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The Key to Rebecca [Mass Market Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2003 Signet
His code name: "The Sphinx." His mission: to send Rommel's advancing army the secrets that would unlock the doors to Cairo...and the ultimate Nazi triumph in the war. And in all of Cairo, only two people could stop this brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent. One was a down-on-his-luck English officer no one would listen to. The other was a young Jewish girl...

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"Magnificent...pulse-racing...the runaway hit of the year." -People

"From the opening sentence to the gripping climax...Ken Follett delivers the surefire suspense readers have come to expect." -Los Angeles Times

"It can keep you up all night-grabbed, gripped and thrilled." -Chicago Sun-Times

About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning Eye Of The Needle, which became an international bestseller. He has since written several equally successful novels including, most recently, Whiteout. He is also the author non-fiction bestseller On Wings Of Eagles. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We certainly can't fault Ken Follett for variety in writing -- his books span many timelines and topics. But in "Key", he returns to a seeming favorite combination found in several of his nearly twenty novels -- sex, war, and spies!! Set in early WWII in Egypt, the basic story line is about a German spy, Alex Wolf, who is half European and half Arabian, and therefore blends in easily in numerous settings in Cairo during the British occupation. His goal is to send Field Marshall Rommel, whose army is advancing on Egypt from the west, superior and accurate intelligence via radio transmission using a secret key from Du Maurier's novel "Rebecca" (hence the title!). He enlists the aid of a sexy belly dancer, whose sexual appetite is nothing short of voracious anyway, to entice an unwitting Brit, and steals secrets from his attaché case while the officer is "otherwise engaged". (Alex helps himself to her favors as well...) Meanwhile, British security officer Major Van Damme, is soon hot on Wolf's trail, having cleverly picked up on his activity by piecing together some events that look a little too coincidental, followed by the passing of counterfeit pound sterling notes. Van Damme eventually also enlists a female to woo Wolf, but soon regrets the danger into which he embroils her as he falls in love with her himself. Frantic desert chases and crosses and double crosses galore characterize this suspenseful yarn from start to finish.
At first, we mentally stumbled over the foreign people and place names, but soon were at home with the lead characters. The villain was so clever we almost started rooting for him somewhere along the line, but were not disappointed with the ultimate outcome. While some content is definitely not for the prudish, we are sure Follett's faithful, as well as readers new to this author, will enjoy this adventurous tingling tale!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple But Suspenseful Oct. 10 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
World War II. North Africa. The Germans (Rommel) against the British. The balance of the struggle is uncertain. Enter Alex Wolf, spy for the Germans. The story begins with a murder that quickly sets the tone. Wolf aligns himself with a local dancer who becomes his ally in the struggle to obtain and transmit damaging intelligence to the Germans.Pitted against him is the British officer Van Dammme, widower, with a young son, allied with another women. The struggle between these two groups swings back and forth but overall Wolf has the upper hand from all points of view including his willingness to employ any ruthless means to transmit intelligence to Rommel that will tip the balance of the war in favor of the Germans. He obtains intelligence that has that potential and what happens then should be determined by the reader for the oppotunity to follow a suspenseful plot with frequent surprises.The Griffon Trilogy: Part I
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, still, great May 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't agree about the logic behind some details. The best way to escape for German Spy Alex Wolff is to go alone in Arab clothing. Not taking a Jewish woman and a European boy as hostage.
Spy Alex Wolff had attacked 2 armed MP and escaped before. Major Vandam should not go after
Alex Wolff by himself. Major could have taken his assistant Jake to carry out his secrete mission.
Ken Follett's spy stories always involves a love triangle.
Although the story is not perfect, it's very juicy. I love 2nd world war romantic spy stories. There are not too many. I still gave this book 5 stars.
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2.0 out of 5 stars not the usual standard Nov. 3 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although I generally like Follet`s works, I was rather disappointed by The key to Rebecca.
The story, set against the backdrop of the bustling city of Cairo during the British occupation in WWII, focuses mainly on the confrontation between a indigenous German spy and a English intelligence officer and therefore becomes rather predictable after the first fifty pages.
Alex Wolf, a German spy of Egyptian descent sets out on a mission to gather information about British military secrets in order to support the advancing Afrika Korps. His smart and cunning character stands in stark contrast to his adversary, the disillusioned and hard drinking Major Vandam who struggles with the premature death of his wife as well as certain professional failures in the past which makes him feel responsible for the loss of numerous lives.
Caught in the middle is a young Egyptian Jewess who first ventures in the espionage business for dubious reasons and eventually falls in love with the much older British officer.
Developing the following romance, Follett lingers on lengthy descriptions of erotic encounters and corny dialogues which appear a bit overdone in an espionage novel.
Vandam`s investigation about the German spy`s whereabouts runs far too smoothly to leave any trace of suspense, so it is no wonder that from the second third of the book the story becomes rather boring.
The key to Rebecca misses much of Follett`s otherwise excellent storytelling gift, therefore I would give it only two points.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and mostly historically accurate July 27 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Not a bad read. If you're simply looking for entertainment, espionage and bellydance it's a quick and entertaining read. There's an undertone of Orientalism however, in the way Egyptians are described, which is unfortunate and sensationalist. While the book doesn't claim to be factual, it is very much based on real events. Some things have been altered obviously to make it even more entertaining than the real story (which is entertaining enough, really),and to add depth to the characters. However, the fact that the only Eastern women in the book are a bellydancer (who is made to appear sexually twisted and sadistic, which does something of an injustice to the real woman) and a semi-prostitute, simply enhances Orientalist stereotypes of sexually overcharged Eastern women. If you don't care about such things the book is a worthwhile read, it has lots of twists and turns and intrigue.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Follett again
Always great! True Ken Follett writing, leads you epic tale that keeps you wanting to read more. A book worth reading.
Published 11 months ago by Darrell Boutilier
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story line
Using God's name in vain should not be allowed in any situation. Descriptions of sex acts are repulsive to many. Books should be written with respect for everyone.
Published on Feb. 20 2011 by always
2.0 out of 5 stars Least interesting Follett I've read so far
I usually love Follett's stories that revolve around wartime (e.g. Jackdaws, Hornet Flight, etc.). But this one just doesn't cut it, with its fairly linear plot line, no real... Read more
Published on May 15 2008 by Robert Lemire
1.0 out of 5 stars no good
this book was not interesting at all. It went on and on and never came to a climax. The conclusion was the biggest piece of crap. Read more
Published on April 15 2004 by fdffd
3.0 out of 5 stars Egyptian crime
Mystery set in Cairo in 1942, I could picture it pretty well, having been there, which is why I read it in the first place. Read more
Published on April 7 2004 by C. L Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and fast-paced.
In this story an English Intelligence Officer tracks down a german spy in Cairo during WWII.
The story is well-written and engaging with a lot of good description regarding... Read more
Published on March 12 2004 by Robert Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my fave...
spy thrillers of all time! a must read! a true classic.
Published on Dec 17 2003 by T. A Molina
4.0 out of 5 stars follett weaves another great story
This is the 5th Ken Follett Book I've read in a row. Pillars of the Earth was the first and my favorite. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by Matthew Schiariti
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