Digital Fortress

Writer: Dan Brown

Genre: Science Fiction, Techno Thriler

Language: English

Translated in: 24 different languages

Catalog Reference: ISBN 
Appreciations Received: 
I have chosen only a very few…

Times –
“Engaged me instantly…keeps up a cracking pace as the mystery deepens and disaster follows disaster.”
Book list –
“The National Security Agency (NSA) is one setting for this exciting thriller; the other is Seville, where on page 1 the protagonist, lately dismissed from NSA, drops dead of a supposed heart attack. Though dead, he enjoys a dramaturgical afterlife in the form of his computer program. Digital Fortress creates unbreakable codes, which could render useless NSA’s code-cracking supercomputer called TRANSLTR, but the deceased programmer slyly embossed a decryption key on a ring he wore. Pursuit of this ring is the engine of the plot. NSA cryptology boss Trevor Strathmore dispatches linguist Dave Becker to recover the ring, while he and Becker’s lover, senior code-cracker Susan Fletcher, ponder the vulnerability of TRANSLTR. In Seville, over-the-top chase scenes abound; meanwhile, the critical events unfold at NSA. In a crescendo of murder, infernos, and explosions, Brown’s skill at hinting and concealing the twist will rivet cyber-minded readers.”
Sunday Express –
“Fast paced with plenty of twists and turns…the reader remains gripped, trying to guess where its going next…one of the best thrillers on the book stands. Don’t miss it.”

John J. Nance –

“A disturbing, cutting-edge techno-thriller which should galvanize everyone who sends or receives E-mail or even dreams of navigating the Web. Dan Brown has unleashed a surprise: a gripping story on the frontier of cyberspace which adroitly explores the frighteningly delicate line between defending us and controlling us.”

Midwest Book Review –
“Digital Fortress is the best and most realistic techno-thriller to reach the market in years. Dan Brown’s ability to paint in living color the gray area between personal freedom vs. national security is awesome. The story line is so good, readers will feel a chilling thrill a minute as the book makes one think who is truly the terrorist and who is actually freedom’s guardian.”

Publishers Weekly –

“Information age terrorism is the topical subject of Brown’s inventive debut thriller about a virtual attack on the National Security Agency’s top-secret super computer, TRANSLTR. Although TRANSLTR is meant to monitor and decode e-mail between terrorists, the computer can also covertly intercept e-mail between private citizens. The latter capability drives former NSA programmer Ensei Tankado to paralyze TRANSLTR with Digital Fortress, a devious mathematical formula with an unbreakable code. Tankado then demands that the NSA publicly admit TRANSLTR’s existence or he will auction Digital Fortress’s pass-key to the highest bidder. Brown cleverly makes ironic, mischievous Tankado (who dies in the first chapter) the most interesting character in the book and its real protagonist, as the programmer posthumously outmaneuvers his opposition, countering their obsessive quest for complex solutions with brilliant simplicity. His favorite saying, “Who will guard the guards?” stands in noble contrast to the NSA agents self-righteous insistence that they always know what is best for America… In this fast-paced, plausible tale, Brown blurs the line between good and evil enough to delight patriots and paranoids alike.”, Thrillers Editor’s Recommended book –

“This crisp and pungent first thriller by Dan Brown, who teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, will delight all sorts of readers–especially anyone who knows anything about computers and encryption software such as PGP (for Pretty Good Privacy). “To make their charade of incompetence complete,” Brown writes, “the NSA [National Security Agency, but so secret that it’s also known as No Such Agency] lobbied fiercely against all new encryption software, insisting it crippled them and made it impossible for lawmakers to catch and prosecute the criminals. Civil rights groups cried foul, insisting the NSA shouldn’t be reading their mail anyway. Encryption software kept rolling off the presses. The NSA had lost the battle–exactly as it had planned.” In Digital Fortress, the NSA’s secret weapon is a giant, multibillion-dollar computer called TRANSLTR, which can crack any code in seconds. The trouble starts when a renegade scientist comes up with an unbreakable code, Digital Fortress, and then threatens to give it away on the Internet. Along with the techno-babble, there are some very interesting human characters, including a heroic anguage teacher-turned-spy.”

Don Ulsch, Managing Director, The National Security Institute –

“You are not going to forget Dan Brown! Comparisons of Brown to Tom Clancy are inevitable and justified. What Clancy has written so convincingly about the CIA and the FBI, Brown has accomplished masterfully for the secretive National Security Agency in “Digital Fortress”. Dan Brown has crafted a powerful and memorable novel that is alive and kicking with intrigue, covert action, and more twists and turns than the NSA has underground bunkers. No longer can we think of Tom Clancy as the dominant literary icon with unequaled insight into the intelligence community: Dan Brown has charged that intrepid hill and now occupies the same high ground. “Digital Fortress” is frighteningly real, filled with honor and dishonor, passion and conviction, life and death, the love of country, and the inescapable conclusion that each of us understands deep inside: the complex simplicity of right and wrong and the strength of love are our beacons of hope.”

David Pogue, Mac World Magazine –

“A techno-thriller is only as thrilling as its realness–and if Dan Brown’s gut-churning story were any realer, its plot turns would hurl you against the wall.”


This is a Scientific Fiction & Thriller about how unsafe your private and personal life is in front of Government intrusion and interference. It puts us facing an unfriendly but true question of Government’s Security Department’s ethics and so called citizen liberty and freedom.

How much safe your private and utterly personal conversations or chatting sessions with your best buddy are and how much safe your emails or phone calls to your closed ones are – that is under a big question mark now.

The story is woven around some crucial characters viz, Susan Fletcher – The NSA’s Head Cryptographer, and the story’s lead character, David Becker – A Professor of Modern Languages and the fiancé of Susan Fletcher, Ensei Tankado – The author of Digital Fortress and a disgruntled former NSA employee, Commander Trevor Strathmore – NSA Deputy Director of Operations and main antagonist, Phil Chartrukian – Sys-Sec Technician, Greg Hale – NSA Cryptographer, Leland Fontaine – Director of NSA, “Hulohot” – An assassin hired to locate the Passkey and secondary antagonist, Midge Milken – Fontaine’s internal security analyst, Chad Brinkerhoff – Fontaine’s personal assistant, “Jabba” – NSA’s senior System Security Officer, Tokugen Numataka – Japanese Executive attempting to purchase Digital Fortress.
The story starts with the incident when Commander Strathmore asks Susan Fletcher, ingeniously excellent Cryptographer and indeed an asset of NSA, to decipher the unique and complex code called Digital Fortress and she eventually fails to even crack the very first clue itself. Digital Fortress is the brain child of Ensei Tankado a former NSA employee who became sad and frustrated with the NSA’s intrusion into people’s private lives which he strongly believed to be extremely unethical to do.
Now the twist comes in the story line when some unknown killer ends the life of Ensei Tankado and he dies without sharing the Passkey to decipher the ultimate complex code “Digital Fortress”. There is a second person called North Dakota who claims to know the passkey and makes a call to Tokugen Numataka with a business proposition. Someone hired an ace assasin Hulohot to get rid of some unwanted but crucial people.
What will happen to if no one is able to find the Passkey? Or what risk or threat it holds within its coded lines? Who killed Ensei Tankado? Whether Susan Fletcher ultimately finds a way to decode Digital Fortress?

Feeling curious enough to read the novel, then go get your copy! Happy Reading. . . 🙂

Price:  £5.99 UK, 299/- INR.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Massi says:

    Hello ! This is a great book. I truly loved the suspense that it creates.
    The most remarkable moment for me was at the end, when Numataka was in the airport face to his son, with the ring…
    Reading Dan Brown is much better than looking an action moovie.
    Great blog Sangetta ! =)


    1. Thanks a ton Massi, for your encouraging words. And I totally agree with you – Dan Brown is the uncrowned king of suspense and thriller. No doubt about it. Btw, I would really appreciate if you could share the blog link among your friends/colleagues. That would be a great help in promoting the blog.

      TC n enjoy reading!


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