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Code to Zero [Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 Jun 2001

Three days that could change the world's political landscape . . .

A man wakes up to find himself lying on the ground in a railway station, his mind stripped bare of all recollection. He has no idea how he got there. He does not even know his own name. Convinced he is a drunken down and out, it isn't until a newspaper report about a satellite launch catches his eye that he begins to suspect all is not what it seems . . .

The year is 1958, and America is about to launch its first satellite, in a desperate attempt to match the Soviet Sputnik and regain the lead in the space race. As Luke Lucas gradually unravels the mystery of his amnesia, he realizes that his fate is bound up with that of the rocket that stands ready on launch pad 26B at Cape Canaveral. And as he relearns the story of his life, he uncovers long-kept secrets about his wife, his best friend and the woman he once loved more than life itself...


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New edition edition (8 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330482866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330482868
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, was published to critical acclaim. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Product Description

Amazon Review

A man wakes up in ragged clothes in a back-alley with a headache, no memory and an equally shabby companion who assures him that this is an everyday occurrence. What distinguishes Luke, hero of Ken Follett's effective new thriller Code to Zero, is that he realises so very rapidly that the absence of any desire for alcohol means that he is being lied to. Smart and resourceful, but no superman, Luke's personal memories are gone, but his skills are still there--skills he realises he learned in WW2. Follett's sense of the conflicts and loyalties of the late Eisenhower 50s, with Sputnik in the sky and its American equivalent about to launch, is spot on; he is excellent on the game of shadows played by the early CIA men like Luke's old friend turned enemy Anthony, and the reasons why some people retained treasonable allegiance to Stalinism for so long. His management of shifts of time and viewpoint is slick and professional, but he also remembers what all this is for; the back story of Anthony, Luke, Luke's wife Elspeth and Billy, the woman whom Luke once loved and who holds the key to his mind, is intensely credible and moving. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ken Follett was twenty-seven when he wrote Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller that became an international bestseller. He then surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth, about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages, which continues to captivate millions of readers all over the world and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, was a number one bestseller in the US, UK and Europe. Fall of Giants and Winter of the World are the first two bestselling novels in the Century trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUSPENSE IS HEIGHTENED BY ACCOMPLISHED READERS 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Espionage is at the core of this Cold War era thriller and the suspense sizzles. The time is 1958 when the space race was young and the Soviets seemed to be outdistancing the America. The protagonist is an inventive, complex study - he's Dr. Claude Lucas, an important cog in a new space launch. However, he's also a victim of amnesia, an apparent vagrant in Washington D.C.'s Union Station. Toss in the CIA, a covey of spies, and an old college buddy of Lucas's who is more foe than friend. Some might deem this a classic take on chased and chasers - not so. Thanks to the deft Mr. Follett, it's a no-holds-barred, riveting epic. And, so are the readings. Frank Muller, who has been featured on over 150 audiobooks, offers a splendid rendering of crisp, character driven dialogue in the two abridged versions on cassette and CD. While Obie award-winner George Guidall, an actor for 40 plus years, reads the unabridged version. He takes sinister and dramatic to their zenith.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Detail Please 13 Dec 2000
Format:Hardcover
Having been a long-time fan of Mr Follett's early work, I was a bit disappointed by his last two novels (The Third Twin & The Hammer of Eden).
"Code to Zero", which is again set in the Eastern US, starts off quite well and is an entertaining read over all, but after finishing it (which doesn't take very long at barely 300 pages net) I found it suffered from the same flaws that Ken Follett's other recent novels had: it's just too superficial.
The lost memory idea is not really new, but a gifted author like Mr Follett should have made so much more out of a pretty simple storyline. Like its two predecessors, "Code to Zero" reads like a TV-thriller script which includes a strangely shallow love interest sideline.
I'd rather wait two or even three years for a new Follett novel that's up to the standards of "The Pillars of the Earth", "Night Over Water" or "Eye of the Needle" than be slightly disappointed again by another rush-job like the new book.
I really wish this review could've been more positive, but in comparison to earlier Follett classics "Code to Zero" is a terribly flat affair.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Warning: Many people who start to read this book will not be able to put it down. As a result, you may miss some sleep unless you start reading early in the day. I stayed up until 2:17 a.m. to finish it.
The story opens with an unforgettable scene. A man awakens on the floor of a men's rest room in Union Station in Washington, D.C. He has a terrible headache and no memory of who he is. He finds that he is dressed like a street person, and a man awakening in another part of the rest room tells him that he passed out from too much drink.
The story evolves from there at solving three questions. First, who is he? Second, how did he lose his memory? Third, how can he avert the potential harm that led him to lose his memory?
The story takes place primarily in 1958 as the United States was about to launch its first satellite, Explorer I. Flashbacks take the action back as far as 1941, when many of the characters were students together at Harvard University.
When people ask me about a novel, there are a certain set of predictable questions that I get. As I thought about this book, I realized that it had something for almost everyone. My wife always asks me if it's a love story. Well, this one certainly qualifies as it builds the emotional relationships between two of the leading characters over 27 years.
The next question is whether it is a fast read or not. This one also qualifies, because you are pulled along by the action.
After that, someone always asks me if the story is like any other stories they might have read.
Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Warning: Many people who start to read this book will not be able to put it down. As a result, you may miss some sleep unless you start reading early in the day. I stayed up until 2:17 a.m. to finish it.
The story opens with an unforgettable scene. A man awakens on the floor of a men's rest room in Union Station in Washington, D.C. He has a terrible headache and no memory of who he is. He finds that he is dressed like a street person, and a man awakening in another part of the rest room tells him that he passed out from too much drink.
The story evolves from there at solving three questions. First, who is he? Second, how did he lose his memory? Third, how can he avert the potential harm that led him to lose his memory?
The story takes place primarily in 1958 as the United States was about to launch its first satellite, Explorer I. Flashbacks take the action back as far as 1941, when many of the characters were students together at Harvard University.
When people ask me about a novel, there are a certain set of predictable questions that I get. As I thought about this book, I realized that it had something for almost everyone. My wife always asks me if it's a love story. Well, this one certainly qualifies as it builds the emotional relationships between two of the leading characters over 27 years.
The next question is whether it is a fast read or not. This one also qualifies, because you are pulled along by the action.
After that, someone always asks me if the story is like any other stories they might have read.
Read more ›
Comment | 
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed really, in the same way you might be when you are...
This is good but nowhere in comparison to the best Ken Follett. Reasonable plot (if a little far fetched), little bit of suspense, smattering of romance. Read more
Published 2 days ago by H. M. Sykes
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story
Another great book by Ken, kept me guessing until the last few pages. Fast moving and obviously very well researched
Published 7 days ago by David King
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
Another great read from. Couldn't stop reading a great thriller from start to finish. Didn't know much about Egypt during world war two. Very informative as well.
Published 11 days ago by Debra
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed the story and the twists and turns
Published 15 days ago by gary
5.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable
Excellent, gripping with a few unexpected twists. Another great novel from the excellent Ken Follett.looking forward to reading another of his.
Published 1 month ago by Eifion Rowlands
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Just a good read with a different slant on the main character's situation
Published 1 month ago by beejay99
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition
One word can describe this novel: fantastic.
I will not write a synopsis or a spoiler as I do not like it when reviewers do that. Read more
Published 1 month ago by mmmppph
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
As ever a good read with an excellent plot line
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Richard M. White
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Follett
Kept you on the edge of your seat from the moment you opened the book. Some mysteries were easy to guess. But you still wanted to know how it ended for Luke.
Published 3 months ago by Mark Kneen
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I seem to have discovered Ken Follett after not really reading him before. This is about the 5th of his books I have read in last few weeks. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike Fisher
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