10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing, technically flawed, but strangely likable.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Digital Fortress (Hardcover)I was very excited to start this novel, as it was billed as "smart" and "real." I was hoping to finally read something that portrayed the world of software and computer security as it really is.
However, what I got was pretty much the standard Hollywood-style depiction of computers. You know what I mean: user interfaces that consist of big, blinking words and accept commands like "abort destruct sequence"; computer viruses that somehow magically jump from data to code and start executing; network firewalls that have Atari Breakout (or Breakin, I guess) to display hackers on the attack. Please.
But I can suspend disbelief. After the first 30 or so glaring technical errors, I decided I *had* to if I wanted to finish the book. The trouble is that Dan Brown apparently had some 14-year-old wannabe hacker as his technical advisor. It seems like every other time Brown tries to make a real technical reference, it's slightly askew. Like his constant reference to X-eleven. Or a patronizing (but incorrect) description of Public-Key crypto systems. Or referring to PGP as a cryptographic algorithm.
OK, I said I can suspend my disbelief. I did. What's left is a fine Ken Follett or Patrica Cornwell adventure. Until the climax, when the final answer is painfully obvious, and a room full of crypto-geniuses are standing around, and not figuring it out. This drags on for chapters, until you think Brown must have had some minimum page count to fulfill for the publisher. It certainly can't be intended to increase the suspense.
Despite all this, I couldn't help liking the story. Maybe it just appeals to my own vanity as a programmer. But I generally like Brown's style, and I definitely will buy his next book. I just hope he gets some better technical support.