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The Key to Rebecca Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 1981

4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (Sept. 1 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451127889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451127884
  • ASIN: 0451163494
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.7 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"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 twenty-seven when he wrote Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. After writing more successful thrillers he surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate millions of readers all over the world and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, was a number one bestseller in the US, UK and Europe. Fall of Giants was the first bestselling book in the Century trilogy, followed by Winter of the World. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
The first time I read The Key to Rebecca was more than a quarter of a century ago. I thought about it again after reading German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel exploits in Disciples of Fortune. So I got it again, and behold, it captivated me like the first time. That is what truly great novels do. There is always something new to find in them each time you pick the book up and read it again. Centered on the fascinating character of the German spy codenamed "Sphinx", whom Rommel slips into Cairo, so that he could send back classified information needed for his final push to conquer what was left of North Africa (Egypt) that was not under Nazi control, Follet through this fascinating and well-developed character and other remarkable characters who got drawn into his world, tells the story of the last phase of Nazi Germany's North African campaign in a manner that sets him apart from other writers for the details provided and the way he crafted the plot.

Though complex, the plot in the hands of Follet the master storyteller is well-developed so that it comes out as a smooth flowing, fast-paced, colorfully-set and character-rich story. The descriptions are masterly presented, and the narrative and dialogue are used effectively to make this story one of the best classic spy stories I have read.
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