Thursday, September 30, 2010

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown

Digital Fortress
By: Dan Brown
Published: 1998
Audiobook Read by: Paul Michael
My rating: Great

After listening to Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, I decided to check out this first work by Dan. It wasn't quite as good as the other two but it was definitely a great book!

David Becker is an interesting person to send on a top secret mission, holding the fate of the free world in his hands, but he does very well. Dan does a good job developing him as an intelligent quick thinking person. It is interesting that his survival depends on blind luck as much as anything else. You can see that there are a lot of situations that a trained agent would have handled differently but David uses his untrained mind to find unorthodox ways to get out of tight spots!

Susan Fletcher on the other hand is very well trained for the situation she finds herself in but it does her no good. She finds herself lost in a swirling fog of facts and fiction that she has no way to sort out. All the time the fate of the country is in the balance and she doesn't know who to trust. In the end her clear mind and sharp eye prevail but at a terrible cost. The emotional roller coaster she unwillingly rides leaves her dizzy and disoriented several times but she keeps her cool.

My love of computers helped me appreciate this book even more but I had to chuckle at some of the late 90s era jargon and technology. The plot is wonderful, though a little bit predictable, and I was swept up in the story from the very start. There were several twists that I wasn't prepared for though, and I was very satisfied by the climax. David's mad search across Spain, Susan's struggle to figure out what is happening to Translator, and all of the little threads that were simultaneously working together to become one in the final moments, kept me on the edge of my mental seat.

I love how Dan likes to write on major controversial subjects. The privacy issues that he wrote about in 1998 are an even bigger issue to many people today. I myself do not care that much about my privacy. I figure that I'm not hiding anything so why should I care if the government watches me? I realize that many people feel that the government shouldn't know anything about our private lives, but if you really stop to think, and you are truly honest with yourself, you have to agree that the government has to watch everyone to some extent. If the government was totally blind, then how would they be able to protect us against conspiracies and plots. The big question is how much do they need to know? There is no reason for them to know when we go to the bathroom or what we eat for breakfast is there? Stop for a minute and think about something for me. If the government watches a million innocent people, who are doing nothing at all wrong, then what's the point? Everyone screams invasion of privacy and gets all bent out of shape and the government has wasted a lot of taxpayer money and there is no benefit. However, if just one of that same million people turns out to be a terrorist, and because Big Brother is watching, his plans are uncovered and stopped, is it worth it then? If the government is only allowed to watch known criminals, how can they protect us? To become a known criminal a person would have to commit a crime, right? Isn't it better to watch everyone and try to stop the crime before it is committed? Besides, do you really think they are paying the slightest attention to you as you poke around your home doing the day to day things that your life consists of? I'm can just picture millions agents sitting in front of a billion monitors watching what all of us are eating for dinner! I would venture to guess that the vast majority of us will never come under any kind of human scrutiny. As long as the Big Brother computers don't catch something that raises a flag, we just slip through as 1s and 0s and are never noticed. So, I for one am not worried, let 'em watch me all they want, listen to all of my phone calls, read all my emails, and even post an agent across the street! They'll get awful bored and it won't hurt me a bit!

I listened to the audiobook read by Paul Michael and as in other books he has done, he is simply wonderful! I very much enjoy listening to his performances and hope to hear many more!

Well, I know I kind of rambled on there but to sum it up, this is a great book and well worth the time. If you get the chance to read it, by all means do so. You won't be sorry!


  1. Hey, Book Nut, thanks for the follow. Nice review here. Maybe (okay, hopefully) one day you'll be reviewing my book. Look forward to getting to know you. Best of luck!

  2. Such a monumental project you have embarked upon!You must have enjoyed an English teacher's assignment of a book report in school. You cheat a little by listening to the books being read to you. I wonder if it has any bearing at all on your reaction to them? You sound like a very upbeat guy who really enjoys life and good books are a part and parcel of a good life.

    Come back and visit me again. I love to hear from all ages.