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The Key to Rebecca

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  19,085 Ratings  ·  668 Reviews
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?.
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 4th 2003 by New American Library (first published October 20th 1980)
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Community Reviews

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Andrew Breslin
Mar 02, 2010 Andrew Breslin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2009 Apokripos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Follett fans and thriller seekers!
Recommended to Apokripos 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
Dec 22, 2009 Beetru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2009 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
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
(review in English below)

Para mim foi uma desilusão (na verdade, é mais um 2,5 do que um 3).

Nunca me senti envolvida na história, não gostei particularmente dos personagens nem apreciei a escrita.
Lê-se bem, mas se calhar a espionagem não é para mim...

This was a big let down for me (it's more like a 2.5, actually).

I never felt involved in the story, I didn't particularly like the characters or the writing.

It reads OK, maybe I'm just not into spy novels...
Aug 04, 2015 Thomas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two-thirds of the way through this book I was prepared to give it a rave review. The book has all the elements of a good action thriller: Compelling, well-drawn villain, sympathetic hero, interesting supporting characters (including one who's a bisexual, Nazi-collaborating seductress by day, night club belly dancer by night!), a decent amount of sex, and an exotic setting. I especially liked Follett's technique of shifting points of view, so that we get to see what characters who we've already b ...more
Ricardo Mendes
Jul 11, 2012 Ricardo Mendes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tenho
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
Anne Pinckard
May 09, 2010 Anne Pinckard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Oct 03, 2008 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly not written with someone like me in mind as an audience.
Dec 17, 2014 Jaksen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fairly good book and I wish I'd read it years (and years) ago when I perhaps could have appreciated it more.

However, I found the actual writing a little tedious, repetitious, and dull. Lots of short, noun-verb, noun-verb sentences. (Yeah, I require a little more variation.) I knew the story from seeing the movie, but I still wanted to read the book. There was also a lot of 'he saw...blah blah blah,' or 'she looked at...blah, blah blah.' I wanted to reach out and hit the author on the
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
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
Maria Carmo
Another excellent book, making the reader spin through all the action and strategy that evolves side by side with passion, sensuousness and a lot of historical background!

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon 23 August 2016.
Patricia Gulley
An interesting story, makes me want to go look and see if I can find out the true story of why Rommel didn't take Cairo.
Feb 23, 2017 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never misses. Ken Follett is a master of the micro story. In the midst of a war he zooms in on a small but key aspect and puts us in the heads of his characters. He is a master story teller.
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
Jul 06, 2010 Jerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joe Stamber
Jun 07, 2011 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
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
"A Chave para Rebecca", de Ken Follett

Gosto de uma leitura absorvente e frenética, e não falhou.
Segunda Guerra Mundial, no Cairo, espiões alemães e o Exército Inglês que quer defender a sua posição dominante contra os invasores alemães.
A história tem dois protagonistas , um é o espião alemão, Alex Wolff, o outro é o major William Vandam, que o tenta descobrir e parar. E aqui está o que gostei na história, o ter dois protagonistas em lados opostos. Não existe um protagonista e um antagonista. Ele
Jan 23, 2009 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 20, 2009 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
May 27, 2012 Lemar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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
Awesome! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this in 1980 when it was hot off the presses! I had just finished "Eye of the Needle" and knew that Follett was going to be one of my favorite authors if he could follow that awesome read with another one. Well - he sure as hell did! Intrigue, well developed characters, deep plot, war, romance, - again - everything you want in a good spy novel. {This is a re-read, twice in the eighties. Thinking I need to touch base with it again!}
I found this book on an '80s themed display at my library. The cover caught my eye with both Egyptian and Third Reich iconography, then I picked it up and saw it was by the same author as "The Pillars of the Earth" but about a quarter of the size of that behemoth, so I gave it a whirl.

It's a great action-packed ride. Someone who reads faster than I do, could get through it in no time. Would make a great movie or mini-series.
Aug 20, 2015 Thodoris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Από τις περιπτώσεις που η υψηλή βαθμολογία του βιβλίου προέρχεται από φανς του συγγραφέα.
Κατασκοπευτική ατμόσφαιρα ανύπαρκτη. Πολλά κλισέ. Δράση με το σταγονόμετρο. Επιφανειακοί χαρακτήρες με ανόητους προβληματισμούς και με διαλόγους που πολλές φορές θύμιζαν σαπουνόπερα.
Ένα φτηνό ρομάντσο με τον Β'ΠΠ στο φόντο.
Jan 30, 2013 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read many Ken Follett novel, but this one didn't seem to have that same touch as his other books. It had a good plot and the characters were well developed, but I give it 3 stars because the book started out a little slow for me, but it's still worth reading.
Dona Sarkar
Aug 01, 2013 Dona Sarkar rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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", so weird.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Key to Rebecca 1 4 Nov 15, 2012 10:47AM  
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Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 160 million copies of the 30 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.

Born on June 5, 1949, in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a fellow of the coll
More about Ken Follett...

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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.” 3 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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