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Digital Fortress by Dan Brown is a thriller revolving around secrets of the NSA (National Security Association). One of these secrets that Brown lets us in on, is the existence of "TRANSLTR" a code breaking machine that can comb through encrypted emails at record breaking speed. Susan Fletcher, a bright, beautiful young woman works as the head cryptographer, and is disturbed when she receives notice that TRANSLTR has encountered a mysterious code that it can't break. She soon uncovers that the NSA is being targeted by a familiar face, that hopes to destroy national security as we know it. Her fiancé David Beck is contacted to work undercover for the NSA, because of his proficiency in several languages, and tough minded ness. However plans go a wry and in the face of danger Susan finds herself fighting for her job, national safety, and even the man she loves.
Upon some research after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that no true cryptographers, or even mathematicians were appointed to read the manuscript. Digital Fortress contains many factual errors (SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON) about 64 bit codes, mutation strings, rotating clear text and other important details from the plot. For example, 64 bit codes can be written with as few as 16 characters, however in the story it is stated as fact that they require at least 64 characters.
Aside from these flaws, the book it's self is entertaining and a fun read. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, however disappointing the final one may be. Some dialogue seems stale or unrealistic to the characters, but where characters lack in characterization, they make up in creative circumstance.
I would recommend this book to any deep thinkers ages 13-17, but definitely not to those who truly love mathematics and cryptology. I was able to read the book and enjoy it because of my ignorance to these subjects, so if that's you, I highly recommend! But if it's not, you may find yourself distracted and annoyed by the over all incorrectness of the book; unable to enjoy the story itself.
One last point, David Beck... Dan Brown..
Food for thought.
Feb 18, 2010
Typical Dan Brown
A good, typical Dan Brown novel.
Suspense novel, with a twist...early work before he got too predictable with "The Lost Symbol."
A recommended read.
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