    * A university teacher willingly accepts a secret overseas mission for the NSA, just because the man who calls him happens to be his wife's boss.

    * A young man who appears to have lived for a few months in Spain doesn't know the difference between dollars and pesetas. (The book was written before the Euro currency was introduced.)

    * The NSA apparently have no backup of the data in their main databank.

    * Pigs actually do fly. (Okay, I didn't acturally read that, but I'm sure it must be in there somewhere.)

    Add to this that the characters behave in ridiculously silly and unlikely ways. (For example, this man wants to buy a ring from a frightened, young woman. Does he say, "I would like to buy your ring"? No, he says "You have something I need; but I'll pay you for it," which of course frightens the woman even more.) Add some annoyingly long filler sentences completely lacking in content and serving only to use ink.

    Not a good book. The only reason I read it to the end was because I kept believing that it must get better eventually. It didn't. In the final crisis the book reaches new levels of bad writing:

    * The computer science is bogus.

    * The assembled scientists cannot solve this problem: "What number best expresses the difference between Uranium 238 and Uranium 235?". In the final second of the crisis, after twenty minutes of thinking, somebody suddenly, surpisingly discovers that the answer is 3. (I am not exaggerating!)

    * The writing style is an incredibly long-winded, drawn out, ink-wasting collection of superfluous words. (If the world was about to fall apart unless you discovered an important number in the next five minutes, would you spend that time pointing out to your colleagues that the word "man-made" is not a number? No, I thought not.)

  • Fabian

    The topic is quite interesting & having an author perfectly fit the shoes of one so revered (talking, of course about the late great Michael Crichton) is truly magnificent, in my book. This thriller is fast (hooray!) and riveting. It is relevant to modern times and some reviewers have gone as far as calling it plausible.

    But it must be said that its an adventure less compelling than The Da Vinci Code, even more contrived; devoid of interesting characters but plagued with dead ends, ineffectiv

    The topic is quite interesting & having an author perfectly fit the shoes of one so revered (talking, of course about the late great Michael Crichton) is truly magnificent, in my book. This thriller is fast (hooray!) and riveting. It is relevant to modern times and some reviewers have gone as far as calling it plausible.

    But it must be said that its an adventure less compelling than The Da Vinci Code, even more contrived; devoid of interesting characters but plagued with dead ends, ineffective repetitiveness, empty journeys. While many characters deal with differently major or minor catastrophes, the short chapters speed by. The plot, if dissected, would resemble this: a career girl (& therefore, one lacking of a personality, other than being described as being incredibly fond of expensive shoes [as if such an example would underscore her femininity:]) stuck in a compound, perplexed by computer screens and consoles, hurrying to save humanity before the doomsday clock strikes; her boyfriend, a prof. with sure and extreme luck out on a wild goose chase (in--Sevilla, Spain! AWESUM!), a fish out of water with a blind purpose (and again, afflicted with the No Personality Syndrome along with his contemporary drones); and other tech nerds, out trying to physically or technologically (whatever that means... the novel tries to personify what's intangible: cyberspace) um, save the planet. There are codes and puzzles along the way, easy to decipher and sometimes overly-explained by these tech- (and only tech-) minded, overpaid, individuals.

    Because it was educational, fun, sometimes (I say this with a grain of salt) unpredictable, it should be read. Expect no Waugh or Hawthorne, but Crichton, or at least a worthy imitation. It is definitely a dumb action adventure but if it captures you, and it will, then just take the ride. It's as harmless as impersonating the protagonist: your eyes will move and your body will mostly be in repose. But something within the human machine will be processed in some way, surely.

  • K.D. Absolutely

    I work in the Information Technology field so relating to this book was easy for me. I don’t know anything about NSA (National Security Agency) and how they operate but I know stuff like encryption, algorithm, anagram, computer virus, code-breaking, etc. So, this book glued me from start to finish. My officemate has been telling me that this is his favorite Dan Brown book. He said that since I’ve read all his 4 other novels,

    (all 3 stars, i.e

    I work in the Information Technology field so relating to this book was easy for me. I don’t know anything about NSA (National Security Agency) and how they operate but I know stuff like encryption, algorithm, anagram, computer virus, code-breaking, etc. So, this book glued me from start to finish. My officemate has been telling me that this is his favorite Dan Brown book. He said that since I’ve read all his 4 other novels,

    (all 3 stars, i.e., I liked them!) and

    (2 stars, i.e., It’s okay!) and I am glad that I finally read this book. Hurray, I am now a Dan Brown completist!

    I liked the story. NSA has a program that can track personal conversations around the world. One employee gets angry so he becomes a whistleblower. NSA hires a pretty detective (not yet Robert Langdon since this is Dan Brown’s first novel) and she is so hot most of the male characters in this book lust for her. This lust for her body and for power (as usual) basically becomes the driving force for all these men to outwit or kill each other or even themselves. The plot is a little overpopulated by characters and the twists are a bit too many to become coincidental. However, this is Dan Brown’s first novel so they are expected. Just like any other first time novelists, Brown was trying to prove that he could intricately weave a suspenseful yet unbelievable plot.

    Wikipedia says that this book was based on real-life incident in cryptography. The story seems to tell me that Dan Brown not only did his thorough research on the topic but was also able to anticipate what NSA would do. He was a step ahead of NSA or maybe the NSA was influenced by the book. This one was not coincidence, I think. Or maybe Dan Brown was clever enough to befriend an insider in NSA. I just did not have any idea how a novelist could have access to NSA. Or maybe I am reading too many suspense-thriller books (Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, John Grisham, etc) that my rational thinking is now tainted with all these far-fetched possibilities or thoughts.

    Dan Brown was born on the same year I was, i.e., 1964. His books have been translated in many languages and stayed in New York’s Bestsellers’ List and adapted into big movie blockbusters. Wimps cannot do just those. I like Dan Brown definitely not for his literary prowess, i.e., his writing is ordinary, but for his imagination and the efforts that he put in his research. He just does not sit down and types away his thoughts. He backs those up with facts. He goes to the museums in Paris or Capital Building, looks up on all the writings or symbols on the wall, paintings, towers. He reads history and current events and incorporates those to his plot. So, let’s spare this guy from our senseless tirades. We just cannot ignore the fact that he knows his trade. His books deserve to be read. His efforts deserve to be appreciated.

  • Matthew

    Dan Brown is not just Da Vinci Code! This is a pretty good cyber-thriller. It resonates well in a world where data security and hacking are a part of the daily news. Check it out if you are a fan of fast paced thrillers with lots of suspense. (It has short chapters, too, which I like a lot)

  • Mohammed Arabey

    Olympus Has Fallen 2013 وفي فيلم شاهدته مؤخرا بعنوان

    لا أنكر انه بمجرد أن سمعت "الكوري الشرير" يقول أنه مجرد كوري لا شمالي ولا جنوبي ويرفض تدخل الولايات المتحدة في تقسيم بلاده بهذا الشكل لهذا أنتقم بهذه الوحشية ضد البيت الأبيض, لا أستطيع أنكار أني كنت متفق معه بشكل كبير

    From 13 Nov. 2014

    To 18 Nov. 2014

    The Review : 7 Jan. 2015

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