Every writer has to start somewhere Ė even mega-bestselling author Dan Brown. This, like his other novels Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and the ubiquitous The Da Vinci Code (coming soon to a theater near you), is a thriller involving - of all things - an unbreakable code and hyper-intelligent characters who just canít seem to crack it.
The NSA (National Security Agency) has an incredible code breaking machine, TRANSLTR, which is especially effective against electronic terrorism. Ensei Takando, a disgruntled former NSA employee and computer programming genius, uses his tremendous skill to build a program that creates unbreakable codes. Takando uses this program to blackmail the NSA: he wants the public to know about TRANSLTR. With this multi-billion dollar mega-computer, the government has the ability to open and reseal emails, check on terrorist conversations, track drug money and violate the publicís right to privacy.
Thrown into the mix is the prototypical Dan Brown female character in Susan Fletcher. She is a brilliant, beautiful NSA cryptologist and mathematician who investigates this unbreakable code threatening the very existence of TRANSLTR.
I never really could suspend my disbelief throughout this narrative. The actions of these incredibly important people within NSA borders on insane - or at the very least irrational. An overabundance of globetrotting, unnecessary murders, silly dialogue and plausibility factors pull the listener right out of the story regardless of how one tries to get into it.
With that said, if you donít read or listen deeply, donít have intimate knowledge of computer programming, and are willing to throw all believability to the wind, Digital Fortress will please your needs. Narrator Paul Michael turns in a good performance that will surely supply you with B-movie action flick-type adventure and payoff. This is strictly for Dan Brown fans who feel the need to read or listen to all he has written. Since this is his first effort, he gets a pass.