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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story of love's lost and found
He wakes up in the men's room at Union Station. He can not remember who he is or how he got there. One shocking look in the mirror tells him he is a bum however he can not believe it. Now he must find out who he is. Watch answer leads him in a different direction and we are intrigued to find more about what let to this situation.

The only positive thing I can...
Published on Aug. 20 2006 by bernie

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good, captivating page turner
Although I am a Ken Follet aficionado and continue to unabashedly wave his banner "Best adventure thriller writer alive today" this was not his best work, nor his second best work, but it is a good, captivating page turner none-the-less.
The momentum builds in the first half but peters-out in the later half, like a roller coaster that almost reaches the pinnacle, but...
Published on July 12 2004 by fdoamerica


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4.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turning Read, Dec 19 2002
By 
John R. Linnell (New Gloucester, ME United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
I don't share the sentiments of those who did not like this book. It was given to me for Christmas a year ago and I regret not having picked it up sooner to read through it. The central character wakes up in Washington's Union Station with what he thinks is a bad hangover, dressed like a bum and not knowing who he is. After many chapters, that issue is solved only to open up other questions, most notably why has someone tried to erase his memory? He is able to piece together that he is a rocket scientist associated with the Explorer I launch, that he has an OSS background, and that he came to Washington because of concerns he had about the integrity of the Explorer program. Someone didn't want him revealing what he knew, but who and why?
The answers to those questions come in an interesting way and as they are revealed, his life is put in considerable danger as is the safety of the Explorer I launch. I have enjoyed most, but not all of Mr. Follett's books, but this one is a clear winner.
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3.0 out of 5 stars USA'S SPACE PROGRAM THREATENED BY CIA DOUBLE AGENTS, Dec 17 2002
By 
G. Bowser "gloryb28" (NEW YORK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
Give it 3-1/2 stars but it is notup to the standard we hold Follettto. The plot is good but draggedout and has little suspense. Healternates with a group of friendsat Harvard and now as scientistsin the space program. Double agents are not revealed until theend where most of the action takesplace. Dr. Lucas, Luke, wakes up in apublic rest room looking like a bum. He has amnesa but his instincts tell him this is not howhe lives. By deduction he figureshe is a professional person with agood education. Most of the firstpart is learning who he is. Thenhe tries to determine why he wasgoing to Huntsville and WashingtonDC. when he should have been at the Cape preparing for the missile launching. The next part he spendstime with his old friend, trying to figure out who the double agents are and why he married his wife and why they don't have anychildren. Follett tries to putsuspense into all this but it lacks the sparkle so it becomesho-hum reading.He and his true love finally figure things out and swing intoaction to prevent the destructionof the missile.I had read this book before but did not remember it except certainparts seemed familiar. Guess itdidn't make much of an impressionthe first time around either.I would say skip this one or if you do want to read it, borrow itfron the library and spend yourmoney on a better book.I'm looking up the next book tomake sure I want to buy it..
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, July 12 2002
By 
Robert N. Schroeter (Scituate, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
The book is a great read. Yeah i agree with many people that it wasn't exactly the "MASTERPIECE" people have come to expect from Ken Follet, but i supposed that's waht makes his other books, MASTERPIECES... (They can't all be masterpieces)
First i sort of agree with a Reviewer who wrote "I was appalled at all the anachronisms and mistakes"... and i would like to add another one i didn't quite see here (yet). Doesn't Billie at one point say something like... "nope, that's all she wrote!"... Is that in reference to the "Murder She Wrote"... Maybe i'm wrong but was "Murder She wrote" around in 1958???
I hope i don't sound like i didn't like the book. It was realy entertaining, and although at some points you did have to "swallow" what he was saying just for the story to continue, it was thick and hard at times... (LOTS of luck for one person in just 48 hours).
One thing i think that i can bring to this review table that i don't think i've read anybody say is that i think this book would (or could possibly have been) one of those "Typical Follet" books, (like needle, pillars, rebecca) if the story ended and Anthony was the good guy, and that Luke was in fact the bad guy (as Anthony was maintaining).
He had me convinced that Anthony was the bad guy far before it said it in black and white, so my normal thinking was : well, if he's got me so convinced that Anthony is the bad guy, and that luke is the good guy, then it must be the opposite...
I don't know: when the story ended, and i never saw that page turn saying "Anthony was right all along... it had been Luke who was the spy!"... That would have turned stuff around!
All together there are 3 stars because its a VERY entertaining book. And that's why he wrote it. Lost a star because its not a masterpiece, and one for all the crap i had to swallow to get through it, and so only those masterpieces should get the 5.
One last point: I dind't even bother to read the "Rocket" story that preceeded every chapter (pertaining to 1958). I waited until the last 35 pages to read back through, so it was fresh in my memory when the rocket actually launched... And i think that made it better...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Starts OK, shows promise - and goes downhill FAST, May 1 2002
By 
William Sugarman "nprfan1" (Great Neck, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
I really think Ken Follett is losing it. The last book of his that I read, "Night Over Water", had cartoon characters as its principal actors and a plot straight out of an old WWII movie - although I had to admit he did his research.
The problem is magnified here, with "Code to Zero". Again, Follett has done his research, there's no denying that - but this novel is just about as bad as "Night Over Water". The story starts out very well, and held my interest for quite a while. A man wakes up in a corner of Union Station in 1950's Washington DC, with no knowledge of how he got there - or of anything else before that moment. He's dressed like a bum, but his thoughts, instincts, and actions contradict that first impression. He sets out to discover who he is and how he got to Union Station, and therein lies Follett's tale.
But the initial interest I had in the story soon disintegrated when I discovered that "Code" was really nothing more than a potboiler spy story, something I thought Follett was incapable of writing until now. Basically this turned out to be a story of the heroic United States against the godless Communists, and while this does have some kind of weird but logical resonance after the events of September 11, this type of story has been done before - and much better (Arnaud DeBorchgrave's "The Spike" springs immediately to mind).
Follett has a new novel out in hardcover, and I'll reserve it at my local library. I'm willing to give him another chance - but my patience is wearing thin.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A "Made for TV" novel..., Jan. 27 2002
By 
J. Swayze (Cincinnati, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
"Eye of the Needle" was one of my favorite spy novels, so I was excited when I received "Code to Zero" for Christmas. As others have said, it is an amazingly quick read and an interesting story, albeit remarkably similar to Ludlum's "Bourne Identity."
The one thing that struck me throughout the book was that I felt like I was watching [reading] a made for TV movie. I suppose part of the reason could be the layout of the book - each chapter is one of three sub-stories, and you get a piece at a time. Since every third chapter (roughly) is a continuation of one sub-story, it's quite a page-turner. I think the other reason it felt like a "Made for TV Movie" is that the quality just wasn't there. "Eye of the Needle" was a much better book, and I would bet Follett spent twice as much time writing it.
On an airplane? Need a "quickie" for a vacation? This is the book for you. A good story, a quick read, but not one you'll be thinking about after you put it back on your bookshelf.
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3.0 out of 5 stars okay, but not great, Jan. 7 2002
By 
MusicMan (Nashua, NH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code To Zero (Hardcover)
I've read most of Follett's earlier books and truly enjoyed them, but I do not think he took much time to research the time period for this book nor the culture of the time. My biggest gripe is the dialogue--it is too British, and I do not believe swearing so easily slipped off the tongue in 1941 and 1958 as Follett delivers it in the dialogue--especially from ladies. We had a much more polite society in the U.S. back then than we do now. Manners were important, even if only for show.
Follett's ealier novels such as The Man from St. Petersburgh, and The Key to Rebecca were much better researched. One glaring error in this book was his description of "sandspur grass" with grass blades that slashed at the ankles. Not so--snadspurs may be from a grass, a weed actually, but the spurs are the seeds that stick into or onto just about anything that touches them. They can be very painful. I know, I am from Florida, and I hated sandspurs as a kid.
I think Follett was so successful as an author in his earlier works that he doesn't pay as much attention to it anymore and only produces something that will sell when he needs to pad his bank account a bit more. Too bad.
Even so, it is an entertaining read to pass the time with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging if cliched plot and characters, Dec 7 2001
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
Set in the early 1940s and late 1950s, "Zero" has all the characteristics of a movie from that time: spies, war heroes, espionage, and drama. The hero is handsome, brilliant and dashing. His wife is stunning, tall, brilliant and only a little less dashing. The book jumps back and forth between the time the collection of key characters meet at Harvard in 1941 and the same set converge again at the time of the first American space launch in 1958.
In between, there are wars to be fought, affairs to ignite, and traitors to flush out. The basic premise of a man finding himself dirty and without memory, struggling to regain his own sense of self is an old story line. Yet it sets off a plausible and generally entertaining and exciting chain of events.
In his typical fashion, Follett does a good job of drawing the reder into his story, cliches and all. Books such as these, unless there is a compelling story, should be set aside very quickly or not read at all. Instead, despite the stereotypes and aged images, this is an enjoyable read. Yes, some of the situations are a bit too standard and two or more characters are more cartoons than characters, but Follett uses history as a method to weave together a not unlikely plot and even to throw in a few twists and turns along the way.
Great airplane paperback reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Follett, Nov. 17 2001
By 
sweetmolly (RICHMOND, VA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
This story set in 1958 and flashing back to the early 1940's is remarkably true to the period, not only to the physical landscape, but also to the mental and moral attitudes prevalent at that time. Protagonist Dr. Claude "Luke" Lucas is a true man of his time. The story revolves around our first space launch, treachery, double agents, just the right amount of romance, and a satisfyingly non-telegraphed whodunit. Particular praise to British author Follett being so right on in telling a uniquely American tale.
Luke's autobiographical amnesia (he retains his skills and knowledge, but has no memory of who he is or any of his interpersonal relationships) is well done. I just wished we had been kept in suspense longer regarding his true identity. The story was riveting while he logically tries to piece together, using every faculty left to him, just who he might be.
The characterizations are good, if a few too many of them. Cape Canaveral is well depicted and we catch the excitement of a space launch that no longer exists today. I didn't think the premise that if this particular launch was not successful, the USA was forever doomed to be in the backwater of space technology, was overly compelling. Old pro Follett delivers on crackling suspense in the final countdown.
I was introduced to Ken Follett via "Eye of the Needle" and was completely blown away by this wonderful story and went on a tear reading other Follett tales. He's a consistent good storyteller, but there is no denying there is an uneveness in quality. "Code to Zero" is no "Eye of the Needle," but it is certainly very fine Follett. Recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Too many errors, Nov. 13 2001
By 
Lima 5 (Fairfax, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code to Zero (Mass Market Paperback)
How could a Harvard grad, WWII veteran, spy, and engineer not know where Newport News was? The use of xeroxing has been mentioned as a reflexion of poor editing; I agree, that troubled me to the point where I wondered what other historical information was also untrue. At one point our hero is driving a jeep on the Florida sands, the next moment he leaves his "car" to venture on foot. No one in 1958 called a jeep a car. Shouldn't do it now either, but back then a jeep was a four-wheel, very rugged, but very small off-road vehicle that would never have been referred to as a car. Sloppy work. No more Follet. I actually felt sorry for his editors, I imagine they caught errors but due to publishing deadlines, the changes were not incorporated into the final book. On the ideolgical side, too little depth to explain the motivation of those who leaned to the left. It also seemed too far fetched that a small group of young pre-war coeds in Cambridge would all play such significant roles in the major events of the world. Try "Cutout" by Francine Mathews
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2.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic and sloppy, too, July 12 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Code To Zero (Hardcover)
I came to this book excited about the amnesia aspect (I study memory professionally), but was disappointed. I found this book to be too predictable, not in its plot details but in the overall design. Good guy finds just what he needs just when he needs it, is befriended by all the right people, discovers the truth just in the nick of time, etc. More disturbing was the way Follett played fast and loose with facts. There is not now, and certainly was not then, a reliable way to induce total autobiographical amnesia in one treatment over a few hours. Want something more clear-cut? Several times he refers to people "xeroxing" things, but Xerox (then called Haloid Xerox) introduced the first plain-paper, dry-ink xerographic copier in 1959 -- but this book is set in 1958. Surely Follett is old enough to remember mimeographing things all the way into the 60s and 70s, and if he doesn't an editor should have. This shows a disregard for accuracy and, by extension, a lack of respect for the reader, which definitely destroys my respect for the book.
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Code to Zero
Code to Zero by Ken Follett (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 9 2001)
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