Book Reviews

Digital Fortress

Dan BROWN[1]

digital fortressWhen the National Security Agency’s (NSA) invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls in 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 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…”


Although Dan Brown is famous of his “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”, this book is his debut novel and it was published in 1998. As the plot set out above, Dan Brown offers a quiet fascinating thriller novel. Especially if you are enthusiastic about conspiracy theories, cryptology, code breaking and enigma machines this summary is more than enough for you to start reading it right away. 


Dan Brown is known as an author of best-selling novels. He is good at mixing fiction with reality and keeping the tension throughout the story. Therefore, it is difficult for me to express my disappointment with this book. Yes, it starts very thrilling and the story develops in three different stages at the same time in a sound way. But few things still bother me.

First of all, developing the story in three different settings is difficult and I appreciate the effort, but sometimes it becomes so irrelevant or change of scenes occurs very absurdly in the middle of action. It might be a good approach on the white screen but literature is a way different in my opinion. Secondly, end of actions are so predictable, reader lose the excitement. Yes, it is suspending in a way the author describes events and stories but guessing the ends isn’t making the reading fun. But besides these, it was a good 24-hour period, summer novel. The language is fluent and vocabulary is not so troublesome for non-native speakers, in my view. On the other hand, most of the time, “given facts” about encryption are in fact fiction for the math-world and cryptology. So, sometimes it is challenging to discriminate between those two. But apparently popular culture is more interested in the thrill than the accuracy of the information. As a final word, I should confess that giving a puzzle on the last page was a very smart and reader friendly effort in my point of view.

Enjoy reading!


Ergun UNUTMAZ, 05/09/2014



  • Non-series books

           Digital Fortress (1998)
           Deception Point (2001)

  • Robert Langdon

            Angels & Demons (2000)
            The Da Vinci Code (2003)
            The Lost Symbol (2009)
            Inferno (2013)

[1] Dan BROWN, Digital Fortress, First Edition, Cox & Wyman Ltd, Reading, Berkshire, Great Britain, 1998.