Code to Zero
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Code to Zero

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  7,026 ratings  ·  412 reviews
In January, 1958, America's best hope to catch up with the Russians in the space race sits on a pad at Cape Canaveral. But the launch of the "Explorer I" satellite is delayed due to the weather, even though it is a sunny day. The real reason rests deep in the mind of a NASA scientist who wakes that morning with his memory completely erased--he knows a dark secret someone w...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Signet Book (first published 2000)
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I'm a big fan of Follett's works so I was surprised that this turned out to be one of his lesser materials. The idea is interesting enough and the opening scene holds promise but I found it to be a lackluster presentation and after about 80 pages or so I gave up on the novel.

It felt like a dumbed down novel in characters and plot demonstrations. Hard to go into more details without giving spoilers.

If you want to see Follet at his height read PILLARS OF THE EARTH or THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE or THE...more
I loved it. When I was about 60% through with the book, I thought it was going to be one of my favorite books. The ending was a little disappointing and didn't have a marvelous ending, but I thought the story-line was great. I really enjoyed the fact that the plot was unpredictable for such a long time. Normally, as the book winds down the ending becomes more and more predictable as was the case with this book, but it took so long for that to happen, that I had to keep re-guessing how it would e...more
This story seemed a little dated to me, and I was surprised to see that it was published in 2000; the storyline action took place in the late 1950s with a lot of flashback chapters to 1941 and 1945 (and a final leaping ahead to 1969), and it actually felt that old! On top of that, there were a couple key points to the plot that I simply could not accept as realistic—thinking “Nonsense, he (or she) would not have behaved that way.” Despite that fact, I read it in one day, staying up until 3:40 a....more
I found this book exceedingly entertaining. In most spy thriller books you know from the beginning the good guy, the bad guy, and the basic construction of the final confrontation scene. In this book because of the main character's amnesia, I spend almost the entire book wondering is he good? Or is this a Bourne Identity (movie not book) situation? The same applied to the ancillary characters. Who is the Russian spy? Was anybody an actual spy? Were the people pursuing the hero doing so because t...more
Joe Mossa

i don t know if im becoming a reading snob or what but these types of books seem so fake to me after reading great writers. the sex scenes seem to be sprinkled in as obligatory requirements from the publisher. he tried to make his story authentic by putting scientific details in ala tom clancy. i got the feeling he was reading from rocketry manuals while typing this information. it reminded me of those scary days of the cold war which i am old enough to remember.
Jorge Vilarinho
Vou tentar ser justo a falar deste livro. Comecei com grandes expectativas porque sabia que Ken Follett é um grande escritor e já lançou grandes obras. Mas acho que não apanhei uma delas. Começou bastante interessante mas havia algo muito superficial que não deixava entrar a 100% na historia. A escrita e alguns pontos da história sao realmente bons, mas sem twists rapidamente se tornou algo um pouco banal que conseguia puxar para ler. Comparei a Dan Brown durante toda a leitura e posso dizer que...more
Natacha Martins
Bem, por muito que gostasse de dizer o contrário, a verdade é que, infelizmente não há muito a dizer acerca deste livro... A desilusão só não é enorme, porque a minha incapacidade de vibrar com policiais desculpa, em parte, a fraca qualidade do livro e, por isso a minha vontade de ler Os Pilares da Terra não foi muito afectada. Pode ser que Ken Follett seja bem melhor nos romances marcadamente históricos.

Ora bem... Este é um livro cuja acção decorre em 1958, em plena Guerra Fria, nas horas que a...more
Sabrina Adapon
To tell you the truth, I never knew Ken Follett until the day my office mate told me about him.. She specifically told me that I will love his works because he was an exceptional author. And here I was telling you guys how much i love his story. I am a huge fan of books in which the main setting is NASA, NSA, CIA and CERN. This all started because of Dan Brown's books. Psh. He gave me all these dreams I have in mind. One of those is working for the NSA that's why I keep on pursuing my studies as...more
Greg Bascom
Around five in the morning, on January 29, 1958, a man wakes up in the men's room at Union Station, Washington D.C. He cries out in shock at his reflection in the mirror. He sees an unshaven hobo in filthy rags, and he has no recollection, none whatsoever. He shouts, "Who am I." Another bundle of rags on the floor replies, "You're a bum, Luke."

The reader learns that a woman in a motel near Cape Canaveral is worried about Luke, and that she met him during a panty raid at Radcliff in 1941. On page...more
Anamaria Elek
Ken Follett never lets you down, doesn't he?

Another masterpiece, this time written in a Robert Ludlum style, involving CIA, handful of distinguished scientists and an epochal event of national significance at stake. The plot is divided - chapters that take place during WWII are intertwined with those of the Cold War era and only together they built the complete image of what's really going on in the novel. It's a compelling thing to read and one can't fail to notice just how much researching and...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ken Follett is a good author. When you can completely change the style and story, you go down in my records as a good writer. Plus he also keeps my attention from the first page. I did judge this book by its cover but once I opened it, I was good to go. This is a great suspense/mystery that I read in 3 days.
Sandy Wood
I love Ken Follett books (on my list of top 5 authors) but this one was kind of lackluster. The idea is interesting enough and the opening scene holds promise but it didn't live up to expectations. It also seemed like a rip off of Bourne Identity as it was written in 2000. Characters were fair only. It seemed more like a churned out and slightly dated novel written to meet some publisher's deadline rather than the excellent stuff I expect from Follett.

Follett is awesome so instead of this read...more
I am not really a fan of spy stories in general and Code to Zero by Ken Follett did not do much to convince me that they can be interesting. It had the potential to be really interesting since it is set during the space race in 1958 and the main character, Luke, experiences drug induced amnesia as part of a KGB spy plot to sabotage the Explorer I satellite launch, but there was not enough discussion of the science to really keep me interested. Instead, the story was much more about Luke’s strugg...more
With his usual style, Ken Follett, has managed to take a real-life event and weave a plausible tale of fiction. The reader is left with the belief that these events might have actually taken place and caused the delay of the launching of Explorer I in 1958.

I found the plot of Code to Zero to be less complicated than many of Follett's thrillers. It was a very easy read, although the "villain" was not necessarily evident until the end of the tale. Having just finished reading two books dealing wit...more
Thomas Bailes
I always enjoy reading Ken Follett. Some, like Pillars of the Earth, provoke a lot of thought. Others, like Code Zero, are great entertainment.
Read this for book club. Was not impressed.
Fast paced. Intriguing. Smart.
Storia inverosimile, col protagonista che si sveglia in un cesso pubblico e non ricorda più chi è, e fin qui uno pensa: ok, è l'inizio, vediamo cosa succede adesso.

In seguito, nella sua ricerca della propria identità, il tizio spiega a tre (o forse quattro, è passato del tempo da quando l'ho letto) persone:
"Sai, ho perso la memoria e non mi ricordo chi sono." Magari non proprio così, paro paro, ma, per intenderci, come se stesse raccontando di aver fatto colazione con una scodella di corn-flakes...more
Eine Toilette. Ein Mann, gekleidet wie ein Penner, erwacht und fragt sich nicht nur wie er denn hierher käme, sondern vor allem wer er denn sei. Doch da hilft alles nachdenken nichts, er leidet an einer globalen Amnesie. Er hat alle seine biographischen Daten vergessen, nicht jedoch seine Fähigkeiten und sein Fachwissen. Bald findet er durch Recherchen heraus, dass er offenbar ein führender Raketenwissenschafter ist, woher er kommt und wie sein Leben aussah ehe er das Gedächtnis verlor. Das Neul...more
Follett has written some fascinating historical novels, my favorite being Pillars of the Earth, the story of building a medieval cathedral, but this is the first spy novel. It’s riveting.
Shortly before the launch of America’s first attempt at a response to Sputnik in 1958, a man awakens in the men’s room of Union Station in Washington, D.C. and he has absolutely no idea who he is. He’s covered in vomit and dressed like a bum, but at a local shelter he puzzles the priest in charge by displaying...more
We typically enjoy Follett’s work, and got hooked early in “Code” on the premise that “Luke”, who awakes in a train station as a homeless man with significant amnesia, soon and cleverly determines not only his identity but the how and why of what happened to him. In so doing, the author traces the man’s back story, about two couples who went to Harvard/Radcliffe, and eventually both married, but to the opposite partners from when they dated. We found that thread of the story quite entertaining,...more
Thom Swennes
Most authors specialize in one particular genre. Ken Follett has the extraordinary talent to write anything. My first introduction to him was Pillars of the Earth. This spurred me on to its sequel World Without End and I was hooked. On Wings of Eagles proved him a master of both fiction and non-fiction. Code to Zero is set in the post WWII Cold War Era. The Soviet Union is winning the space race and the United States is desperate to catch up. Claude Lucas, a rocket scientist, wakes up in a publi...more
Aug 18, 2008 Jodi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: thrillers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Randall
Sep 23, 2011 Sean Randall rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sean by: steve
"We lie more to our loved ones, because we care about them so damn much. Why do you think we tell the truth to priests, and shrinks, and total strangers we meet on trains? It's because we don't love them, so we don't care what they think."

This was recommended to me as a good read and I'll admit the start, and indeed the whole idea, is a gripping one. Luke's race to solve his personal mystery could have been engaging and the space race is fascinating material with which to work. The trouble is, a...more
Sur fond de guerre froide, la course aux étoiles est lancée entre les Américains et l'URSS. Et c'est (évidemment) du côté de l'oncle Sam que nous assisterons au préparatif du lancement de la première fusée US... Mais la verrons nous voler ? Car une menace diffuse semble roder sur Cap Canaveral, mais quel peut bien être le rapport entre ceci et la perte de mémoire d'un sans-abri ?

Code Zéro c'est une histoire d'espionnage sur une trame historique. Mais autant la trame est crédible, autant les pers...more
The year is 1958 , in the midst of the cold war. The Soviets have steered ahead in the space program with the launch of their first satellite and their American counterparts are reeling under pressure to launch their first satellite. And the launch in question has already been delayed twice due to some mechanical shortcomings.
Unaffected by all this a man wakes up in a public toilet of a railway station without any memory of his previous occurrence. Such was the condition that he couldn’t remembe...more
Justin Jones
This book had a very very slow start, the premise was good, but from all the overly detailed CIA stuff and all the details of the rocket was very distracting from the main story, which was a bit of a bummer. Later on towards e end of the book I keep on getting more and more into it, and the climax was great and exciting, I was on the edge of my seat biting my nails off, but it was not enough to redeem it entirely. And now for the author, his writing skills are great.mhe has ALOT of knowledge of...more

The Explorer I tears through the sky, during the space race of 1958. In this book, placed in the cold war, A man named Luke wakes up as a bum in a bathroom and has no idea who he is. He soon learns that he was a rocket scientist for the Explorer I, and that he knew a secret that could foil the plans of a group of soviet spies. Luke slowly pieces together his life, and eventually the secret Anthony, his friend, is keeping. Code to Zero by Ken Follett is a very well written espio...more
Feb 14, 2010 Ed rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Spy story fans.
Not one of Follett's best but an entertaining read.

Taking place during the cold war, it describes an effort to frustrate the U.S. effort to place a satellite in space and so to compete with the Russians who had already launched Sputnik and sent Laika, a dog, into space.

The most interesting twist was the use of amnesia to set the stage and introduce us to both the protagonist and his main antagonist. The characters were drawn fairly well, although more could have been done with their motivations....more
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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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“the war taught me that nothing counts as much as loyalty" "Bullshit. you still haven't learned that when humans are under pressure, we're all willing to lie" "even to the people we care?" "we lie more to our loved ones, because we care about them so damn much. why do you think we tell the truth to priests and shrinks and total strangers we meet on trains? it's because we don't love them, so we don't care what they think.” 0 likes
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