Friday, January 15, 2010

Digital Fortress, Dan Brown

Title: Digital Fortress
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Suspense
Pages: 384
What you'll love: Fast paced.
What will bug you: Some technical references that will leave you thinking "Come on... really?"

I love the pace of Dan Brown novels. This high intensity book was just what I needed.

The premise of "Digital Fortress" is that the NSA (National Security Agency) has encountered a code that their state of the art code breaking machine
TRSNSLTR is unable to crack. The NSA calls in their head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher. She discovers that the NSA is essentially being held hostage by the release of this "unbreakable" code. It is a matter of US intelligence that the problem is rectified. In the meantime, her fiancee, David Becker, has been sent to Spain to do a little job for the NSA. A professor of foreign language, Becker has been given the job of tracking down the pass key which will break the code which is tying the hands of the NSA. Both Susan and David find themselves fighting not only for their country, but for their lives.The story is told alternating between Susan, David, and some other secondary characters. As with all Dan Brown novels, it is extremely fast paced - which I loved! After reading "Interview with the Vampire" - a wonderful book with virtually no stopping points in the story - a Dan Brown novel was just the ticket! If you've never read anything by Dan Brown, you should! "Digital Fortress" had 128 chapters, most of which ended with a cliffhanger. I found myself up late just having to read one more short chapter to find out what happens! I love it when books do that!

I thought that Susan Fletcher's good looks were played up a little bit. Maybe I'm just feeling insecure this week about my gym absences... :) It just seems like when there's a main female character, she just has to be beautiful and sexy.

I loved how the book jumped between the NSA headquarters and Spain. It was very interestin
g, and it made the book go even faster, believe it or not. I would leave off in Spain, and find myself reading the next couple of chapters so I could find out what David Becker did next.

The one thing that bugged me? First off. The book was written in 1998. I know! It wasn't that long ago! However... there have been many advancements in technology since the late 90's. I kept thinking "Ugh... can't he just call on his cell phone?" There are little scenes - Susan telling the person next to her "Let's go surfing", meaning "surf the web" of course - that are a little dated. But what do you want? I expected it.

At the end there was one scene that had me rolling my eyes, though. This may be a spoiler - not a lot, but if you're nervous about it you should skip to the next paragraph. OK, are they gone? Good. They were talking about security and firewalls going down. They were displaying it visually - the core being the information behind the firewall, and bulls eye rings representing the layers of security. As the firewalls weakened, they showed black lines of "hackers" and other users trying to access and permeate the firewalls. I thought it was a little silly. How would anyone know the firewalls were being weakened? They wouldn't know until they were gone. OK, it's not a huge deal, but that little visual display bothered me.

OK, you can come back. We're back in the no spoiler zone! :)

Overall, I thought the book was great. It's what I expect in a Dan Brown novel. A fast moving
story that's full of suspense. I didn't like it as much as "The Da Vinci Code" or "Angels and Demons", but still very very good. Click here for more information on Dan Brown!

Five wine glasses!

Interested in "Digital Fortress"? Check it out on my astore - if you buy through it I get a teeny tiny cut from Amazon!

Any thoughts? Let us know!

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