“In this fast-paced, plausible tale, Brown blurs the line between good and evil enough to delight patriots and paranoids alike.”


Digital Fortress is a breathtaking story written by Dan Brown which explores the mysterious lands of cryptography. Dan Brown has written several other titles as well, including The Da Vinci Code, but this book is my favourite.

The plot of the story is set in the NSA or the National Security Agency, USA. The story is told in the third-person perspective, moving from one character to another. The vice commander of the NSA, a genius named Strathmore, has created a massive device named TRANSLTR that has the power to break any complex code at maximum time of five minutes. The main character of the story is the senior head cryptographer of the NSA, Susan Jones.

The main plot of the story revolves around the fact that Ensei Tankado, an insane cryptographer has made a code. He has seemingly accomplished the impossible, by making an unbreakable cipher. Tankado threatens to release the code to general public and allow them invincibility in their communication process if the NSA doesn’t reveal the truth about the TRANSLTR to the public. NSA has always kept the TRANSLTR a secret and as now Tankado wanted to open the secret to the world, Strathmore decided to test the authenticity of Tankado’s code. He runs it through the TRANSLTR. What he discovers is outrageous, the code is really unbreakable. He finds it irresistible not to search for the origin of the code. He sends David, Susan’s friend to Spain to find Tankado and bring him back. But Tankado is dead and with him has died the secret to the world’s greatest cipher.

As the story gradually unfolds, we find that Tankado’s code is not a code at all; it is just a virus designed to clear NSA’s main databank’s protective shields and release it to the public. The only way to remove the virus is by providing the code message on Tankado’s ring. When David find’s the ring and returns to NSA the TRANSLTR had already overheated and blasted, killing Strathmore. The virus had deleted the outer shield. There was only some precious time left to solve Tankado’s puzzle on the ring. The code was finally solved by Susan at the last possible moment and the databank was saved.

This book is the fusion of science fiction and thriller categories. There is no specific genre of this book and thus it can’t be classified into a particular category like other books. Perhaps we can say that this book is a distant relative of classic adventure books with a modern twist.


Reviewed by:

Soham Saha

Added 22nd March 2020