Tag Archive | Dan Brown

Digital Fortress- Dan Brown :39/52

Geek fiction

If I had to read this book back in 1998 when it was published I would have chucked it after the first few pages. Back then cryptology meant Aravind Swamy in Roja, NSA was something I hadn’t heard about and ‘computers’ to me meant MS Word and MS Paint.  But now I’m in that comfortable place where I am aware of NSA and their snooping, knowledgeable enough to understand bigbig computer  terms and ignorant enough look beyond any technical inaccuracies in this book.  Book snobs might look down upon Dan Brown and his readers but that’s them. I like Dan Brown.

The plot : Someone has created the holy grail of encryption software or something and the NSA wants it. Because this means that everyone’s secrets will be safe inside the Digital Fortress and  the American government can’t peek into people’s bathrooms emails all over the world. This miracle code thingy has put NSA’s supersnooper computer TRANSLTR on a digital wild goose chase and it is unable to break it. Like in all Dan Brown thrillers here also you have  the standard threesome: a  boss, a beautiful woman with brains and a clueless professor dragged into something that doesn’t concern him in any way. You also have the mandatory mysterious assassin with the odd name, a clock ticking away on a countdown and a puzzle that needs to be solved. Then there is the standard parallel good intentioned person(s) trying to figure out/ stop what the main three are up to.  And of course a nailbiting chase that happens in a European country with some gruesome murders thrown in for extra flavour.  Then the item, here it is a  ring, that has an inscription or something that has to be solved to stop the digital apocalypse or something. And spoiler: The  boss. Wait. Did I just join the book snob club?

The puzzles: North Dakota. Hello, we know that Dan Brown likes anagrams. I figured that out longlong before they did. The ‘mystery’ code in the ring was such an anticlimax. Hiroshima-Nagasaki. Uranium 235-238. Hello, that was so so obvious. I could have solved that  five pages before they did.

But anyway. Typical or not, I enjoyed the book. A much needed quickie thriller. I’ve crossed out all the Dan Brown books off the list now. And I’m eagerly waiting for his next one.



One of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. With the warmest message ever. ‘Here’s the damn book. Takeet and STFU’


I’m a sucker for a good deal. Well, who isn’t. So when I do my online bookshopping, I check a zillion times on a zillion sites to get the best price. There’s indiabookstore.net that does it for you, but then, I get my thrills doing it on my own. I visit Flipkart, Amazon, HS18, Bookadda and the rest, check for offers, combo offers and coupons, and put the item on my wishlist. Then check again. And again. And finally buy. I like the satisfaction of having got it at the lowest possible rate. ( Psychanalysis: It is the reformed share trader in me that’s being sated here)

So when I was tracking Inferno on Flipkart, I noticed that the price kept fluctuating more than a pennystock on a good day. At 10 am it would be Rs.750 Rs.350 and when I check again at 11 am, it would be Rs.750 Rs.348. The next day it would be Rs.750 Rs.599 and the next Rs.750 Rs.304. So I started an OCDish tracking of the book and kept tweeting about it. I did not actually want the book at the lowest price because the thrills of watching the price go up and down was more fun.And I kept spamming my Twitter timeline with #InfernoOnFlipkart hashtag.

And one fine morning I got a package from Flipkart. Silly and Kaapi, two sweet souls on my timeline who were fed up of my obsessive tracking and tweeting, sent me the damn book. And asked me to STFU.

I was cured, but only for a while. I began to obsessively track Alchemy of Desire. And got it for Rs.198 when it had hit an all time low. It is Rs.399 right now. And I point and laugh at whoever buys it today.