REVIEW: Digital Fortress By Dan Brown

Digital Fortress By Dan Brown

 

I have to start by saying – I like Dan Brown and I’m not afraid to say so. His books are not particularly literary, but then again I’ve been known to read about zombies , vampires and faeries so I can’t exactly claim to be a literary purest. The fact is, Dan Brown books are fun! They’re packed with action, they’re an easy read because the chapters are short and snappy, and the subject matter is interesting enough to keep my attention. Overall this combines into an addictive word cocktail, and I love me a cocktail 🙂
 
Digital Fortress revolves around two characters (besides the “villains”), Susan Fletcher, who is a cryptographer at NSA (National Security Agency) and her Fiance, David Becker, a professor and foreign language expert. The plot begins with David being called away to Spain on business just before the couple are due to head off on a romantic trip, and shortly after Susan is also called into work. Even though it’s a Saturday, Susan doesn’t find being called in to work unusual, as in her line of work weekends aren’t always work-free, but she is troubled by David’s sudden overseas trip, especially since he couldn’t tell him why he had to go. She soon finds out that the reason she has been called in is closely linked to David’s departure. The super-code-cracking computer that the Crypto department uses, TRANSLTR, has been working on breaking a code for 15 hours, an unthinkable time-lapse as it can crack even the most complicated encrypted files in a matter of minutes. She finds out from her Commander, Strathmore, that TRANSLTR is working on a file written by a former Crypto employee, code-writing genius Ensei Tankado, which he claims is unbreakable. The code is a disaster for Crypto and the NSA. Tankado is set to auction off the code’s algorithm to the highest bidder but has said that his secret partner will release the algorithim for free in the event of his death, which means that terrorists and other high-profile criminals will use it to encrypt their communications, and if TRANSLTR can’t decrypt them, then they’re pretty screwed.
 
Commander Strathmore knows that Tankado holds the pass-key to cracking the code as does his silent partner known only as NDAKOTA, and their only hope is to get their hands on both keys so that they don’t go public and Crypto can study the code. However, Tankado has died in Spain, from an apparent heart-attack and they have no idea who NDAKOTA is. Susan then finds out that it was Commander Strathmore that sent David to Spain; he wanted to utilise David’s skills in Spanish and his invisibility to retrieve the code from Tankado’s body. He also explains that he has called Susan in to discover the identity of NDAKOTA by tracing his annonymas email address.
 
It all seems so simple; David will recover the code, Susan will uncover NDAKOTA and get his code and NSA will make the whole mess go away. But of course it is not that simple. David soon discovers that the code is no longer with Tankado’s body which starts a wild goose chase around Spain to find an engraved ring when he doesn’t even know what it’s for. Susan also encounters some issues in tracing NDAKOTA, and then there’s the problem of keeping the code a secret from other staff of Crypto and the NSA.
 
Digital Fortress is a wild ride with countless twists and turns. At times it’s a little unbelievable, and as I’m not a programmer/hacker/code expert, I’m not sure if any of the terminology or science is correct, but really I couldn’t care less. It was an addictive read, and I liked it…. so there 😛
 
I give Digital Fortress By Dan Brown:
 

4 / 5 Stars

Codes and Cake

Digital Fortress By Dan Brown

When I finished Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception (which I borrowed from my little bro) I looked at the pile of books to choose from and saw that the “from Scott” pile is now quite low, only three books high! I guess my bro has a lot less books than me (tho he’s also a voracious reader) and I’m running out of books of his I want to read 😦 So understandably the eeny meeny miny moe was quite quick and I ended up choosing Digital Fortress, the only Dan Brown book I haven’t read (which is ironic because it’s his first :P)

Regardless of the controversy and criticism surrounding Dan Brown I have enjoyed all of his books and take them for what they are – exciting, creative stories based on secret societies or conspiracies but not fact. From what I’ve read so far, Digital Fortress is going to be a riveting tale of unbreakable codes and I’m going to enjoy it 🙂

On the subject of books I’m going to enjoy, I returned Heavenly Pleasures to the library today and borrowed the next

Devil's Food By Kerry Greenwood

Corinna Chapman novel, Devil’s Food.

 
Yum 🙂

REVIEW: Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception By Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception By Eoin Colfer

 

Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception is the fourth Artemis Fowl book by Eoin Colfer. The basic plot of the series is Irish teenager Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind, determined to make giant sums of money by whatever means possible (or impossible). The series begins with Artemis embarking on a new scheme: he is convinced of the hidden existence  of a faerie world and he wants to kidnap a faerie and ransom it for fabled faerie gold. After acquiring The Book of the People, a holy book of faerie written in gnommish Artemis begins the process of translating the text so that he can learn their weaknesses. He succeeds in kidnaping a faerie after extensive stake outs, but is unaware that he has kidnapped a LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police :  reconnaissance squad) officer and is now faerie public enemy number 1.
 
Since then Artemis and the LEP have been through a series of epic adventures, sometimes as enemies, sometimes reluctantly helping each other, and in The Opal Deception working together to stop a common enemy. The common enemy is Opal Koboi, a criminal genius pixie who the LEP and Artemis defeated in Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident and has been in a coma ever since…or so it seems. Opal Koboi has orchestrated an intricate plan to escape while still appearing to be comatose. How does she do this? With a couple of loyal lackeys and a clone of herself, that’s how, and once she’s free her first mission is for revenge. 
 
Her revenge starts will Captain Holly Short (the LEPrecon officer that Artemis kidnaped in the first book and who has been somehow involved in his schemes ever since) and her superior officer Commander Julius Root. Holly narrowly escapes Opal’s clutches and realises that her next victim will be Artemis since he helped convict her, so she rushes above ground to warn him. But there is one problem – Artemis doesn’t remember anything about faerie. After their last collaboration in Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code the LEP performed a mind wipe on both Artemis and his bodyguard Butler. Even tho Artemis can’t remember Holly or anything about the faerie world, the two have to run from the evil Koboi and try to stop her plans (with the help of the ex-theif Dwarf, Mulch Diggums) to have a human probe drill deep into the core of the earth, exposing the faerie city of Haven and flooding it with molten haematite.
 
This series has been called “Die Hard with faeries” and I would agree even tho I’ve never seen Die Hard. This is a series filled with elements for teenagers to love: an incredibly smart and successful teenager that is a strange mix of hero and villain; fiendish plots, schemes and heists; cool faerie gadgets and magic; witty dialogue; tons of action; and a dash of fart humor :P.
 
These books are kinda a guilty pleasure of mine – they’re not very deep but they are immensely enjoyable, exciting and addictive. Opal Deception didn’t disappoint, it was action-packed and exciting and I’m really enjoying Artemis being more on the “good” side.
 
I give Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer:

3  ½ / 5 Stars