Digital FortressTitle : Digital Fortress

Author : Dan Brown

ISBN-10 : 0312335164

ISBN-13 : 978-0312335168

Paperback : 512 pages

The Plot :

Dan Brown’s ‘Digital Fortress’ follows, Susan Fletcher, as she helps to protect the secrets of United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA is an ultra-secret, multibillion dollar agency that is one of the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. Heading it is Trevor Strathmore.

The story starts when NSA’s code breaking supercomputer, TRANSLTR, comes across a new complex code that it is not able to crack, called Digital Fortress. This means that someone has built a code that can surpass the TRANSLTR and this could have some serious repercussions. The head of the NSA, Trevor Strathmore, turns to his best cryptologist, Susan Fletcher to break the code. She tries her best to do everything she can and on the way discovers that the code was developed by Ensei Tankado, who was a disgruntled former employee of the NSA. Tankado believed that the NSA was intruding into peoples’ privacy in the name of providing security.

Tankado makes an elaborate plan with the help of his partner ‘NDAKOTA’ to auction off the algorithm of Digital Fortress, online. This would help the buyer to surpass the NSA’s security mechanisms and could become an issue of national security. Tankado has made provisions for the code to be released on the internet for free if he is killed, giving everyone access to it. He does die but of natural causes and Strathmore asks David Becker, Susan’s fiancé, to travel to Seville and recover a ring that Tankado was wearing when he died. The ring is suspected to have the code that unlocks Digital Fortress. However, Becker soon discovers that Tankado gave the ring away immediately before his death. Each person he questions in the search for the ring is murdered by Hulohot, a mysterious assassin. Meanwhile, telephone calls between “North Dakota” and Numataka, the chairman of a large computer company in Tokyo, reveal that North Dakota hired Hulohot to kill Tankado in order to gain access to the passcode on his ring and speed up the release of the algorithm.

At the NSA, Fletcher’s is sure based on her own investigation that Greg Hale, a fellow NSA employee, is North Dakota. Phil Chartrukian, an NSA technician who is unaware of the Digital Fortress code breaking failure, believes that Digital Fortress is a virus and conducts his own investigation into whether Strathmore allowed Digital Fortress to bypass Gauntlet, NSA’s virus/worm filter. However, Chartrukian is murdered by being pushed off the catwalk in the sub-levels of TRANSLTR by an unknown assailant. Since Hale and Strathmore were both in the sub-levels, Fletcher assumes that Hale is the killer; however, Hale claims that he witnessed Strathmore killing Chartrukian. In a race against time, the entire NSA’s databank at stake, Fletcher tries to uncover who is behind all the murders and the security breach, when she finds out some shocking secrets.

It was an interesting read, fast paced and intriguing. I loved the story line and the characters that seemed realistic at the same time had some exaggerated skills. Over all I liked the book very much and definitely recommend it to people looking for a fast read.


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