Rating: 3/4 (Pretty decent yarn)
I read the novel Digital Fortress over the rainy weekend. This is Dan Brown’s first fictional work. The story involves the ultra secret NSA and its cryptographic department. The NSA has built a computer with 3 million processors named
TRANSLTR which can crack any ciphertext using brute force. But, it is one day challenged with a ciphertext that it cannot crack. The creator of the new encryption algorithm named Digital Fortress threatens to go public with this algorithm if the NSA does not reveal to the world that it has been snooping on the world’s information using TRANSLTR. Wait, there is more. There is a chance that some of USA’s biggest secrets will be revealed to the world.
Compared to the popular The Da Vinci Code, Digital Fortress is amateurish, especially the first half of the novel. The main protagonist is a female cryptographer who is in love and has a fabulous figure to boot! (I am not saying I have seen her, Dan Brown describes her like that. 😉 ) The book rests on cryptography, so the author tries to explain all the crypto jargon in layman terms. This read as quite funny to me in most of the cases. In parts of the book the EFF and the right to information also show up. Thankfully, by the the time I reached the second half, the book became a nail-biting page-turner with Brown throwing up twist after twist. Quite an enjoyable read.