157. Digital Fortress (Dan Brown)

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Yes, that Dan Brown. He of "The Da'Vinci Code" fame.  Don't judge me.  If you avoid all his religious based story-lines, the ones he's most famous for, he writes a pretty decent thriller.  Digital Fortress was the second of his non-religious books I've read and I enjoyed both of them (I couldn't get through Da Vinci Code to save my life).  Here's the description from his website:

Chillingly current and filled with more intelligence secrets than Tom Clancy, Digital Fortress transports the reader deep within the most powerful intelligence organization on earth–the National Security Agency (NSA)–an ultra-secret, multi-billion dollar agency which (until now) less than three percent of Americans knew existed.  When the NSA’s most classified technological wonder–an invincible code-breaking machine–encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls in its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power.  The NSA is being held hostage… not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it will cripple U.S. intelligence.  Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides she finds herself fighting not only for her country, but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.  With a startling twist that leaves the agency scrambling to avert the biggest intelligence disaster in U.S. history, Digital Fortress never lets up. From the underground hallways of power, to the skyscrapers of Tokyo, to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds.  It is a battle for survival — a crucial bid to destroy a creation of inconceivable genius… an impregnable code-writing formula that threatens to obliterate the balance of power. Forever.

While it may have been "chillingly current" when it was first written in 1998, its a wee bit behind the times 14 years later.  However, its still a pretty good thriller; suspenseful but somewhat predictable.  I had the "kill code" figured out chapers before the characters in the book did.  And the double crossing, deceitful coworker?  Yep, saw that coming too.  I'm no detective but I felt as smart as Jessica Fletcher when my theory was vindicated.  Kids today might think its old fashioned and dated when you compare the technology of today with that in the book but if you can remind yourself when its set, I think you'll enjoy it.


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