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January 2017: Foreign Literature > The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett 3 stars

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message 1: by DianeMP (new)

DianeMP | 424 comments Although published in 1980, Welsh writer Ken Follett adds another novel to the espionage genre. The Key to Rebecca takes place in Cairo, Egypt toward the end of World War II. While a piece of fiction, I plan to check on the actual events surrounding Nazi general Rommel and his plan to capture Cairo from the Allied Forces and the role of Anwar Sadat during this historic period.
As the story opens we meet a lone traveler, Achmed, traversing the Sahara desert on his way to finding his nomad cousins. Once he finds his cousins at their traditional seasonal camp, he asks for help to transform into Alex Wolff, age thirty-four, a Cairo businessman, half-German, and Nazi spy. Succeeding, he makes his way to Cairo where he will work on behalf of General Rommel to learn the Allies plans to foil his attempts to take Cairo for the Nazi's.
He meets his match in the form of British officer William Vandam. Since
Wolff's childhood home has been requisioned as a home for Officer Vandam, he must reestablish former contacts to help him resettle in Cairo.
Armed only with his trusty knife, short-wave radio, and an English book with the opening line, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

With that, Wolff and Vandam begin a cat and mouse game upon which rests the Allied victory of Cairo and the outcome of World War II.


message 2: by Charlie (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 493 comments One of my favorite opening lines of a book, "“The last camel collapsed at noon.” I gave it 4 stars. Eye of the Needle is one of my favorites!


message 3: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7202 comments Both this book and Eye of the Needle are good, but I read them back when they were first out in paperback, so Eye of the Needle I think in 1979. My dad was a big fan of Follett. My dad is still alive, so the was is because his reading tastes have changed a bit in the past 5 years or so. He doesn't read much fiction anymore, although he's always read some nonfiction.


message 4: by DianeMP (new)

DianeMP | 424 comments My reading tastes have changed as well over the years. The Key to Rebecca would be a better fit with my espionage genre tastes of the eighties. At that time my favorite author was Robert Ludlow, especially the Bourne trilogy. I've always considered Follett to be a lesser author of the genre. I really don't like his inclusion of crassly described gratuitous sex sprinkled throughout his books. It's the same reason I never finished Pillars of the Earth preferring instead to watch the television adaptation.
Choosing this book for the tag was more of a quick pick from my TBR books than anything else. Without going into detail, my son is still battling cancer and as a result I am still battling a lack of concentration with reading. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm comparing our situations, it's a cause and effect relationship.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on Mr. Follett and his book. Stay well.


message 5: by Karin (last edited Feb 07, 2017 11:18AM) (new)

Karin | 7202 comments Diane wrote: "My reading tastes have changed as well over the years. The Key to Rebecca would be a better fit with my espionage genre tastes of the eighties. At that time my favorite author was Robert Ludlow, es..."

Ah, yes, I used to like some of Robert Ludlum's books--the Bourne trilogy (what it was back then) was one of his better sets, as were books such as The Parsifal Mosaic.

Ken Follett is an author I've read a fair bit of, but I am moving away from his books lately. I was disappointed by the third Century trilogy book and didn't finish it, even though I liked the first two at a 4 star level.


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