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Digital Fortress: A Thriller Hardcover – Print, May 1, 2004
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In most thrillers, "hardware" consists of big guns, airplanes, military vehicles, and weapons that make things explode. Dan Brown has written a thriller for those of us who like our hardware with disc drives and who rate our heroes by big brainpower rather than big firepower. It's an Internet user's spy novel where the good guys and bad guys struggle over secrets somewhat more intellectual than just where the secret formula is hidden--they have to gain understanding of what the secret formula actually is.
In this case, the secret formula is a new means of encryption, capable of changing the balance of international power. Part of the fun is that the book takes the reader along into an understanding of encryption technologies. You'll find yourself better understanding the political battles over such real-life technologies as the Clipper Chip and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software even though the book looks at the issues through the eyes of fiction.
Although there's enough globehopping in this book for James Bond, the real battleground is cyberspace, because that's where the "bomb" (or rather, the new encryption algorithm) will explode. Yes, there are a few flaws in the plot if you look too closely, but the cleverness and the sheer fun of it all more than make up for them. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and a lot of high, gee-whiz-level information about encryption, code breaking, and the role they play in international politics. Set aside the whole afternoon and evening for it and have finger food on hand for supper--you may want to read this one straight through. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is one setting for this exciting thriller; the other is Seville, where on page 1 the protagonist, lately dismissed from NSA, drops dead of a supposed heart attack. Though dead, he enjoys a dramaturgical afterlife in the form of his computer program. Digital Fortress creates unbreakable codes, which could render useless NSA's code-cracking supercomputer called TRANSLTR, but the deceased programmer slyly embossed a decryption key on a ring he wore. Pursuit of this ring is the engine of the plot. NSA cryptology boss Trevor Strathmore dispatches linguist Dave Becker to recover the ring, while he and Becker's lover, senior code-cracker Susan Fletcher, ponder the vulnerability of TRANSLTR. In Seville, over-the-top chase scenes abound; meanwhile, the critical events unfold at NSA. In a crescendo of murder, infernos, and explosions, it emerges that Strathmore has as agenda that goes beyond breaching Digital Fortress, and Brown's skill at hinting and concealing Strathmore's deceit will rivet cyber-minded readers. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top customer reviews
The main laugh I had about this book, was that it's plot centers on the urgency of NSA getting hold of information about a so-called "unbreakable code" that some computer genius has invented. I laughed because I am practically a computer know-nothing, and yet, with just a bit of amateur research into cryptography, I myself am easily able to write an "unbreakable code" that neither NSA nor any other cryptographer could crack, and if I wanted to I could use such a code to correspond in emails with anyone else in the world. THerefore it seems silly that in this novel several individuals go through conniption fits and dangle millions of dollars in hopes of getting ownership of such an unbreakable code.
The secret to an unbreakable code is hardly worth millions: it is easily found in some of the basic books on secret codes and cryptography that are readily available to us all, generally for less than $20.
He's on my list of top ten best!
The book takes you on an adventure..as does most Mr. Browns thriller novels...and not only one in the literary sense but also very visual with his in depth description of each city, cave, under ground, over ground, hidden passage, mansion, castle or secret society! I feel like I've been right in the middle of each story. 👍👍👍👍👍
I was going to read this book a long time ago, but someone stopped me. I had read DaVinci Code, and then Angeles and Demons and then Deception Point and then The Lost Symbol, so it made sense to move on to this -the only book of his I hadnt read. Someone said that this book was awful and that I should instead read "Minerva Virus", I read Minerva Virus and while the first 10-15 chapters were awful, the story did pick up and by the end I was loving Minerva, however, there is a bold difference between the two writers. Had Dan Brown written Minerva, I think it would have been a phenomenal masterpiece.
Dan Brown knows how to stretch out a story and fill everypage with interesting details and suspence. You want Dan Browns characters to succeed -both protaganist and antagonist -it is a feeling that is just indescribable and that is what I love about Brown's work.
Digital Fortress is a book about the NSA tapping into the personal lives of the public and one man's effort to stop this behavior that he feels is immoral and un-American. This man claims to have created an unbreakable code which could be downloaded to every computer in the world and once downloaded mainstream people would have a defense against NSA spys. It turns out that the man tricked the NSA Director and so the story just goes on unfolding one mystery after another until it comes to a simple conclusion.
Some people said that they knew how the book would end. I expected the ending I got, but I still enjoyed the journey. It was a great book. I will say that Susan Fletcher was kind of stupid for a supposed genius. My favorite character was Becker. Not only was he cute, but he was brave, unrelenting and brilliant.
I gave this book 4 stars because the overall topic of the story just was not interesting. I really didnt care about some lame old computer virus (or "worm") What I liked about the Minerva Virus was that this virus became a self evolving entity that laid claim over the human race and sought to rule or destroy. That is what I thought this book would be. Oh, well. Dan Brown is still one helluva writer and I look forward to his next work.
Mr.Brown if you are reading this, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, give us another Robert Langdon book.