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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Digital Fortress (Dan Brown)

In the National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland, when the most powerful intelligence organisation on earth's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, there is a call for its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and 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 ingeniously complex that if released it could cripple US intelligence.
In Seville, Spain, the creator of the code, Ensei Tankado, is found dead. And with him has died the secret to an indestructible code-writing formula that threatens to erase the post-cold war balance of power... Forever!
From the underground hallways of power to the skyscrapers of Tokyo to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, betrayed on all sides, Susan Fletcher finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

Quote: "Hiroshima 8:15 A.M. August 6, 1945 - a vile act of destruction. A senseless display of power by a country that had already won the war. Tankado had accepted all that. But what he could never accept was that the bomb had robbed him of ever knowing his mother. She had died giving birth to him - complications brought on by the radiation poisoning she'd suffered so many years earlier.
In 1945, before Ensei was born, his mother, like many of her friends, traveled to Hiroshima to volunteer in the burn centers. It was there that she became one of the hibakusha - the radiated people. Nineteen years later, at the age of thirty-six, as she lay in the delivery room bleeding internally, she knew she was finally going to die. What she did not know was that death would spare her the final horror - her only child was to be born deformed."

Why this book speaks to me: Dan Brown never stops surprising me! I must say that I have actually become a fan of his work. He does a great deal of research on the subject of the book that is being written and I always learn new facts. This time the author concentrates on a new form of communication called the "e-mail" and how it can be tampered with for the sake of "anti-terrorism", therefore, it does not matter how secure an internet service may appear, there is always a backdoor.
However, the church is not out of danger here either, Dan Brown still finds the time to criticise the Catholic religion and some sins that are carried out therein.

Inconsistencies: The first thing I found is not an actual inconsistency, but having only read this book recently, the fact that the author kept on mentioning Pesetas in Spain confused me, since the currency in that country is now the Euro, however I later found out that "Digital Fortress" was first published in 1998, which explains it.
The second inconsistency is a Portuguese assassin, born and raised in Lisbon, who is called Hulohot and speaks Spanish throughout the whole story. Dan Brown does not explain whether Hulohot is his surname or just a nickname, but there is one thing I know for sure, it is not a Portuguese name, neither should he be speaking in Spanish if he is Portuguese and was hired by an American (even if the murders are set in Spain, it is not the same thing!)
Finally, almost at the end of the story, when the Director of the organisation is speaking to two agents he sent to go to Seville, Coliander and Smith, when Coliander is speaking, the Director calls him Smith.

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