Thursday, August 18, 2005

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown:

3. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown:

After Da Vinci Code, I was curious about this book by Dan. Subhash suggested this book and said that a very simple funda of double encryption had been used to create an un-breakable code. Inspired by my interest in security I started reading it and very quickly found lots of similarity between the previous book (The Da Vinci Code) and this one. Looks like our friend Dan, is a little short of ideas and even words (repeated use of words like gibberish) … The habit of creating un-necessary trivial suspense continues in this book also.

Anagrams, Ceasar’s n^2 cipher also make into this book… pretty strongly too. Why did he have to use the same techniques in two books in spite of having two esteemed ex-employees of NSA helping him with the plot?? Any way, the book was not all that interesting as it was expected to be… Telling two stories in parallel is old wine. They finally converging into one and finally realizing that they were beating round the bush for the entire 100 odd pages is old wine in old bottle. Especially the lousy way that Tankado encrypts “3” as a vague difference between U235 and U238 is laughable… I tried to imagine the firewalls falling one by one… as some sort of concentric ellipses that dissolve slowly… that’s comedy… hopelessly misplaced though.

It makes sense if a pro killer like the deaf guy starts killing indiscriminately… But Hale, and the SysSec guy die needlessly in the plot… I don’t know which came first this book or Mercury Rising the movie starring Bruce Willis with a autistic kid… obviously the one that came later is definitely inspired by the first. Strathmore – hero for the first 100 pages suddenly turns villainous and finally dies… Like Alec Baldwin in the movie… both posses the “Kill anybody to keep the nation secure” ideology. There also, a chain of murders are commited to silence any body who could have come close to the code. Repeatedly the author mentions about protecting agents in the field (obviously insprired by MI) and war time communication (enigma). Dan Browm makes no mystery about his inspirations and sources.

In summary… I did not enjoy the book. I always hoped there would be some real excitement in the next few pages… the hope never materialized… My judgment may have been clouded by the fact that I have some knowledge of encryption, system security and computers… and the author’s lack of it. I hope Deception Point will be better.

No comments: