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Digital Fortress

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When the National Security Agency's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage... not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence.

Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

(back cover)

510 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 1998

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About the author

Dan Brown

433 books99.7k followers
Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 52 languages around the world with 200 million copies in print.

In 2005, Brown was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, whose editors credited him with “keeping the publishing industry afloat; renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci and early Christian history; spiking tourism to Paris and Rome; a growing membership in secret societies; the ire of Cardinals in Rome; eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven guides to read along with it; a flood of historical thrillers; and a major motion picture franchise.”

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he later returned to teach English before focusing his attention full time to writing.

Brown is currently at work on a new book as well as the Columbia Pictures film version of his most recent novel.

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5 stars
162,707 (26%)
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205,428 (32%)
3 stars
178,667 (28%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,831 reviews
Profile Image for Seizure Romero.
477 reviews147 followers
February 2, 2022
There's a reason why everyone talks about The DaVinci Code and not about this book. I have no idea what that reason would be, because I thought Angels & Demons was mediocre so I never bothered to read the The DaVinci Code. Anyway, I was bored and a copy of this was sitting at the library for a quarter and I thought "WTF, mate, I'll give it a go."

The first page of chapter 1 starts with Susan Fletcher waking from a romantic dream to the ringing of the telephone:

"Susan, it's David. Did I wake you?"
She smiled, rolling over in bed. "I was just dreaming of you. Come over and play."
He laughed. "It's still dark out."
"Mmm." She moaned sensuously. "Then definitely come over and play. We can sleep in before we head north."

That is not a transcription typo, or the manifestation of my unfocused rage. It really does read '"Mmm." She moaned sensuously.' Please feel free to vomit if you need to; I'll wait.

David then proceeds to postpone their plans to celebrate their six-month engagement due to something hush-hush, like maybe his being a big homo. C'mon, what sort of man is going to pass up some sweet, sweet lovin' from his woman before disappearing on a mystery mission? The kind who likes other men, that's what kind. A handful of pages later, it becomes clear that Dan Brown has read too many Clive Cussler novels as we're treated to a description of David Becker:

"Becker was dark--a rugged, youthful thirty-five with sharp green eyes and a wit to match. His strong jaw and taut features reminded Susan of carved marble. Over six feet tall, Becker moved across a squash court faster than any of his colleagues could comprehend. After soundly beating his opponent, he would cool off by dousing his head in a drinking fountain and soaking his tuft of thick, black hair. Then, still dripping, he'd treat his opponent to a fruit shake and a bagel."

Is it just me or does this read like Dan Brown was typing this with one hand? Why does Mr. Stud have the same initials as the author? Why would anyone want a sharp green wit? And is 'fruit shake' some sort of code for a handy? Is that why he is still dripping?

So then, after all this ran through my immature little mind, I remembered I had other books to read--books that didn't suck horrifically within the first ten pages. Yay for other books!

Oh, and I sold it to a used book shop for a dollar, so it was worth the quarter. Yay for used book shops!
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,728 followers
February 8, 2018
A Sincere Debut Novel..

عندما نتحدث عن العمل الأول للمؤلف دائما ما نجد عيوب حبكة، ثرثرة بلا هدف، حشو، شخصيات باهتة..طغيان لايدولوجية المؤلف السياسية بغباء
ولكن في حالة دان براون فالعمل الأول تم 'برمجته' بإتقان..وتلغيمه بالرموز

ايقاع متناسب مثير، معلومات غزيرة لها مكانها بالأحداث، ألغاز، شخصيات قوية 'ثلاثية الابعاد' وأحداث تحبس الأنفاس
وهجوم سياسي محايد وسليم علي أمريكا نفسها، يجعلها رواية عالمية بحق

في رواية سبقت عصرها في المعلومات حول العالم الرقمي والبرمجة وعوالم الانترنت وتاريخه

تبدأ في وكالة أمريكية سرية حقيقية، لها الحق في مراقبة الجميع لحماية امنهم..مهددة بقنبلة ما وشفرة لفكها
ستشعر أن الأمر متوقعا منذ البداية كاي فيلم هوليوودي يحترم نفسه و يتم أيقاف القنبلة بنجاح 3 ثوان قبل أنفجارها
وينتهي الفيلم بأنتصار الأمريكان الطيبيين وبالطبع الأجانب الأشرار يخسروا .. الياباني في هذه الحالة

حسنا، سبويلر ألرت ; الرواية فعلا تنتهي بهذا الشكل
سيتم أيقاف القنبلة أيا كانت قبل 3 ثواني
ولكن نجح فعلا دان براون في تقديم نهاية مرضية جدا بالنسبة لي كمصري, عربي أو كأي أجنبي غير امريكي بنظرية مهمة...من يراقب المراقب؟

It's hard to believe that it's the author's debut novel.
It may seem so 'cliché' by the beginning, a typical Hollywood movie where you know they are gonna stop the bomb 3 seconds before it BoooM , and the good Americans wins, the bad whoever foreigner loses..

Well, it actually ends that way.. yeah, kinda....but Dan Brown provides me a very pleasant satisfying ending for me as Egyptian, Arabian or whoever foreigner.
Who Will Gaurd the Gaurds?

لا أنكر شعوري بعداء خاص تجاه أحد الشخصيات الرئيسية لمجرد أنها تظن أنها أمريكية صالحة ,وتدافع عن حقوق تنتهك حقوق الأخرين

Olympus Has Fallen 2013 وفي فيلم شاهدته مؤخرا بعنوان
لا أنكر انه بمجرد أن سمعت "الكوري الشرير" يقول أنه مجرد كوري لا شمالي ولا جنوبي ويرفض تدخل الولايات المتحدة في تقسيم بلاده بهذا الشكل لهذا أنتقم بهذه الوحشية ضد البيت الأبيض, لا أستطيع أنكار أني كنت متفق معه بشكل كبير

هنا أيضا, كنت أريد الحصن الرقمي أن ينجح , وكنت مشفقا علي الياباني الذي ظهر كعدو بالرواية..وكنت أتمني دمار جهاز المراقبة ذلك طوال الوقت

I believe I hated a main character, hoped the Japanese "so called the bad guy" wins after all, and destroy this American spying machine.
I hated this American arrogant about spying for safety and security ,while that never been used but for excuses to fight and concur countries for Oil.. for only the government's benefits.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

,ولكن الرائع في دان براون هي المفاجأت التي تقلب الأحداث التي يقدمها دائما دائما يثير اعجابي وأن أختلفت معه في بعض الأشياء
كرواية الرمز المفقود The Lost Symbol
فالبرغم من قراءتي لتلك الرواية بعد 3 روايات أشهر له ,صار لدي تنبوء لا بأس به بالمفاجأت التي قد تحدث, ولكنه مازال يفاجئني وبقوة
وكأن له وصفة جاهزة للمفاجأت, خلطة سحرية , شفرة أثارة

The great thing about Dan Brown's novels is the twists he makes, But due to reading this novel after 3 more successful later novels I can predict his twists in this novel,Still he surprised me..
He really got a very interesting formula...very thrilling code.
Without Wax

فمهما تنبأت , دان براون يفوق التوقعات, يفاجأني بقلب للأحداث حتي النهاية عندما تشعر وكأنك صرت تعلم كيف ستسير الأحداث

But , whatever I've predicted , Dan Brown would top it , get me an unexpected twists when I thought that I know how it'll ends..

That's the sign of him , he knows how to thrill you and to surprise you with real unexpected twists.
Like the ring, oh That Ring..
The "Followship" of the Ring

متابعة الخاتم في أوروبا ,أسبانيا كانت ممتعة ومثيرة, بها أجواء الخلطة السحرية لدان براون من التجول في الأماكن السياحية والتاريخية, ووصفها بدقته المعهودة
وبالرغم من أني شعرت أنني سأفتقد روبرت لانجدون في تلك الرواية, ألا أن دان براون نجح فعلا في اضافة كمية معلومات رائعة عن الشفرات , بعض الأماكن السياحية بالأنلدس , القنابل الذرية, بدون شمع , العالم الألكتروني الذي بالرغم من تطوره منذ صدور الرواية لما يزيد عن 15 عاما ألا أنها مازالت معلومات متميزة

والأهم معلومات عن تلك الوكالة الأمريكية التي تقريبا لم يسمع عنها الكثير أيام النيت سكيب ,قبل ثورة الاتصالات الحديثة
Following the ring was really crazy , the code breaking, the spy ، and who spies on whom.. that thriller was really good and it got the "formula" of the touristic style of Dan Brown.

I thought I will miss Langdon so much, yet there's still touristic historical visits, blowing mind information, not just about Internet and digital codes, but even more. Like the atomic bombs and ,of course, NSA.. which I'm sure not many heard about 15 years ago ,when the novel released and it was Netscape ,when the Internet wasn't that big...
... Dan Brown proven that he is way bigger even without Langdon..
Without Wax


Mohammed Arabey محمد العربي
From 13 Nov. 2014
To 18 Nov. 2014

The Review : 7 Jan. 2015

Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,849 followers
April 19, 2020
One could already see the direction Brown would go with his recipe of conspiring the heck out of the literary world with his first work.

Not as good as Angels and Demons and The da Vinci code, but not as bad as The lost symbol, Digital fortress is the career start of a novelist who used good oldfashioned knowledge in a unique, new way on his way to literary immortality.

The art part is small in this one, as it´s more of a technothriller than the more blockbuster mystery high speed pursuit style of the following novels.

One can see that Brown is still tinkering around with his writing style, not always sure where to go and more trying to go futuristic and techy than uchronic and historic. I am heavily biased towards anything Sci-Fi, so I do definitively just give 4 stars because of the setting, without it, it would be closer to a 3.

It´s very funny that the infamous „I don´t care about technical accuracy, have no interest in research, and don´t ask experts to proofread“ mentality is already big in this one, Brown just doesn´t care, the cryptography and tech are hilariously facepalmy. In this case, it´s even more extreme, as it are not just some elements as in the other novels, but the whole plot revolving around topics Brown obviously has no knowledge about, making it unwittingly comedic.

But one also has to have the courage to publish a novel and just don´t caring about it, it´s a special kind of badass attitude and effrontery I appreciate (sorry for that, the dark side strong in me is), although it´s very cheeky and transports false knowledge into poor readers´minds. Bonus points for showing the NSA in a shady light in the year 1998 (and not in 2013, when it became soooo mainstream) and letting his protagonists dealing with the topics of privacy, protection, and the rule of the surveillance, pardon Freudian typo, of course constitutional state.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,265 reviews2,439 followers
September 17, 2022
Susan Fletcher is a mathematician and cryptographer working for NSA (National Security Agency). She deciphers a mysterious code that causes serious repercussions in the USA. This code is so powerful that it causes serious trouble to the NSA.

This book has most of the contents that we expect from Dan Brown. Conspiracies, double agents, lies, and treason. The negative we can point out is that there is no historical extravaganza as seen in other Brown novels. We can't blame it much as it is a techno-thriller.

I wouldn't say I liked this book as much as the Langdon series. But it is still a good one-time read.

My favourite three lines from this book
“Act first, explain later.”

"The NSA lived by its motto: Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer."

"Yeah, if we are the guards of society, then who will watch us and make sure that we're not dangerous ?"
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
April 21, 2022
Digital Fortress, Dan Brown

Digital Fortress is a techno-thriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published in 1998. The book explores the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens, and the possible civil liberties and ethical implications of using such technology. When the National Security Agency's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power.

The NSA is being held hostage... not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «قلعه دیجیتالی»؛ «دژ دیجیتالی»؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیستم ماه می سال2009میلادی

عنوان: قلعه دیجیتالی؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم آرزو کلانی؛ بازبینی نوشین ریشهری؛ تهران، نگارینه؛ سال1385؛ در528ص؛ شابک9789647533935؛ چاپ دوم سال1386؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده امریکا - سده20م

عنوان: دژ دیجیتالی؛ نویسنده: دن براون؛ مترجم: حسن زیادلو؛ ساری، زهره، سال1385؛ در447ص؛ شابک9645704804؛

داستان خیال انگیز نحوه ی گشودن رمزهای محرمانه، که در مراسلات اینترنتی، یا مبادله ی اطلاعات دیجیتالی، توسط سوپر کامپیوترهای سازمانهای اطلاعات کشورها، گشوده میشوند، داده های دقیقی، از نحوه ی کد کردن اطلاعات، در این داستان ارائه شده است؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/02/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 31/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for AJ LeBlanc.
359 reviews34 followers
May 19, 2013
My book group chose this book and I will never forgive them.

I’ve never read anything by Dan Brown. He doesn’t write my type of fiction, so while I was aware that he’s a huge success, I never bothered to pick any of his books up because I knew I wouldn’t be interested.

What I didn’t know is how much of a shit writer he is.

I’m sure he cries into a giant pile of money every single time someone tells him that.

Digital Fortress is about the government and secrecy. Susan Fletcher works for a super top secret government agency called NSA that cracks codes to read emails and save the world. How do I remember that her name is Susan Fletcher? Susan Fletcher is referred to as Susan Fletcher on every page that Susan Fletcher appears on. Apparently Brown is worried that people won’t remember that Susan Fletcher is one of the main character is his book Digital Fortress by Dan Brown.

Susan Fletcher is the best code breaker NSA has. Susan Fletcher is also beautiful and perfect and everyone loves her and wants to do her. Susan Fletcher has a brilliant mind. Susan Fletcher is also very attractive. Susan Fletcher is also smart. People look at Susan Fletcher and think to themselves “How does an IQ of 170 fit into a body that attractive? I am going to think more of these thoughts so that the reader of Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress will know what Susan Fletcher looks like in the book Digital Fortress by Dan Brown.”

Your first drinking game is to take a shot every time someone chuckles.

Your next drinking game is to empty a Red Solo Cup every time someone’s eyes are described as strong hazel, deep green, inky black, sable, gray, or any other color that barely exists in real life. Yes, people do have these eyes, and apparently they all live in Dan Brown’s world. Dan Brown wrote the book Digital Fortress.

If you do not drink and are into health, do push ups or squats or something instead of pounding booze. Either way, we’re all going to crumple to the floor and throw up.

When Susan Fletcher is called in to work on a Saturday by Commander Strathmore, head of NSA, Susan Fletcher knows that something must be very wrong. Susan Fletcher was supposed to be on a vacation with her finance David Becker. David Becker is beautiful and smart. David Becker plays squash and no one minds when David Becker puts his entire head into the water fountain to wash away the sweat. David Becker is that amazing.

Turns out that the Commander has sent David Becker, Susan Fletcher’s finance, to Spain, even though David Becker does not work for NSA. Susan Fletcher thinks thoughts to tell the reader how important NSA is.

Seriously, how is this guy a big name writer? I just don’t get it.
Dan Brown, the author of Digital Fortress, does not have time for important things like “Show, don’t tell.” when it comes to writing his books. Dan Brown wants to get to the important things like telling the reader how intelligent and beautiful Susan Fletcher and David Becker are. Susan Fletcher and David Becker are engaged. Susan Fletcher and David Becker have been engaged for six months. Susan Fletcher tells David Becker this when she says “You do remember we’re engaged, don’t you?” which is exactly what people in real life would say if they wanted to let you know that they were engaged.

Susan Fetcher stays underground in the NSA bunker trying to figure out what is wrong with their giant, enormous, massive, expensive, costly, top secret, classified translator project. The computer is used to cull through email and crack codes and save the entire planet. It has done so successfully. But now it has found a code that it cannot crack and Susan Fletcher has to use her beautiful body and intelligent mind to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, in Spain, David Becker is on a crazy journey of his own. He has to find a ring because it somehow has something to do with this code. He is able to follow thin clues to track the ring from person to person. Apparently David Becker, with no training (because if he had training, someone in the book Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, would have told us about it) becomes the world’s most brilliant detective. Oh, and also David Becker is given stupid coincidences that tell him where to go next. David Becker is smart and is able to use these giant arrows to find the next person to talk to.

Of course everything turns out to be suspicious and there’s lots of traitors and threats from every side. One thing I did like about the book Digital Fortress, written by Dan Brown, is that there were parts where I honestly didn’t know who the bad guy was. Luckily Dan Brown quickly tells information to make me pay attention to a specific character in his book Digital Fortress and I, the reader, can get back to the important part which is remembering that Susan Fletcher and David Becker are engaged and they are both very intelligent and very beautiful.

The crazy ending was kind of fun because everyone was in the same place sort of screaming and trying to solve the problem before the entire government was shut down, but other than that… What the fuck, America? This is one of our top selling authors?

In conclusion, I did not like the book Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. Not only do I not care for this type of story, I could not get past the writing. How does this happen?

I don’t care if this makes me sound like a book snob, but seriously, this is who we’ve chosen as one of our Must Read Authors? For fuck’s sake.

My book group meets tomorrow and I’m bringing a giant list of discussion questions. Apparently they all hated the book too, including the two people who suggested it for this month. Way to make the rest of us pay for your mistakes.
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
March 30, 2012
I work in the Information Technology field so relating to this book was easy for me. I don’t know anything about NSA (National Security Agency) and how they operate but I know stuff like encryption, algorithm, anagram, computer virus, code-breaking, etc. So, this book glued me from start to finish. My officemate has been telling me that this is his favorite Dan Brown book. He said that since I’ve read all his 4 other novels, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Deception Point (all 3 stars, i.e., I liked them!) and The Lost Symbol (2 stars, i.e., It’s okay!) and I am glad that I finally read this book. Hurray, I am now a Dan Brown completist!

I liked the story. NSA has a program that can track personal conversations around the world. One employee gets angry so he becomes a whistleblower. NSA hires a pretty detective (not yet Robert Langdon since this is Dan Brown’s first novel) and she is so hot most of the male characters in this book lust for her. This lust for her body and for power (as usual) basically becomes the driving force for all these men to outwit or kill each other or even themselves. The plot is a little overpopulated by characters and the twists are a bit too many to become coincidental. However, this is Dan Brown’s first novel so they are expected. Just like any other first time novelists, Brown was trying to prove that he could intricately weave a suspenseful yet unbelievable plot.

Wikipedia says that this book was based on real-life incident in cryptography. The story seems to tell me that Dan Brown not only did his thorough research on the topic but was also able to anticipate what NSA would do. He was a step ahead of NSA or maybe the NSA was influenced by the book. This one was not coincidence, I think. Or maybe Dan Brown was clever enough to befriend an insider in NSA. I just did not have any idea how a novelist could have access to NSA. Or maybe I am reading too many suspense-thriller books (Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, John Grisham, etc) that my rational thinking is now tainted with all these far-fetched possibilities or thoughts.

Dan Brown was born on the same year I was, i.e., 1964. His books have been translated in many languages and stayed in New York’s Bestsellers’ List and adapted into big movie blockbusters. Wimps cannot do just those. I like Dan Brown definitely not for his literary prowess, i.e., his writing is ordinary, but for his imagination and the efforts that he put in his research. He just does not sit down and types away his thoughts. He backs those up with facts. He goes to the museums in Paris or Capital Building, looks up on all the writings or symbols on the wall, paintings, towers. He reads history and current events and incorporates those to his plot. So, let’s spare this guy from our senseless tirades. We just cannot ignore the fact that he knows his trade. His books deserve to be read. His efforts deserve to be appreciated.
Profile Image for Ninoska Goris.
269 reviews162 followers
September 17, 2018
Español - English

Este es el primer libro escrito por Dan Brown y, aunque es bueno, no tiene el mismo enganche que los siguientes.

Tampoco esta Robert Landon.

La NSA ha interceptado un código pero no lo pueden decifrar. La única pista esta oculta en el cadáver de Ensei Takado, fallecido en España.


This is the first book written by Dan Brown and, although it is good, it does not have the same hook as the following ones.

Nor is Robert Landon.

The NSA has intercepted a code but can not decipher it. The only clue is hidden in the body of Ensei Takado, who died in Spain.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
September 22, 2016
Dan Brown is not just Da Vinci Code! This is a pretty good cyber-thriller. It resonates well in a world where data security and hacking are a part of the daily news. Check it out if you are a fan of fast paced thrillers with lots of suspense. (It has short chapters, too, which I like a lot)
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,217 followers
April 8, 2017

Spine wrecking thriller. Never could I put my popcorn down.

A complete and comprehensive review on my lists this year!
Profile Image for Fabian.
956 reviews1,624 followers
December 6, 2018
The topic is quite interesting & having an author perfectly fit the shoes of one so revered (talking, of course about the late great Michael Crichton) is truly magnificent, in my book. This thriller is fast (hooray!) & riveting. It is relevant to modern times & some reviewers have gone as far as calling it plausible.

But it must be said that its an adventure less compelling than The Da Vinci Code, even more contrived; devoid of interesting characters but plagued with dead ends, ineffective repetitiveness, empty journeys. While many characters deal with differently major or minor catastrophes, the short chapters speed by. The plot, if dissected, would resemble this: a career girl (& therefore, one lacking of a personality, other than being described as being incredibly fond of expensive shoes [as if such an example would underscore her femininity:]) stuck in a compound, perplexed by computer screens and consoles, hurrying to save humanity before the doomsday clock strikes; her boyfriend, a prof. with sure and extreme luck out on a wild goose chase (in--Sevilla, Spain! AWESUM!), a fish out of water with a blind purpose (and again, afflicted with the No Personality Syndrome along with his contemporary drones); and other tech nerds, out trying to physically or technologically (whatever that means... the novel tries to personify what's intangible: cyberspace) um, save the planet. There are codes and puzzles along the way, easy to decipher and sometimes overly-explained by these tech- (and only tech-) minded, overpaid, individuals.

Because it was educational, fun, sometimes (I say this with a grain of salt) unpredictable, it should be read. Expect no Waugh or Hawthorne, but Crichton, or at least a worthy imitation. It is definitely a dumb action adventure but if it captures you, and it will, then just take the ride. It's as harmless as impersonating the protagonist: your eyes will move and your body will mostly be in repose. But something within the human machine will be processed in some way, surely.
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,717 followers
January 6, 2021
Digital Fortress is the first book Dan Brown published, and it's the last of his that I read. I am now up to date and awaiting whatever comes next (outside his newer children's release). I enjoy thrillers and suspense novels, but I haven't figured out my favorite authors in this genre yet. I'm determined to make that a 2021 reading goal. Before I head there, let's chat about this book.

Published in 1998, the key thing readers must remember is that if you're devouring it now, remember how much technology and security has changed in the last two decades. Much of the theory and approach is different today, and while you don't need to understand technology to enjoy the book, it helps... and if you know a bit about it (I work in the field), you will feel a different connection. I admit fully, it was a little too technical at times... not that I didn't understand it, but I couldn't focus on the story.

Overall, the plot is intriguing. A man dies, he threatened to reveal all the US secrets from the NSA site. He had a virus and an unbreakable code. What that actually means is very different from what we come to learn in the book. I was excited to solve the very last puzzle and work out the answer on my own... so that was a nice ending.

The main character is a female technologist working for a male head of the NSA (okay two male heads, one is African American, one is Caucasian). So, right from the beginning, I was glad to see the diversity and that it was somewhat ahead of its times. Nonetheless, she is engaged and her husband-to-be is involved in the plot. A few trips through Europe, a political nightmare, and lots of fiery explosions. And some murders too!

I'll go with a 3.5 rounded up here. Mostly, the plot is stretched. There is no reason the main character's fiancé needed to be the one to go to Spain. It felt like a plot device... which I don't mind, if he truly was qualified and we got to know him more. That said, I felt like we got to know him better than the main character too. She was smart and highly qualified, and she kicked butt several times, but I knew nothing about her personally. I felt a bit too distanced.

The villain dies immediately. Or one of them. So that was a different experience. But all the engaging, quick dialog and action scenes are spot on. It shows why he evolved into a great writer.
Of all his books, probably in the bottom half of my faves... but still one to read if you like these types of novels. It will pull you in.
Profile Image for Ehsan.
72 reviews235 followers
February 25, 2009
هل أنت مبرمج ؟
إذاً ، لا تفوت قراءة هذه الرواية :)
عامة الناس سوف يستمتعون بقراءتها ، وأنتَ وحدك من سوف يفهم ما وراء سطورها
وشيفراتها ، سوف تشعر بأنها تعنيك أنتَ وحدكـ .

أذهلتني هذه الرواية ، عشتُها لحظةً بلحظة ، حرفاً بحرف ، كنتُ أستيقظ باكرًا لأبدأ قراءتها حتَّى تتعب عيناي ، مختلفةً هذه الحكاية عن كل ما قرأتُه وسوف أقرأه !.

سؤالين يتبادران إلى ذهني الآن ، أولهما / ما هو تخصص دان براون ؟ التاريخ ؟ علم الأديان ؟ أم البرمجة :)

السؤال الآخر / لماذا النساء في روايات بروان مثالياتٌ إلى حدٍّ غبي ؟

Profile Image for Michelle.
1,379 reviews140 followers
October 25, 2020
This was just ok for me, I think I expected more because I enjoyed his others so much.
Profile Image for Ankit Agrawal.
68 reviews45 followers
April 26, 2013
No matter what people want to say about Dan Brown or his books or hatred towards him you got to admire the fact that what he brings to the table no one else does.

This was the book which brought me to the beautiful world of books. Before reading this book I though reading was a bit cissy and a waste of time since everything is fictional, why not better read some spiritual/self help and knowledge books. After reading this book everything changed, I started to read more and more fiction and today books have become one of the most important parts of my life all thanks to this books.

Today I have read all of Dan Brown books apart from Angels & Demons but this book remains to be my favorite. I agree that he is not a great writer and uses the same formula in every of his books, not versatile at all. But he holds a special place and I will always hold a special place in my bookshelf because of the reasons I mentioned above.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,943 reviews607 followers
August 3, 2022
That's one of the most mediocre (not to say wrong) novels by bestselling author Dan Brown. Some have called "Digital Fortress" an excellent techno-thriller. Comparing this novel to the others fully highlighted the scientific side; however, I was bored with these technological digressions for a plot and a final in all disappointing. Bad pick!
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
August 20, 2009
I don't even remember what this one is about. There's a CIA computer technician, and all I can remember about her is the scene where a security guard is ogling her sweet, sweet ass and wondering in bafflement how a woman with a 192 IQ could be so damn fuckable. Also, I'm pretty sure she saves the world with computers, but we're not supposed to care because she does it while her shirt is partially unbuttoned. She may have gotten wet at some point, too.

Profile Image for Kim.
142 reviews31 followers
December 4, 2013
I'm not sure what to believe after reading this book. I've always liked Dan Brown's books because he writes so realistically, using big words to belittle readers about how little they know.
Or so I thought.
After reading this book, I did a little snooping of my own (OK, those were big words too, I just used Google) and realised that most of the technology, computers and cool machinery did not exist. In fact, Goodreads was an excellent source of information of unhappy reviewers tearing down this book's credibility. Gee, I was really hoping that those stuff were as cool as mentioned in Digital Fortress.
But that asides, there are some historical facts and figures that ARE real, if not as cool. NSA. Cryptology. Enigma. Although I can't say that Brown's books are an excellent crash course for a myriad of whacky subjects, his writings definitely introduced readers to an entirely whole new world that most of us would have otherwise never have dreamt about.
Having that said, I can't say that Brown's writing style is my favourite. His books usually start off well, but kind of go downhill somewhat at the end. His plot developments are not the best I've come across, although how he comes up with them in the bloody first place is unthinkable. But I must say, there is a significant similarity between the plots in most, if not all, of his books. It doesn't take a cryptologist to figure it out. Now before this I've only read 3 of his books (OK that may be quite a lot already) and my recent awareness of such similarity has indeed taken out most surprises within Brown's novels.
No spoiler here, though I'm sure most of us can tell what it is by now. I would still recommend Dan Brown's books any day, despite the slight low ratings on Goodreads. I am aware that most readers claim that Brown has twisted reality to the most atrocious of levels. Thankfully, for a person with no clue about any of the topics he's ever written about so far, I have no problem with enjoying the book at all. But I'm sure that if Dan Brown were to write about something I was excellent at and passionate about - watching TV, Facebooking, sleeping - he'd be getting a thrashing from me as well.
Profile Image for Caela Harrison.
17 reviews11 followers
February 16, 2008
Reading Dan Brown books is a bit like watching porn. Mildly enjoyable at the time, but not really something you'd like your friends or family to know about.

Digital Fortress starts as it means to go on, with two-dimensional characters in a whirlwind of mystery and action. The cast never evolves beyond cardboard cut-out level, but the plot does pick up through various levels of incredulity and intrigue to a climax that ends up shallow and disappointing, leaving the reader feeling cheap and cheated.

I understand why Brown is popular - the cookie-cutter formula, the "intelligent" yet criminally dim hero, the assasin and the "good guy turned mortal enemy" recipe is appealing to the masses - but can't help feeling that these books should be kept hidden on the top shelf, away from prying eyes and impressionable minds.
Profile Image for Saadia  B..
184 reviews75 followers
July 25, 2021
Susan Fletcher was the head of NSA's Cryptography Division while Becker was a university professor who helped government agencies with translation other than his full time job.

NSA built a new code decipher TRANSLTR worth $2 billion but kept it as a secret. They recieved a code which was indecipherable even by TRANSLTR. The code was sent in by Ensei Tankado who was an ex-employee of NSA. He was thrown out of the organization because he always broke rules.

Ensei believed in human rights of communication which TRANSLTR was violating as it could decipher any code. The program he wrote created an unbreakable code - the ultimate counterintelligence weapon.

Ensei was found dead in Spain hence Becker was sent to Spain to get the copy of the pass-key, which was encrypted on his ring. He gave away the ring to a stranger before dying. To make things more complicated even tricked NSA by letting them snoop his emails, which led to a fake partner and a file.

Strathmore, Susan's boss sent that file to the TRANSLTR to decipher. Strathmore's vision was a world encryption standard with a back door for the NSA, so that he could keep an eye of all sorts of communication happening around the world.

Due to extensive heat TRANSLTR blew itself, killing Strathmore. TRANSLTR was linked with a database hence it was important to save it. At last, they found Ensei's clue in his video and saved the database from hackers.

USA's obsession with keeping an eye on all sorts of communication in quite evident in this book, the reality of which not many know. US might blame other countries for keeping a track on humans and their data, but whether they want to admit it not, they do the exact same thing.

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Profile Image for Divine.
337 reviews167 followers
April 4, 2019
"Who will guard the guards?"
This is my first Dan Brown book and as cliche goes this would surely not be my last! Originally, I started reading this last May but never got around to finishing it after I stopped at Chapter 20, and I must say that despite of the 5-month hiatus, I could still remember the details vividly. This was a wildly entertaining and the kind of info-dumpy book that I'm eager to read. The way Dan Brown paces the whole plot with (surprisingly!) digestible chapters really made the reading experience worth it. Digital Fortress is kind of a crash course to cryptography and etymology. This is highly educational and despite of the overwhelming cryptography details, I wasn't fazed at all.

We follow two main POV's namely that of NSA head cryptographer Susan Fletcher and her fiance David Becker when they both embarked on separate courses in dismantling and understanding the enigmatic Digital Fortress. Next thing you know, you'll be getting an action packed trip in Seville, Spain and roam the ever elusive setup of NSA and the world of cryptography. This is a one of akind book for me and I definitely would see myself rereading it. Also I learned a few tricks in basic cryptography because of this book! To anyone who can crack the code, uhmmmmm I'll definitely like every review you post from here on out! HAHAHAH

191-41-51-520-09-15-251-11-21-213-13-02-19-09-0505-01 15 192020 THISS IS FUUUNNN

Update: (April 4, 2019) I can no longer crack whatever mish mash of attempted "code" I wrote here HAHAHAH
Profile Image for Baba.
3,618 reviews985 followers
May 9, 2021
Brown's techno thriller that explores the relationship between the masses and the agencies and corporations that amass and store data on us as individuals - and it's impact on civil liberties.
Another monstrous global best seller who's books compose of the perfect storm of compelling story, weak writing, controversial subjects and pissing off the literati! Better than The Da Vinci Code in my opinion :) 7 out of 12.
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Profile Image for مصطفي سليمان.
Author 2 books2,102 followers
November 10, 2017
اول مرة الرواية اتنشرت كانت 1998
عادي ايه المشكلة

لا ابدا مفيش مشاكل
المشكلة البسيطة
انه بيتكلم ف تقنيات في الانترنت
وفي شغل برمجة واخترقات وشفرات
وجو الكتروني يحسسك اننا بنتعامل مع جهاز الكمبيوتير
كانه رايو وتلفزيون

انا اتقفلت وانا بقرأ الرواية دي كذا مرة
انا مش فاهم
الراجل بيقول كلام مهم وواضح هو عارف بيتكلم كويس عن ايه

لان دان براون مش بيكتب علشان اكل العيش صعب
الراجل بيكتب وبيعمل ابحاث مطولة بالسنين
طيب بالنسبة للرواية دي
عن الانترنت ف سنة 1998
ايه بقي؟

خدعة لطيفة جننتي ف نهاية الرواية وخلاص والدينا تمام وكل واحد عرف راسه من رجله

يقوم يا مؤمن ف اخر صفحة

يحطلك هدية لطيفة


شفرة ليك
انا واحد صحبي فضلنا فترة بنحاول نفهم الدينا
ف الاخر الواد اقنعني قالي افرض اننا فضلنا عاملين نهاتي
وبنحال نحلها
وف الاخر

تمت بحمد الله
ايه شعورك

: )

اكتشتفت دلوقتي ازاي بتتحل وانا بدور عليها
الحل كان بسيط والله
يلا ما علينا
رواية لهواة الشبكات والانترنت والهاكرز
وكل الناس اللي بتدور علي بعضها
دان براون بيتك علي الجرح هنا
Profile Image for Amanda Bannister.
445 reviews9 followers
March 21, 2021
Full of twists and turns, and in true Dan Brown style, fast paced to keep you turning the pages. I had an inkling quite early on, but even that came with a twist!
Profile Image for Samuel.
12 reviews1 follower
February 17, 2009
What would happen if every nation and person in the would, with a computer, could access every top secret file of the government? This is what Susan Fletcher and David Becker have to prevent in Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. With a lot of action and suspense Digital Fortress is a book for anyone who likes action.

Dan Brown wrote many other action novels. I have read all of them and this novel is just as good of a read as the rest. This novel is written in the same style as all the others. Leaving in the suspense in all his books, Dan Brown makes all his novels an exiting read.

The United States government has just bought a huge computer that can unscramble any code called TRANSLTR. A top secret government agency called National Security Agency, NSA, has purchased this computer to prevent terrorist from sending coded messages to other terrorist inside or out of the United States. Thinking the people of the US may considerTRANSLTR a breech of privacy, the government never told any one about the device.

Susan Fletcher is the head Cryptographer at the NSA Crypto facility. David Becker is a foreign-language specialist Georgetown University. Commander Greg Strathmore is in charge of the facility. There also are three other Cryptographers and many engineers who work on TRANSLTR in the facility.

Susan Fletcher head Cryptographer notices a code that TRANSLTR has been working on for Eighteen hours, and most files take less than one hour. A few days latter a strange address sends them an email. Sending the email, let the NSA figure up a way to shut down Digital Fortress. The virus that will shut downTRANSLTER and expose the main government data bank to any one with Internet access. Exposing the data bank, will put the nation at risk of attack and total chaos of the citizens.

The NSA sends in David Becker to receive the ring that has the code to shut down Digital Fortress. In the mean time, Susan Fletcher is trying to convince the head boss of the whole operation that there is a problem. David is nearly shot to death, and Susan is nearly blown to bits. Will the two succeed?

I would recommend this book to anyone. This book has got a lot of action, and is a story that leaves you wandering, what if. However, if you have a little bit of a soft stomach this novel will leave you wanting to turn away at times. This book is for any one who likes to left on the edge of there seat for the whole story, till the end.
Profile Image for Radwa.
Author 1 book2,109 followers
May 1, 2012
رسميا .. أصبح دان براون هو الروائى المفضل لى
رواية فيها رومانسية . خطر . إثارة . و مغامرة رائعة كعادته
و الأشخاص بتتكشف بطرق فظيعة .. و كنت بحس بالتوتر بيزيد مع كل صفحة
هى عبارة عن مركز الأمن القومى فى أمريكا عندما تتم محاولات اختراقه
رااااائعة .. و فعلا من أروع ما قرأت
أنا أحترم هذا الرجل !!

Officially Dan brown is my favorite author now!
the novel has got it all, danger, romance, excitement, and a great adventure as always
the revealing of each character's role & plot is amazing and the tension gets bigger
with every page.
it's an adventure inside on of the most secure places for national safety in the USA
and it's being hacked!
magnificent and you can't expect any thine less from this man.
January 26, 2018
Review also at

What a ride! All I can say is Dan Brown is one hell of a thriller writer! I will admit that this type of book is not really my cup of tea (I picked it up on a whim) because I’m more of a fantasy/ paranormal fan and this was far from that. I also will admit I nearly didn’t read this and nearly sent it back to the library so I could have more fantasy books. I’m so glad I thought otherwise!

From reading other reviews, Dan Brown has been described as “a master of smart thrills” and I must say I agree. There was a lot of research done for this book and I liked how the author managed to give us the techno descriptions of cryptography and the workings of technology…
without either boring us or being too over complicated that we lose the plot. Nope, everything was explained in an understandable and exciting way making the story for me, flow very fast. I should also mention that some of the one star reviews claimed that the information in this book was incorrect. I can’t really say anything on this as I know practically nothing about cryptography and coding but I will say the author managed to make it all sound very real and correct.

Another thing I liked was the development of the characters. Yep they were all very layered especially the bad guys. Wow, this author can definitely create interesting character backgrounds where not everyone’s motifs are always clear. The only thing I didn’t really like was the fact that the characters personalities weren’t fully explored/developed. I just would have liked the characters to have more feelings and emotions about them but that’s just me.

So, this was my first Dan Brown book and I’ll tell you this, it will not be my last! Now that I’ve read this I can’t wait to start on his Robert Langdon books because from what I’ve heard, they are quite deep. Either way, due to the fast breakneck pace of this book (there was never a boring moment) and the simple explanations of complicated topics, it makes me wonder why there are so many one star reviews…. I guess I’ll find that out (or not) when I read more 😛

Who I’d recommend this for

I would say anyone who loves a good thriller should read this and those who like thoughtful topics as well as action should also give this a try.

Profile Image for Lissa.
86 reviews7 followers
March 12, 2017
Oh Dan Brown, how I love to hate you. It seems a universal truth that when you have run out of all of the books to read that you’ve brought with you, it is impossible to find decent reading material wherever you are.

Shamefully, I’ve actually read most of his books. I read Angels and Demons because someone recommended it to me. Though I found his writing to be extraordinarily poor, I found the story to be engaging enough to overlook that fact. I didn’t guess the ending, and it posited some fascinating ideas about history. I read The DaVinici Code because everyone was reading it and because I liked Angels and Demons. The DaVinici Code was written equally poorly, but I noticed a lot of similarities in the plots of the two novels. But it was still an entertaining read so I figured I’d forgive it. Then, on my way to Costa Rica, I realized that I didn’t bring enough books with me for the plan ride. I went to the bookstore in Charlotte, North Carolina and picked up Deception Point, yet another Dan Brown masterpiece. The plot of this book was “The DaVinci Code Goes Arctic”. That’s when I realized that Dan Brown came up with one good plot and he’s just recycling it over and over again.

Even so, faced with the prospect of Rich Dad, Poor Dad or He’s Just Not In To You, I picked up Digital Fortress. I do think his writing is getting better, but I had the ending of the book figured out within the first ten pages. I didn’t even have to read the ending first to know what was going to happen. Maybe I’ll register Digital Fortress on bookcrossing and send it out into the world.
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