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The Key to Rebecca

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  13,863 ratings  ·  472 reviews
The #1 National Bestseller by the author of The Hammer of Eden

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 w
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Paperback, 342 pages
Published September 1st 1981 by Signet (first published October 20th 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrew Breslin
What's not to love about a good WWII spy novel? It's so easy to get sucked right in. You've got Nazis: they're the bad guys. No need to develop this. They are the bad guys. They are the ultimate bad guys. They are, in fact, about as bad as guys get. Outside of Sauron's legions of Mordor, you don't really have a better example of a total absence of moral ambiguity. And really: between Joseph Goebbels and the Witch King leader of the nazgul, it's a toss-up for sheer wickedness.

Most of us have a p
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jzhunagev
Aug 03, 2011 jzhunagev rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Follett fans and thriller seekers!
Recommended to jzhunagev by: the "Voice"
A Spy Novel that Reads Like
a Good Alternate History Fiction

(A Book Review of Ken Follett’s The Key to Rebecca)


The last camel collapsed at noon.

So begins Ken Follett’s intriguing World War II thriller set in 1942 Cairo, a city holding its breath. The German army is poised for a strike in Egypt, and the British seems powerless to stop it; powerless, too, to catch the master spy with the codename Sphinx who is stealing their military secrets and transmitting them to Field Marshall Rommel. Just who
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Ricardo Mendes
Esta é a primeira vez que escrevo sobre este fantástico autor. Ken Follett é sem dúvida um mestre da narrativa. Neste livro, e ao contrário do Noite Sobra As Águas, a acção começa logo nas primeiras páginas e prolonga-se durante toda a história de forma rítmica deixando completamente de lado partes mortas.

Esta é uma história de espiões, mas não ao estilo, por exemplo, de Daniel Silva, uma vez que decorre no ano de 1942 e é espantoso perceber como se faziam as espionagens antes da era tecnológica
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Beetru
Follett is excellent with his character development. This book is a complete shift from Pillars of the Earth. Follett is so talented in his different writing styles.

Fun things I learned from reading this book:
1) don't become a spy
2) if I do become a spy, don't use my real name
3) don't go back to my home town where they can track down my real identity
4) it's always better to be on the good team
Stacie Pittard
I'm willing to say I enjoyed this book, though I wouldn't be quick to recommend it to anyone. Follett seemed to be moderately researched in the World War Two Middle East, and overall the story was interesting. It was an easy read, and was sufficiently entertaining.

However, there were a few problems I had with this book, which kept me from truly enjoying it. For one thing, the story was extremely predictable. Not just the overall outcome, but every plot twist and event followed a typical path. T
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Anne Pinckard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Clearly not written with someone like me in mind as an audience.
Joe Stamber
This is my second KF book, following on from "Eye of the Needle" (which was an audio book). While Eye of the Needle was about a German spy in London in WWII and the British intelligence officer's attempts to catch him, "The Key to Rebecca" is about, er, a German spy in Cairo in WWII and a British intelligence officer's attempts to catch him. Same story, different setting? No, not at all, fortunately. Although the two novels have similar themes, KF makes the most of the different setting, with th ...more
Jerry
Prolific author's Egyptian thriller: sex, spies, and war !

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 occupa
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maricar
My third foray into Ken Follett and he’s yet to disappoint.

Starts a bit slow what with the exposition of the central characters: Alex, the ruthless German spy sent to Cairo, Vandam (yes, really), a 40-something major in the British Staff Intelligence, Elene, a beautiful Jewish woman who’s had a string of bad luck with men, Sonja, a renowned dancer in Cairo with a strange sexual fetish (but, more importantly, an Anglophobe), and several others.

But the pace steps up when Vandam gets intrigued wit
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Roger
I thought the Key to Rebecca was a disappointment. I had heard good things of it and I think well of Ken follett. But the scenario I found surprisingly similar to Eye of the Needle, just set in Egypt.
The story just did not seem to get going until the last 50 pages. It was also unnecessarily graphic at times, which almost caused me to stop reading. Skimming portions made it possible to finish. But in the end, I found that I did not really care abot the characters enough to find satisfaction in t
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Linda
I thought this was going to be a real heart-stopper, or at least a page-turner. But, alas, for all its intrigue and the press it got when it came out, it is kind of dull. It is dated of course, written in 1980 about an even older period... World War II. All about a Nazi spy of Middle Eastern heritage that sends secrets about British invasions to Rommel. The spy is a savage really, and there are sort of breath-taking sexual scenes with his belly-dancing mistress. The heroine is a young Jewish gir ...more
Kelly
This book was very easy to put down until the last 80 pages when the action finally took place. I can handle some racy stuff in books, but there are a couple sentences I really wish I hadn't read that are in this book. The sex that is talked about is way too perverted for me. There wasn't a lot of it and I did my best to skim over it while not missing out on the plot, but I really couldn't see the point of most of it. I read another goodreads' member's review of this book before I started it tha ...more
Linda
I love Cold War spy stories. I've read a lot of them, and this is one of the good ones. Having said that, I'm afraid it would be hard for me to recommend The Key to Rebecca to anyone I actually KNOW because of the insanely graphic sex scenes Follett felt the need to include. Are they well written? Well, yes they are--if you're looking for porn in novel form. Were they necessary in furthering the storyline or fleshing out the characters (no pun intended)? Certainly not to their graphic degree. I' ...more
Lemar
Ken Follet delivers another page turner. Excellent thriller, highly recommended. The story is set is in WWII Egypt with a cast of intriguing characters true to their time. The villain is particularly well drawn in that he embodies the arrogance of the nazi, the feeling that morality is passe and the strong will take what they will. Follet makes a case for true strength belonging to those with compassion and who are fighting for freedom rather than glory and debauchery. This is the essence of WWI ...more
Kari
After reading The Pillars of the Earth (book 1 and 2) I was eager to read more books by Ken Follett. I enjoyed the interesting perspective into Egypt during WWII. One of the more fascinating aspects of this book is that one of the main characters is a Nazi Spy. Even though you know he is evil and intends to do harm you still root for him (for part of the book) because his character was developed so thoroughly. If you are a lover of historical fiction than this is a must read.
Clark
I first read this book in 1981 when it was originally published and decided to read it again. Surprisingly, I remembered almost nothing about it, although maybe it's not that surprising after 33 years. Without going into details I can only say that "The Key to Rebecca" is a classic World War II spy story and should be read by everyone. It is timeless, so don't be concerned that it takes place in 1945. Ken Follett has cleverly woven the actual history of WWII into his plot and it concurs amazingl ...more
Helga Soenimanggar
what a stories of spionism... good one.nationalist and love your country make you can do anything and give everything you have for your idealisme. and this is what happen.love our nation too much make us blind sometimes and make us do stupid thing, unnecesarry thing to do. so think more rational and please us our logic and accept whatever situation but keep our principal of life in where ever we are now..

but the way Ken Follet wrote the story makes me don't want to stop reading untill i finished
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Duncan Mandel

Ken Follett’s The Key to Rebecca took readers and critics by storm when first published more than fifteen years ago. Today, it remains one of the best espionage novels ever written.

A brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent is on the loose in Cairo. His mission is to send Rommel’s advancing army the secrets that will unlock the city’s doors. In all of Cairo, only two people can stop him. One is a down-on-his-luck English officer no one will listen to. The other is a vulnerable young Jewish girl…

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Charles
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ankit Hawk
It was another historical fiction relating to World War II. It was another spy story. It was actually very similar to “Eye of the Needle” which I reviewed last week except this time things are happening in Cairo with different action of World War II, with very different stakes and with different German spy.

When Field Marshal Ervin Rommel required a spy in Cairo he wanted to go local but having some German Linkage. The spy could easily camouflage with local and have loyalty towards Germany. He fi
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Amy
** My Review- World War II historical fiction from a different battlefield. This book is set in Cairo... you still get the background of World War II, but with a new setting. Rommel, The Desert Fox, is the opposing Nazi force. I had to read up on Rommel and was shocked to find out he wasn't the order taking, Hilter enthusiast that most top Nazi's were. In fact, he was forced to commit suicide because of his part in a plan to assassinate Hitler. ANYWAYS.... this book is good... I liked it being f ...more
Raquel
O romance histórico é o género em que mais gosto de ler Ken Follett, não sendo propriamente um romance histórico, pois este a Chave para Rebeca enquadra-se mais no registo de thriller, é um livro muito bem conseguido com um continuo de acção que se inicia na primeira pagina e não para até chegar ao fim. A reconstituição histórica é bem conseguida, aprecio a franqueza deste autor, a forma como ele nos diz sim os Nazis são maus, mas os ingleses colonizadores do Egipto e crentes da sua superioridad ...more
Dona Sarkar
Sooo much potential. A spy? A policeman trying to catch him? A female spy-trapper? Using the Daphne du Maurier book as a code-cracking key? Sounds great, right?

Wrong. The characters behave randomly. The heroine is not.

And the odd "spy smut" bits....so, so weird.
Dara Salley
“The Key to Rebecca” is what would be considered an espionage novel. You may ask, “What is an espionage novel?” I was unfamiliar with the genre until I picked up this book. Think of James Bond: suave rogue agents protecting state secrets, getting the bad guy and having a little fun in the process. This book is set in Egypt during WWII, but the setting could easily be swapped for any other exotic country or war.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel with such offensive female characters. There are
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Filipa
deste autor que tanto gosto, foi dos livros que menos me entusiasmou. demorou a ganhar interesse e embora a segunda metade do livro tenha sido mais interessante e mexida não foi o suficiente para me conquistar.
Nitin Arora
A good story; very entertaining. It has everything in it. Ken Follet is a brilliant author, and this book is another proof of that. This book was definitely worth my money.
Valerie Pate
I always say that I'm not much for war stories. Ken Follett is the man to change that, if ever there was one. I do enjoy a good spy thriller now and then, and that is precisely what Follett has written. This book never takes you to the front line; you instead spend your time with the people working on the periphery of the war.

One man in Egypt is an enemy to the allies. He is very intelligent, vain, and fanatical. A British major has this dangerous man in his sights, but what will be the cost of
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Damian Joseph
I want to read it because it sounds like a good nazi/holocaust stories like I enjoy. :) Got it on Kindle.
Phil Hull
Not as good as some of his other work but enjoyable all the same.
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Ken Follett burst onto the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film.

He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of ho
...more
More about Ken Follett...
The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1) World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2) Eye of the Needle Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)

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“Rommel could smell the sea. At Torbruk the heat and the dust and flies were as bad as they had been in the desert, but it was all made bearable by that occasional whiff of salty dampness in the faint breeze.” 2 likes
“Ishmael was looking at him through narrowed eyes. “This is very important to you, this box.”
“It’s important to the world.”

Ishmael said: “The sun rises, and the sun sets. Sometimes it rains. We live, then we die.” He shrugged.

He would never understand, Wolff thought; but others would.”
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