Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Digital fortress

Digital Fortress, by Dan Brown, is an exciting thriller set in Spain about a virtual attack on the National Security Agency’s top secret super-computer, called TRANSLTR, the best decoding machine in the world capable of breaking every existing code.

But, the question is: Can an undecipherable code exist? Susan Fletcher, one of the best cryptographers of the NSA can’t believe it when his chief, the assistant director of the agency informs her that he has intercepted a code unbreakable to TRANSLTR.

Ensei Tankado an ex-NSA cryptographer, who dies in the first chapter and actually is the main character of the book, doesn’t like the capability of the computer to decode private e-mails. He is the creator of Digital Fortress, a mathematical code that the super computer can’t break. He threatens to make it available for everybody unless NSA makes the existence of TRANSLTR known to the general public.

Even as Susan scrambles to find Ensei Tankado’s secret partner, she is shocked, angry and scared because Commander Strathmore, her boss, has inexplicably sent her boyfriend David, a normal university professor expert in languages, in a dangerous mission to Spain to recover the unbreakable code’s key, apparently hidden in the corpse of Ensei Tankado, dead in Seville of a heart attack although he might have been killed for that reason. He isn’t the only person who is looking for the key… So, does the key really exist? And if so, will David survive to find it and bring it back knowing that a lethal and methodical killer has the same aim?

This is a race against time, plenty of action, lies and high technology in which Susan Fletcher faced with fear and betrayal will have to fight for her love, her life and her country.

I really enjoyed this best seller; it is gripping, extremely readable and made for people who love action books and thrillers. Despite the publication’s date, this is the first novel written by Dan Brown, the same author as The Da Vinci Code, his most successful story. However, in my humble opinion, I’m very disappointed with the way in which Brown describes Spain: the hospital smelling of urine, for instance or when he says: “Everybody knows about the corruption in the Spanish police”. You can read it, at the end of the day it is fiction, but if you are Spanish, you may feel hurt. It’s up to you!!

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