I just finished reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. While reading the last parts of the book, I was screaming at the book and complaining to Huz who was trying to ignore it. He is used to it, I guess. I haven't read a bad book in a long time, and this was baaaaadddd. I usually get book suggestions from Laura and Tina or read popular books like those listed on the NY Times best seller list. So I have been immune to really bad books for a while. Furthermore, I thought Digital Fortress was safe because I've read Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Deception Point by Dan Brown, and I liked them all.
I don't recommend this book, so this post will be full of spoilers. You have been warned. Digital Fortress is an impossibly unbreakable code, which is a major threat to the U.S. government and its intelligence. A government agency called the NSA has a multi-million dollar machine called TRANSLTR that has broken every code until now. The NSA wants the code to Digital Fortress, but it is protected by a pass-key that is itself coded by Digital Fortress and thus unbreakable. In the first two thirds of the book, the NSA is running around trying to find the pass-key. The chapters are usually a page and a half long, and it jumps from one p.o.v. to another. It mainly switches between the main character who is this beautiful yet intelligent female cryptographer named Susan and her boyfriend named Becker who has been enlisted to go to Spain in search of the programmer and the pass-key. Susan basically does nothing for most of the book.
Finally it starts to get interesting on page 300. Becker finds the programmer has been murdered and, as his last act, gave away his ring, which Becker suspects contains the pass-key. Becker is on a wild goose chase trying to find that stupid ring. Also, someone is following him and leaving dead bodies in his wake...unnecessarily. Susan is at the NSA headquarters with the NSA head and finds that maybe one of their own is a traitor. Of course, who she thinks is the traitor is not actually a traitor. She finds that the NSA head has a plan to obtain Digital Fortress and is the one that ordered the programmer killed. And get this! He hired the assassin to kill Becker because he is obsessed with Susan and in love with her. That came out of nowhere. WTF! Then 50 pages to the end, they find out it is all a farce! There is no Digital Fortress. Instead, the NSA head had set a worm loose in TRANSLTR, thinking it was an unbreakable code. In order to kill the worm, they have to enter the pass-key. Becker finally obtains the ring and escapes his assassin. However, the ring is completely useless and does not contain the pass-key. They are back to square one. At this point, the worm is only a few minutes from releasing every governmental secret to the public. Susan of course saves the day literally at the last second.
If I have to use one word to describe this book, it would be "contrived." Everything is completely contrived. The NSA head's actions are partly motivated by his love for Susan. SNORE! Becker's mission turns up nothing, so Susan is forced to break the code on her own. WOW! Didn't see that one coming. Susan and Becker are reunited at the end. BORING! I have no interest in their relationship or these characters. I just wish I could get the hours of my life back that I wasted on this terrible book.