The Key To Rebecca

The Key to Rebecca
by Ken Follett

This is a classic that I missed growing up. And I do think this book has to be considered a classic in a way. 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 peop 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. Espionage novels aren’t my forte, but this one is a terrific read even for someone who prefers other genres.

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.

The first line of the novel blew me away: “The last camel collapsed at noon.” Six words and I know where the novel takes place (somewhere in the Middle East or Sahara), that someone is on a trip, that someone is in trouble. Six words and nine syllables! Wow!  I struggle with first lines when I write (and all the other lines, too).

I was also in awe at the way Follett is able to manipulate the reader’s empathy and sense of loyalty, gradually changing it from one character to another during the course of the novel.

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