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Publisher's Summary

When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant, 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 complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, 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.
©1998 Dan Brown (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"In this fast-paced, plausible tale, Brown blurs the line between good and evil enough to delight patriots and paranoids alike." (Publishers Weekly)
"Digital Fortress is the best and most realistic techno-thriller to reach the market in years....A chilling thrill a minute." (The Midwest Book Review)
"Exciting...will rivet cyber-minded readers." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Digital Fortress

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,354
  • 4 Stars
    1,593
  • 3 Stars
    747
  • 2 Stars
    193
  • 1 Stars
    122
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,061
  • 4 Stars
    854
  • 3 Stars
    277
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    23
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,679
  • 4 Stars
    926
  • 3 Stars
    461
  • 2 Stars
    120
  • 1 Stars
    73

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh...

I enjoy reading Dan Brown; I find his books are based on interesting ideas and concepts, and Digital Fortress is no exception.

I noted in my review of "Angels and Demons" that Brown's story-telling improves between that book and "The Da Vinci Code". "Digital Fortress", written before "Angels and Demons" further proves that sentiment. Heather from Fullerton's comment that it's "not quite as sophisticated" is spot on.

The book starts off well enough, and it was ticking along fine until towards the end, when the characters - and therefore the story line - seemed inexplicably struck dumb.

I read this book basically because it's written by Dan Brown, and I was curious to see what else he has written; as I said off the top, I find the ideas and concepts he writes about quite interesting.

But if you're debating whether or not to get this book, I would say spend your money on something else - even another (later) Dan Brown book!

76 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Don't try it

One of the worst books I've ever read. The technological background is not weak, it's ridiculous. Anyone that has a minimum understanding of software engineering will find difficult to finish the book. Cryptography-related descriptions and explanations are childish. The plot is paper-thin, character motivation is unbelievable...

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not that Bad

Although some have gave this book a poor rating - the book is not that bad. When you have read enough books the plot in this was easily solved and not much guess work; however the story was good and still enjoyable. It kept my interest and that's important.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Don't read what you know

Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed Da Vinci code and its prequel, so I was optimistic about this read. Unfortunately, I was horribly disappointed. I am not sure if the culprit is Mr. Brown's lack of knowledge about this subject (compared to the subject matter of Da Vinci) or my relative depth of knowledge about it (I happen to run data centers for a living) but I was extremely disappointed in the book.

The characters were interesting and the basic concept to start with was OK, but from there it degenerated rapidly. By the end of the book I was figuring things out quicker than most of the characters (always a bad sign) and the majority of the plot line had become completely unbelievable. As with all techo-thrillers, the bottom line is that when the machine is run-amok or in horrible danger... simply turn the thing off. Since this solution is so elegantly simple, writers from Asimov to Star Trek have been inventing convulted ways to keep their machines from being turned off, and even more convulted reasons why those mechanisms would be built. Just in case Mr. Brown decides to write in this genre again, here are some good rules of thumb:
1) Rule #1 of data center design - The EPO (emergency power off) is always located at a controlled and secure location near the exits (there can be multiple, after all) to the data center... not 3 stories below the data center in some goofy catacombe of generators and cooling equipment.
2) Rule #1 of computer system design - If your $3 billion computer runs so hot it can explode... put a $10 temperature sensor in it so it can shut itself down to keep that from happening accidentally.
3) Rule #1 of being an international assassin - silencers don't work very well on revolvers, sound escapes from between the cylinder and the barrel.

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Imaginative and Creative!

Where does Digital Fortress rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

This book ranks among the best that I have listened to thus far. It has a creative storyline and most of all, it was read very well by the narrator. I didn't get lost or sleepy as can sometimes happen without good narrators.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character has got to be Susan Fletcher. I do have to admit that this is a biased choice as she is a very accomplished woman and holds a significant position in a highly secure organization. She holds many responsibilities but most of all she is well respected by men in the organization. She is someone that I respect and commend being a woman who is also accomplished and can relate to her with respect to the characteristics revealed.

What about Paul Michael???s performance did you like?

He read the book with great enthusiasm and interest. I could hear it in his voice. This brought out all of the suspense and drama into the arena of performance rather than just feeling as though he was reading it because he had to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There had to be many moments but the end brought me great relief. After all of the events that brought the blood pressure up and the heart racing, it was nice to relax and hear the end worked out in a calm and relaxing atmosphere, and informative and educational as well.

Any additional comments?

Although the book was written in 1998, it still held its modern relevance within 2011 when I listened to it.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Unbearably Bad

Oh my heavens. It seems in super secret spy domes they have skylights but no emergency lighting! I think that Dan Brown was paid by the word on this one. Predictable, ignorant, and about 52 jillion timely rescues from the jaws of death. I can suspend disbelief for quite a while but this was just ridiculous.
REALLY DON"T GET THIS UNLESS YOU JUST WANT TO BURN A CREDIT OR HAVE A TEMPLATE FOR HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL.
The rest of Brown's books are great, making this even more of a let down.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Vintage

This is a pre-DaVinci Code novel, by Dan Brown, which centers around a deadly virus which has infected the National Security Agency's Data bank, and thier code breaking behemoth 'T.R.A.N.S.L.A.T.O.R.' His main character, Susan Fletcher, is the head cryptographer for the NSA, and is called in on a Saturday by her boss, The Deputy Director of the NSA, Trevor Strathmore. Turns out that Strathmore ran a computer algorithem, in an attempt to see if their decrypter, TRANSLATOR, could decipher it. The algorithem was called Digital Fortress, and problem is that this algorithem has a purpose, which is to destroy the protective filters guarding the NSA Databank. Strathmore relies on Susan to find the identity of a mystery man, who has the key to stop the coming disaster. This is vintage Brown! Like his other books, Digital Fortress takes place in the course of a 24 hour period. There is a Dan Brown guarantee which insures the reader that the NSA does exsist. There is an assassin (Hulahot), a love interest (David Becker), suprise heroes and villians to spare, and the fast paced action that Brown fans have come to expect. This is a must read for fans of Dan Brown, or if you are in the mood for a fast paced thriller!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Don't buy

I wish I had read the other reviews before buying this book. I'm a fan of Dan Brown's other books but this one is pretty bad for all the reasons mentioned in the other reviews. If you know anything at all about computers or math, turn your brain off as you read.

Btw if you do manage to get through the book, do yourself a favor and skip the last half hour or so. Reading the painstaking walkthrough of a google search and all the breathless "deductions" the characters go through nearly drove me to a life of crime.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Digital Fortress (Unabridged)

Wow -it was really hard to listen to this one. I loved the Davinci Code and liked Angels & Demons but Digital Fortess was just bad. Too many boring technical details and I wished Dan Brown would stop repeating the same point over and over and over. This book really need to be trimmed down. I have never had to fast forward on a book before until this one. Definitely try the abridged verson.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Not for the technically knowledgable

The publisher says "In this fast-paced, ***plausible*** tale..." Well hardly! The plot is so rife with technical errors and inaccuracies about cryptography and computer systems that it's painful to listen to. You can't stay focused on the story, because just when you've managed to forget about the last glaring error, another is introduced. Dan Brown clearly didn't consult with any experts for this story. He confuses bits with bytes, doesn't understand how e-mail works nor what computer viruses do, and on and on. I never made it to the end of the book, and that's a first for me with one of Audible's books.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-25-19

Absolutely average

Get on with it man, all tension is lost as a result of pure meaningless mumbling. The ending is Boring

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Roy
  • 07-26-06

Bad Science Bad Writing Bad Book

But well read the two stars ar eentirely for the naration if the reader had been less skilled I'd have given up. If I'd been trying to read it I'd probably have burned the book and given thought to burning Dan brown as well.

So what's so bad.

It starts okay, the characters are cliches genius linguist in the Indiana Jones mold (yes I know he was an archeologist) meets genius cryptographer that looks like she stepped off a catwalk (Jessica Alba would probably play her in the movie she's very smart but never uses those brains for anything.)

Any way they hook up and fall in love then get involved with a secret government project to secretly decript everyones e-mails. (this isn't really a spoiler you get this much on the back cover)

Okay so the action moves on for reasons tha tonly become apparently late on and don't really work the hero is sent to France to get hold of a mcguffin. Meanwhile the gf is set to do clever things with computers in an I.T. section where RSI is the least of her worries.

Okay so the plots bad and cliche, the characters aren't even cardboard they're paper thin and the environment are'ne hugely exciting even a cool IT suite is still a set of desks with a pc on the top.

Coincidence piles on coincidence on a large wobbly stack that is neither structurally sound or that interesting to watch being built.
Supposedly clever people act stupidly and miss things even the reader (who''s meant to be a lot less bright than these guys) has figured out and then the hero well meaing untrained amatuer that he is points out of all the things in this book this constant making everyone dumb so the hero seems start is the most irritating.

For the author and the book no stars for the reader 2 stars for heroic efforts at turd polishing.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 11-29-11

A good read for geek thrill seekers.

I enjoyed the concept of book, although a plot line was a touch predictable. I would have like to have seen a little character building.
None the less I found I really enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 11-07-10

recommended reading

a different direction from Dan Brown but still a very good listen.
If you like Dan Brown's books you will enjoy this

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • William Green
  • 10-24-05

Unbelievably Bad!

This book is laughably bad!

From the corny hero decription 'seven foot tall with a rugged jaw and stealy blue eyes' etc, you know the kind of cliche drival at the start of the book, to the assassin who goes around killing characters for absolutely no reason midway, finally to the ridiculous end - five letter password - the baddy who's in love with Susan the heroin - can you guess the password?

Terrible.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR Joseph Daley
  • MR Joseph Daley
  • 10-15-21

Great

Great story,Great listening, Great plot,and everything you would expect from Dan Brown, oh excellent

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sue Lock
  • Sue Lock
  • 07-22-21

great

fully engrossing , had to keep listening.
interesting topic and even though you could expect what was coming needed to hear it through

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • jason
  • 07-11-21

waffle on toast with honey

same old structure
beginning with waffle and then a little honey
and a toast and the end

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Istvan Attila Kovasznai
  • 04-10-21

Amazing audio book

I really enjoyed listening to this book. It always kept me in suspense. I loved it. The story is insase. Well done.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Z.
  • 04-08-21

Brilliant plot

I absolutely Love It.
ingenious plot, well written and a page turner.
Superb narration as well.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy Brown
  • 04-23-18

Great story with a touch of nostalgia

In this story provides a great opportunity to learn more about the digital world from a point in the past which gives it an interesting nostalgia. A real page turner and read very well by Paul Michael.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • DebManning
  • 08-15-21

OMG Boting

what the hell happened to Dan Brown's. this is the most boring book book I have ever heard.
what happened to the fast pace of the DaVinci Cade .?
that's it for me a waste of a good credit.


  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kerrie Czernia
  • Kerrie Czernia
  • 01-01-21

Some good twists

Good story, with great characters. Some parts very unpredictable and kept you wondering what would happen next

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • andy
  • 10-27-17

Excruciatingly boring

The plot was predictable, but unlike other Dan Brown books it advances achingly, labouring over small details again and again despite their obviousness. As usual with most fiction works the IT references are hilariously inaccurate. This seems to be a book with no effort or research put into it.