Digital Fortress – Dan Brown

This is an older Dan Brown novel, published in 1998, and my favorite from his work. It is a “techno” thriller and it explores the theme of government surveillance.

This is not a Robert Langdon story. Digital Fortress is in fact a few years older than the Langdon series.

Short summary

The USA’s National Security Agency possesses a code-breaking supercomputer called TRANSLTR. One day TRANSLTR encounters a new code, Digital fortress, that it cannot break. NSA’s head cryptographer is called to check on the code, and she finds out that it was written by a former NSA employee, Ensei Tankado. We learn that Ensei became displeased with NSA’s peaking into people’s private lives. 

  The agency soon realizes that this code is a threat to them.

  So, as in every classic thriller, NSA tries to stop the threat, no matter the cost. 

There is a lot of action, gun fights, and some interesting facts, which became Dan Brown’s trademark.

There are also a lot of puzzles witch require to be solved so that the day can be saved.

The book is somewhat based on the recent cryptography history. In 1976 the Data Encryption Standard was approved with a 56-bit key rather than the 64-bit key originally proposed. This was probably because the NSA wanted to crack codes before anyone else.

It’s a bit different than the other works of Dan Brown, but if you enjoyed Da Vinci’s code, or Angels and Demons, or maybe even Deception Point, you should really read this one. Also, if you think cryptography is fun, you are going to enjoy this book.

S. S.


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