Dan Brown is to writing as Nickelback is to music: he’s one of those guys that’s very popular despite being kind of terrible, and even those who like to make fun of him have at least read a few of his books. His book “The Da Vinci Code” took the world by storm in the early 2000s, sparking a huge outcry from religious groups, a slew of books refuting his claims, and a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks (which has yet another sequel on the way).
His works have been confined to novels and film adaptations until now, but Deadline reports that Brown is reteaming with director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment (the company that produced his film adaptations) for a TV series based on his book “Digital Fortress.” Imagine Entertainment and 20th Century Fox will produce the pilot, which will air on ABC if the network decides to go ahead with the series.
It’s easy to make fun of Brown’s writing style, but the plot of “Digital Fortress” – a book that was released way back in 1998 – makes him seem like Nostradamus. Here’s the official synopsis from Brown’s website:
Chillingly current and filled with more intelligence secrets than Tom Clancy, Digital Fortress transports the reader deep within the most powerful intelligence organization on earth–the National Security Agency (NSA)–an ultra-secret, multi-billion dollar agency which (until now) less than three percent of Americans knew existed.
When the NSA’s most classified technological wonder–an invincible code-breaking machine–encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls in 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 it will cripple U.S. intelligence.
Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan 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.
With a startling twist that leaves the agency scrambling to avert the biggest intelligence disaster in U.S. history, Digital Fortress never lets up. From the underground hallways of power, to the skyscrapers of Tokyo, to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds.
It is a battle for survival — a crucial bid to destroy a creation of inconceivable genius… an impregnable code-writing formula that threatens to obliterate the balance of power. Forever.
So yeah. This show will be pretty damn topical considering what the NSA has actually been up to lately.
I enjoyed “The Da Vinci Code” (the book) and subsequently read all of Brown’s novels, although (as with many authors, admittedly) by the second or third one, you can very easily start to pick up on patterns in his storytelling and realize that he’s often just telling the same basic story over and over again with different characters in a different setting. “Digital Fortress” is no different, and if you’re familiar with his work but haven’t read this book, you can still probably guess who the villain is and how the whole thing plays out. But I guess the book works as a template for a show about a female cryptographer and her team trying to track down a Snowden-type who is about to blow the lid off the whole operation. Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz (“Outlaw Country”) are writing, and no stars or directors have been named yet.
Have you read “Digital Fortress”? What do you think about it being turned into a TV show?
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