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Digital Fortress

Digital Fortress

数码堡垒

作    者
Brown, Dan;  
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所属分类
Fiction > Classics
Fiction > Technological
Fiction > Thrillers
出版社
St Martins Press
ISBN-13
9780312944926
ISBN-10
0312944926
出版日期
2008-11
页数
525
单位
尺寸
19.68 * 3.17 * 10.16
装帧
Paperback
版本

Product Description

When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant, 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 complex that if released would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

About the Author

Dan Brown is a graduate of, and has taught English at, Phillips Exeter Academy. Digital Fortress was inspired by the sudden presence of FBI agents on the Exeter campus because of a reported national security threat -- two students had sent an e-mail back and forth saying that Bill Clinton was a liar and should be shot.

Amazon.com Review

In most thrillers, "hardware" consists of big guns, airplanes, military vehicles, and weapons that make things explode. Dan Brown has written a thriller for those of us who like our hardware with disc drives and who rate our heroes by big brainpower rather than big firepower. It's an Internet user's spy novel where the good guys and bad guys struggle over secrets somewhat more intellectual than just where the secret formula is hidden--they have to gain understanding of what the secret formula actually is.

In this case, the secret formula is a new means of encryption, capable of changing the balance of international power. Part of the fun is that the book takes the reader along into an understanding of encryption technologies. You'll find yourself better understanding the political battles over such real-life technologies as the Clipper Chip and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software even though the book looks at the issues through the eyes of fiction.

Although there's enough globehopping in this book for James Bond, the real battleground is cyberspace, because that's where the "bomb" (or rather, the new encryption algorithm) will explode. Yes, there are a few flaws in the plot if you look too closely, but the cleverness and the sheer fun of it all more than make up for them. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and a lot of high, gee-whiz-level information about encryption, code breaking, and the role they play in international politics. Set aside the whole afternoon and evening for it and have finger food on hand for supper--you may want to read this one straight through. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In this fast-paced, plausible tale, Brown blurs the line between good and evil enough to delight patriots and paranoids alike." -Publishers Weekly

"Digital Fortress is the best and most realistic techno-thriller to reach the market in years... A chilling thrill a minute." -The Midwest Book Review

"Digital Fortress is smart and reads with all the pace of a hit movie." -Larry Lasker, Screenwriter, Wargames and Sneakers

"Exciting...will rivet cyber-minded readers." -Booklist

From the Inside Flap

Praise for Dan Brown and Digital Fortress:

"A new master of smart thrills."
- People

"Digital Fortress is the best and most realistic techno-thriller to reach the market in years. Dan Brown's ability to paint in living color the gray area between personal freedom vs. national security...is awesome...Readers will feel a chilling thrill a minute."
- The Midwest Book Review

"Dan Brown has to be one of the best, smartest, and most accomplished writers in the country."
- bestselling author Nelson DeMille

"More intelligence secrets than Tom Clancy...Digital Fortress is closer to the truth than any of us dare imagine."
- MacDonnell Ulsch, managing director of the National Security Institute

"Dan Brown writes a rocket-fast thriller with enough twists and surprises to keep even the most seasoned readers guessing."
- bestselling author Vince Flynn

"Exciting...will rivet cyber-minded readers."
- Booklist

"In this fast-paced, plausible tale, Brown blurs the line between good and evil enough to delight patriots and paranoids alike."
- Publishers Weekly
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

From the bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code comes the gripping story of the ultimate code. It's powerful, dangerous--and unbreakable . . .

When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls 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 would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

"A new master of smart thrills."--People

"Digital Fortress is the best and most realistic techno-thriller to reach the market it years . . . A chilling thrill a minute."--The Midwest Book Review

Read by Bruce Sabath
--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From AudioFile

The National Security Agency's secret code-breaking machine is stumped by Digital Fortress, a code created by a former employee that could undermine the agency's efforts to keep tabs on the Information Highway. The code sparks two chains of events--a battle with a traitor within NSA headquarters that envelops Susan Fletcher, its head cryptographer, and a race for the ring containing the key code, which draws in David Becker, Susan's fiancé. Moved along by both the abridgment and Bruce Sabath's breathless reading, this techno-thriller races at a lightning pace. Sabath's offbeat character voices, such as that of an NSA staffer nicknamed Jabba the Hut, are fun. The many twists will keep people guessing to the end. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

The National Security Agency (NSA) is one setting for this exciting thriller; the other is Seville, where on page 1 the protagonist, lately dismissed from NSA, drops dead of a supposed heart attack. Though dead, he enjoys a dramaturgical afterlife in the form of his computer program. Digital Fortress creates unbreakable codes, which could render useless NSA's code-cracking supercomputer called TRANSLTR, but the deceased programmer slyly embossed a decryption key on a ring he wore. Pursuit of this ring is the engine of the plot. NSA cryptology boss Trevor Strathmore dispatches linguist Dave Becker to recover the ring, while he and Becker's lover, senior code-cracker Susan Fletcher, ponder the vulnerability of TRANSLTR. In Seville, over-the-top chase scenes abound; meanwhile, the critical events unfold at NSA. In a crescendo of murder, infernos, and explosions, it emerges that Strathmore has as agenda that goes beyond breaching Digital Fortress, and Brown's skill at hinting and concealing Strathmore's deceit will rivet cyber-minded readers. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

They were in the Smoky Mountains at their favorite bed-and-breakfast. David was smiling down at her. "What do you say, gorgeous? Marry me?"

Looking up from their canopy bed, she knew he was the one. Forever. As she stared into his deep-green eyes, somewhere in the distance a deafening bell began to ring. It was pulling him away. She reached for him, but her arms clutched empty air.

It was the sound of the phone that fully awoke Susan Fletcher from her dream. She gasped, sat up in bed, and fumbled for the receiver. "Hello?"

"Susan, it's David. Did I wake you?"

She smiled, rolling over in bed. "I was just dreaming of you. Come over and play."

He laughed. "It's still dark out."

"Mmm" She moaned sensuously. "Then definitely come over and play. We can sleep in before we head north."

David let out a frustrated sigh. "That's why I'm calling. It's about our trip. I've got to postpone."

Susan was suddenly wide awake. "What!"

"I'm sorry. I've got to leave town. I'll be back by tomorrow. We can head up first thing in the morning. We'll still have two days."

"But I made reservations," Susan said, hurt. "I got our old room at Stone Manor."

"I know, but-"

"Tonight was supposed to be special-to celebrate six months. You do remember we're engaged, don't you?"

"Susan" He sighed. "I really can't go into it now, they've got a car waiting. I'll call you from the plane and explain everything."

"Plane?" she repeated. "What's going on? Why would the university ...?"

"It's not the university. I'll phone and explain later. I've really got to go; they're calling for me. I'll be in touch. I promise."

"David!" she cried. "What's-"

But it was too late. David had hung up.

Susan Fletcher lay awake for hours waiting for him to call back. The phone never rang.

Later that afternoon Susan sat dejected in the tub. She submerged herself in the soapy water and tried to forget Stone Manor and the Smoky Mountains. Where could he be? she wondered. Why hasn't he called?

Gradually the water around her went from hot to lukewarm and finally to cold. She was about to get out when her cordless phone buzzed to life. Susan bolted upright, sloshing water on the floor as she grappled for the receiver she'd left on the sink.

"David?"

"It's Strathmore," the voice replied.

Susan slumped. "Oh" She was unable to hide her disappointment. "Good afternoon, Commander."

"Hoping for a younger man?" The voice chuckled.

"No, sir," Susan said, embarrassed. "It's not how it-"

"Sure it is" He laughed. "David Becker's a good man. Don't ever lose him."

"Thank you, sir."

The commander's voice turned suddenly stern. "Susan, I'm calling because I need you in here. Pronto."

She tried to focus. "It's Saturday, sir. We don't usually-"

"I know" he said calmly. "It's an emergency."

Susan sat up. Emergency? She had never heard the word cross Commander Strathmore's lips. An emergency? In Crypto? She couldn't imagine. "Y-yes, sir." She paused. "I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Make it sooner." Strathmore hung up.

Susan Fletcher stood wrapped in a towel and dripped on the neatly folded clothes she'd set out the night before-hiking shorts, a sweater for the cool mountain evenings, and the new lingerie she'd bought for the nights. Depressed, she went to her closet for a clean blouse and skirt. An emergency? In Crypto?

As she went downstairs, Susan wondered how the day could get much worse.

She was about to find out.


Chapter Two

Thirty thousand feet above a dead-calm ocean, David Becker stared miserably from the Learjet 60's small, oval window. He'd been told the phone on board was out of order, and he'd never had a chance to call Susan.

"What am I doing here?" he grumbled to himself. But the answer was simple-there were men to whom you just didn't say no.

"Mr. Becker," the loudspeaker crackled. "We'll be arriving in half an hour."

Becker nodded gloomily to the invisible voice. Wonderful. He pulled the shade and tried to sleep. But he could only think of her.


Chapter Three

Susan's Volvo sedan rolled to a stop in the shadow of the ten-foot-high, barbed Cyclone fence. A young guard placed his hand on the roof.

"ID, please"

Susan obliged and settled in for the usual half-minute wait. The officer ran her card through a computerized scanner. Finally he looked up. "Thank you, Ms. Fletcher." He gave an imperceptible sign, and the gate swung open.

Half a mile ahead Susan repeated the entire procedure at an equally imposing electrified fence. Come on, guys ... I've only been through here a million times.

As she approached the final checkpoint, a stocky sentry with two attack dogs and a machine gun glanced down at her license plate and waved her through. She followed Canine Road for another 250 yards and pulled into Employee Lot C. Unbelievable, she thought. Twenty-six thousand employees and a twelve-billion-dollar budget; you'd think they could make it through the weekend without me. Susan gunned the car into her reserved spot and killed the engine.

After crossing the landscaped terrace and entering the main building, she cleared two more internal checkpoints and finally arrived at the windowless tunnel that led to the new wing. A voice-scan booth blocked her entry.

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (NSA) AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY

The armed guard looked up. "Afternoon, Ms. Fletcher."

Susan smiled tiredly. "Hi, John."

"Didn't expect you today."

0"Yeah, me neither." She leaned toward the parabolic microphone. "Susan Fletcher," she stated clearly. The computer instantly confirmed the frequency concentrations in her voice, and the gate clicked open. She stepped through.

The guard admired Susan as she began her walk down the cement causeway. He noticed that her strong hazel eyes seemed distant today, but her cheeks had a flushed freshness, and her shoulder-length, auburn hair looked newly blown dry. Trailing her was the faint scent of Johnson's Baby Powder. His eyes fell the length of her slender torso-to her white blouse with the bra barely visible beneath, to her knee-length khaki skirt, and finally to her legs ... Susan Fletcher's legs.

Hard to imagine they support a 170 IQ, he mused to himself.

He stared after her a long time. Finally he shook his head as she disappeared in the distance.

As Susan reached the end of the tunnel, a circular, vaultlike door blocked her way. The enormous letters read: CRYPTO.

Sighing, she placed her hand inside the recessed cipher box and entered her five-digit PIN. Seconds later the twelve-ton slab of steel began to revolve. She tried to focus, but her thoughts reeled back to him.

David Becker. The only man she'd ever loved. The youngest full professor at Georgetown University and a brilliant foreign-language specialist, he was practically a celebrity in the world of academia. Born with an eidetic memory and a love of languages, he'd mastered six Asian dialects as well as Spanish, French, and Italian. His university lectures on etymology and linguistics were standing-room-only, and he invariably stayed late to answer a barrage of questions. He spoke with authority and enthusiasm, apparently oblivious to the adoring gazes of his star-struck coeds.

Becker was dark-a rugged, youthful thirty-five with sharp green eyes and a wit to match. His strong jaw and taut features reminded Susan of carved marble. Over six feet tall, Becker moved across a squash court faster than any of his colleagues could comprehend. After soundly beating his opponent, he would cool off by dousing his head in a drinking fountain and soaking his tuft of thick, black hair. Then, still dripping, he'd treat his opponent to a fruit shake and a bagel.

As with all young professors, David's university salary was modest. From time to time, when he needed to renew his squash club membership or restring his old Dunlop with gut, he earned extra money by doing translating work for government agencies in and around Washington. It was on one of those jobs that he'd met Susan.

ri0
It was a crisp morning during fall break when Becker returned from a morning jog to his three-room faculty apartment to find his answering machine blinking. He downed a quart of orange juice as he listened to the playback. The message was like many he received-a government agency requesting his translating services for a few hours later that morning. The only strange thing was that Becker had never heard of the organization.

"They're called the National Security Agency," Becker said, calling a few of his colleagues for background.

The reply was always the same. "You mean the National Security Council?"

Becker checked the message. "No. They said Agency. The NSA."

"Never heard of 'em"

Becker checked the GAO Directory, and it showed no listing either. Puzzled, Becker called one of his old squash buddies, an ex-political analyst turned research clerk at the Library of Congress. David was shocked by his friend's explanation.

Apparently, not only did the NSA exist, but it was considered one of the most influential government organizations in the world. It had been gathering global electronic intelligence data and protecting U.S. classified information for over half a century. Only 3 percent of Americans were even aware it existed.

"NSA" his buddy joked, "stands for 'No Such Agency.'"

With a mixture of apprehension and curiosity, Becker accepted the mysterious agency's offer. He drove the thirty-seven miles to their eighty-six-acre headquarters hidden discreetly in the wooded hills of Fort Meade, Maryland. After passing through endless security checks and being issued a six-hour, holographic guest pass, he was escorted to a plush research facility where he was told he would spend the afternoon providing "blind supp...