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The Key to Rebecca Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 2003

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (July 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451127889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451163493
  • ASIN: 0451163494
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.8 x 18 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Bull on April 22 2004
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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By John T C TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Dec 2 2014
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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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
"The Key To Rebecca" is one of Ken Follett's most exciting suspense-thrillers. This novel has all the essential ingredients for an "unputdownable" read.
The novel opens in 1942. World War II is raging, and German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel is having success after success with his Afrika Corps. The Nazis are planning to invade Cairo. The British are hunkering down, and doing everything possible to thwart the invasion. Rommel desperately needs access to British intelligence from their Headquarters in Cairo, in order to ensure his plan's outcome. So Rommel sends a master spy into British occupied Egypt. The spy, known only as the "Sphinx," covertly enters the country, and with a few mishaps, makes his way to Cairo. He has with him a radio, a code to transmit the information secretly, based on Daphne Du Maurier's book "Rebecca," and a piece of paper with the key to the code. Having spent much of his childhood in Cairo, the German-born spy, knows the city, language and many of its inhabitants well.
The Sphinx's task is not as easily accomplished as he once imagined. A British officer, Major Van Damme, with whom he shared past adversarial encounters, is soon on to him - and after him. Enter a beautiful Egyptian Jewess, Elene, who Van Damme wants to use as bait to capture the Nazi spy. Sparks fly between Van Damme and Elene from their first meeting, making it difficult for him to send her into danger. The cast also includes a famous, erotic, and somewhat depraved, belly dancer.
The main plot, although complex, is very realistic and reads smoothly. The various subplots are fascinating, and are often related to historical fact, such as the Egyptian Free Officers Movement's plot to subvert the British.
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