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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Digital Fortress » User review

Great Read!

  • May 6, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
This is the third Brown book I have read (Deception Point & Da Vinci Code are the prior books). Brown has an uncanny ability in all his books to bring the reader in at the beginning and put you on a roller coaster ride that you can't get off. This book is no exception.

Brown seems to like codes and puzzles, which permeate all his books. In this one, a programmer appears to write a cryptographic algorithm that even the NSA's most powerful computer cannot crack. This most powerful computer, TRANSLTR, is a super computer that uses quantum principals to be able to "brute-force" any encryption key that can be written by man in no longer than a few hours. If the NSA cannot crack the algorithm, then they will no longer be able to spy on terrorists and other bad guys, who can encrypt all their messages with this new algorithm (nicknamed Digital Fortress).

The programmer, who designed Digital Fortress, puts the algorithm out on the Internet encrypted with its own algorithm, so it is free to download by anybody and can be later used to do all their encryption, if they have the encryption key that the programmer set in the code. The programmer offers to sell the key to the highest bidder, so there are several powerful individuals that are anxious to get the key at any cost.

The programmer keeps the key etched into a ring he is wearing. Unfortunately for him one of the "anxious" individuals has him killed, but not before he is able to pass the ring off to some innocent bystander. The NSA learning this sends a "school teacher" (David) to retrieve the ring and bring it back to them so they can break the algorithm. The schoolteacher goes on a "treasure hunt" around Spain trying to locate the ring. Unbeknownst to David, he is being trailed by the programmer's killer, who is killing everybody that David has spoken to. The killer is waiting for David to track down the ring so he can eventually kill him.

Meanwhile, David's girlfriend Susan is trying to track down a partner of the programmer, who might have a copy of the key. Susan is a top cryptographer for the NSA and uses various programming methods to try to locate the partner's email account. While this is going on, havoc breaks loose at NSA headquarters with a power failure and a lurking killer.

This book is not quite as good as the other two books I read by Brown. One of the main problems that I could see coming a mile away is that the killer trailing David, efficiently disposes of everybody David has talked to. When the time comes for him to kill
David, he becomes totally inept. I can't really fault Brown on this because this seems to be a popular thread in most thrillers.

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More Digital Fortress reviews
Quick Tip by . August 23, 2010
This is my favorite book by Dan Brown, even though it is a bit simpler than some of the others. It is definitely a good "starter" book into the writings of Dan Brown. I would absolutely recommend this novel.
Quick Tip by . August 08, 2010
A thriller. Moves with movie-like pacing. Not a lot of deeper things from the characters, but an interesting chunk of the world of security and cryptography.
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
Dan Brown books are satirical, easy to read, and worth the time as far as popular books go. This is a suspense thriller and government control of the internet, in terms of privacy of the end user. He questions the extent to which security concerns face off with the privacy of computer users and goverment ability to monitor anyone person usage of it.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
Just like "deception point", this will definitely catch your thoughts.
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
Excellent book for begginers. When you don`t like to read and want to read some action that have nothing to add to your life, read this book.
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
a little slower than his other ones, but still a pretty good read.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
Excellent book, I would really recommend reading this.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Least favorite Dan Brown novel, but still awesome.
review by . March 07, 2009
My first encounter with Dan Brown came with the infamous "Da Vinci Code" which is apparently one of the biggest selling books in history. I read it and I loved it; I didn't see the criticisms that I had heard about Dan's writing and in fact defended it at every opportunity. I was blinded. Blinded by the hype and the sheer ferocity of the media spotlight, I adored this book before even reading it. Now, two years later and I decided to give one of Dan Browns other books a go thinking it would be equally …
review by . March 17, 2005
As a computer professional and a citizen concerned with data privacy, I found a great deal of this story interesting. It is fast-paced, sometimes almost too much so, and builds to a dramatic climax. Like all good mysteries, there are several possible perpetrators, and as you read it, your mental finger of guilt occasionally points to all of them.    The main premise is that the National Security Agency (NSA) has a supercomputer that is capable of cracking all encryption codes in a matter …
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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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About this book

Wiki

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 ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0552151696
ISBN-13: 978-0552151696
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller, Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Date Published: 1998
Format: Paperback
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