Digital Fortress

One of my dear friends, Manju, loaned me a copy of Dan Brown’s   Digital Fortress  and since I did not have a lot of other things to do, I decided to give it a go. A big event for me, considering my recent laziness in reading books.. well doing anything rather, even blogging ;)

It ended up being a major disappointment. Well atleast compared to Brown’s more famous   The Da Vinci Code  , this one scores pretty low. The most dismal thing about the book was the plethora of factual errors it had. Being someone very interested in computer science and also in Cryptography it was really difficult to read it ignoring all those glaring mistakes. Hmm. One of the basic ‘characters’ in the novel, the super computer called TRANSLATR itself is based on total stupidity. It claims to be able to crack any encrypted message in the world. I can’t even think, how a computer (how “super” it may be) can crack any encrypted message without even knowing what the algorithm behind it is. The math provided in the book is so inaccurate too.

But to its merit, it did provide some food for thought at times. I especially liked the quote “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” – Who will guard those who guard us. Hmm. Something to think about. There is also some good suspense during the later middle part of the novel. But the end was rather exaggerated, and again filled with horrible factual errors.. especially the one about the Nagasaki nuclear bombs.

On the whole I think Brown wasted a brilliant theme :(. I would stamp   Digital Fortress  as “barely readable”. Don’t pick this one up, unless you can’t find anything else. Only if Mr. Brown had done some research…

And Nandini, I dont believe you liked this book so much!!

Further Reading:

  • An analysis of errors in Digital Fortress »     (
  • A blogged review of Digital Fortress »     (
  • Wikipedia article »     (
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