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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUSPENSE IS HEIGHTENED BY ACCOMPLISHED READERS
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...
Published on 8 Dec 2000

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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Detail Please
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...
Published on 13 Dec 2000 by C. Kuschel-Toerber


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8 of 8 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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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Detail Please, 13 Dec 2000
By 
C. Kuschel-Toerber "Christian Kuschel" (Frankfurt, Hessen) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 14 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Code to Zero (Hardcover)
This book had me reading it at all hours wanting to know what was going to happen next. This is the first Ken Follett book I have read so I can not compare it to others but I will certainly be reading others. The book at nearly "400" pages may have been a little short for some people but over all a good read and gets my thumbs up!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop Thriller Crossing Genres Is Flawed with Errors!, 13 Aug 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (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. Well, this one has echoes of The Manchurian Candidate (about mind control and induced memory loss), the best Cold War spy novels of Le Carre (with agents, double agents, and double crosses), the unrelenting action of The Day of the Jackel (charging from one crisis to another), and many elements from Love Story (irresistible attraction being overcome by events).
I find that the truly successful and popular novels always add some important factual knowledge for the reader, that forever changes the reader's perception of the world. This book contains many wonderful details about the technology behind Explorer I that I would have loved to have known before. You will find these gems in a brief paragraph that precedes each little section in the book (divisions in time are denoted this way). It also is mind-opening in its development of the problem how someone would find out who they are if they lost their memory and had no resources.
So why didn't I say that this book was a five star or higher book? Well, it suffers from very poor editing and proofreading. Every few pages, there is an appalling mistake that takes you completely out of the story while you focus on the mistake. Let me give you a few examples that most people would have caught. (1) The epilogue talks about Apollo 11 landing on the Moon and proudly proclaims that the year is 1968 in large bold type at the top of the page. Oops! Can people so soon have forgotten that it was 1969? Very sloppy. (2) The story makes a great fuss about how one of the characters will get into a house in Alabama. Then, another character mysteriously has a key when you would expect that there was no possibility of him having a key to the house. I was all ready for how he would break into the house, or how he would locate a hidden key. It was a big letdown when he used a key that shouldn't have been there. (3) One of the characters drives around in a Ford model that didn't come along for another two decades or so. And there was no reason for Mr. Follett to even tell us what model it was. This is pure sloppiness. I could go on.
My advice to the reader is to simply expect lots of little mistakes, and to try to ignore them.
My advice to Mr. Follett is that he correct the worst of these errors before the next printing of what is sure to be a top selling book for some time to come.
Other readers who are not so generous will also quibble with using a public event that obviously turned out historically in a certain way as the backdrop for the novel. I must admit that the story would have been more interesting if I did not know that the satellite would successfully launch.
Perhaps the story could have been made into a science fiction story where someone was trying to be sure that history stayed the same, along the lines of many Star Trek novels. That would have reminded readers of even more stories they have read before. Personally, I think that would have been a mere gimmick.
Perhaps the only reasonable alternative would have been to focus around a future event of significance, like the first use of high speed engines capable of approaching light speed. But that would have meant I would never have learned all of the interesting details about Explorer I. All in all, I'm satisfied with the choice of using this event for this story.
Following up on this story, I have an idea for you to consider. Imagine yourself pursuing an adventure in which you were shabbily dressed and had no money, no credit cards, no cellular telephone, and no assistance. How would you conduct yourself to get the resources you need and have fun doing it?
Always be on the lookout for the right stuff!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop Thriller Crossing Genres Is Flawed with Errors!, 15 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (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. Well, this one has echoes of The Manchurian Candidate (about mind control and induced memory loss), the best Cold War spy novels of Le Carre (with agents, double agents, and double crosses), the unrelenting action of The Day of the Jackel (charging from one crisis to another), and many elements from Love Story (irresistible attraction being overcome by events).
I find that the truly successful and popular novels always add some important factual knowledge for the reader, that forever changes the reader's perception of the world. This book contains many wonderful details about the technology behind Explorer I that I would have loved to have known before. You will find these gems in a brief paragraph that precedes each little section in the book (divisions in time are denoted this way). It also is mind-opening in its development of the problem how someone would find out who they are if they lost their memory and had no resources.
So why didn't I say that this book was a five star or higher book? Well, it suffers from very poor editing and proofreading. Every few pages, there is an appalling mistake that takes you completely out of the story while you focus on the mistake. Let me give you a few examples that most people would have caught. (1) The epilogue talks about Apollo 11 landing on the Moon and proudly proclaims that the year is 1968 in large bold type at the top of the page. Oops! Can people so soon have forgotten that it was 1969? Very sloppy. (2) The story makes a great fuss about how one of the characters will get into a house in Alabama. Then, another character mysteriously has a key when you would expect that there was no possibility of him having a key to the house. I was all ready for how he would break into the house, or how he would locate a hidden key. It was a big letdown when he used a key that shouldn't have been there. (3) One of the characters drives around in a Ford model that didn't come along for another two decades or so. And there was no reason for Mr. Follett to even tell us what model it was. This is pure sloppiness. I could go on.
My advice to the reader is to simply expect lots of little mistakes, and to try to ignore them.
My advice to Mr. Follett is that he correct the worst of these errors before the next printing of what is sure to be a top selling book for some time to come.
Other readers who are not so generous will also quibble with using a public event that obviously turned out historically in a certain way as the backdrop for the novel. I must admit that the story would have been more interesting if I did not know that the satellite would successfully launch.
Perhaps the story could have been made into a science fiction story where someone was trying to be sure that history stayed the same, along the lines of many Star Trek novels. That would have reminded readers of even more stories they have read before. Personally, I think that would have been a mere gimmick.
Perhaps the only reasonable alternative would have been to focus around a future event of significance, like the first use of high speed engines capable of approaching light speed. But that would have meant I would never have learned all of the interesting details about Explorer I. All in all, I'm satisfied with the choice of using this event for this story.
Following up on this story, I have an idea for you to consider. Imagine yourself pursuing an adventure in which you were shabbily dressed and had no money, no credit cards, no cellular telephone, and no assistance. How would you conduct yourself to get the resources you need and have fun doing it?
Always be on the lookout for the right stuff!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable..., 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Code to Zero (Paperback)
This was the first Ken Follett book I have read and from the first page I was hooked, and read it in two sittings. I love the way that you were kept guessing as to who Luke was and what his motives where.
I couln't put this book down and would recomend it to anyone who likes twisting plots that keep you guessing and don't all come out till the very end.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic but a very enjoyable read, 21 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Code to Zero (Paperback)
This is not a classic Follett on a par with Pillars of the Earth, or Eye of the Needle. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable read and keeps going at a cracking pace, and is certainly more plausible than Hammer of Eden. It is an interesting notion that in the period following the Second World War there existed a group of civilians with unparalleled experience of undercover work behind enemy lines. The characters are all broady believable, and the switching between time zones works well. Taken as a more lightweight read, this is an excellent book and definitely a good one for a long flight.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would even give it 6 stars if I could!, 18 May 2006
By 
Brian Butterly "Varied Taste" (Dorking UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code to Zero (Paperback)
When I picked up the book at the station - I was a little concerned as it sounded to be an opening I had heard before. Then when I started into the book this feeling was dispelled. The plot is intelligent and well paced - I couldn't wait to get back to the story-line. The inter-twined lives of the main characters was told in segments from present day, past events and anecdotal passages. The characters are well sketched and believable. I was fascinated by the logic of Luke to understand aspects of his amnesia, and I enjoyed the quick pace.

I will read more by this author, he writes well, and recommend this book without reservation. Superb
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Interestingly Unstoppable', 14 April 2004
By 
Salman T (Uxbridge, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code to Zero (Paperback)
From the first to the last page a well written, flowing story with an intriguing plot. Twisting tales within the story keeping the reader absolutely focused. As much as it seems to be just a story, it puts reality into text. I must say one of the best books I have read from Follet, although the Eye of the Needle is a must read too! Go for it!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's back!, 4 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Code to Zero (Hardcover)
After the disappointments of his recent works, 'The Third Twin' and 'Hammer of Eden', Follet is back to his best. An excellent book with strong characters and spell binding pace. Right up there with 'Pillars of the Earth' and 'a dangerous fortune'. You must read this book!
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Code to Zero
Code to Zero by Ken Follett (Paperback - 8 Jun 2001)
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