Digital Dud

Product Image: Digital Fortress

This is the third Dan Brown book I’ve read, the others being Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. It is also the worst. After reading the other two books I was left expecting something similar (fast action, loosely fact based) but set in the worlds of maths and computers. What I actually got was the same book but set in the worlds of maths and computers.

It seems like Brown has got a writers block somewhere along the line. Not to give too much away but this book, like the other two features a shadowy assasin, a strong male college professor lead, a beautiful and intelligant female lead and a seemingly trustworthy old man who turns out to be not as expected.

There were a fair few flaws from the technical side of things too - some of them big, some not, here’s a few from the top of my head.

The weakness of the NSAs operating system (presumably custom wrote to be fine tuned for brute forcing encrypted files) was also staggering, as soon as the “multi level firewall” was down people were in.

The idea that the case on TRANSLTR (the NSAs supercomputer) was “welded shut” wasn’t too clever either, NSA or not, they’re going to get a hardware failure somewhere at some time or another…Especially as they seemingly used off-the-shelf components - the Digital Fortress file never needed recompiling.

Also the idea that TRANSLTR didn’t need to know an encrypted files algorithm in order to unencrypt it. Uhm, it surely does need the algorithm for decrypting it, else how would it decrypt it?

A couple of another annoying things was that Brown apparently doesn’t appreciate the difference between bit and byte, and the constant referring of X11 as x-eleven.

I know that it’s fiction but at least getting the book proof read would’ve cleared up some of the more glaring errors.

Basically the book was ok-ish, if you’re not into computers and haven’t read any of Browns other books. Otherwise you’re probably best off leaving alone, the other books were better written.