The Key to Rebecca

The Key to Rebecca

1980 | Thriller | 528 pages
The Key to Rebecca is a gripping thriller set during the Second World War, from the number one bestseller and author of The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett.
A Ruthless Spy
1942. Alex Wolff’s goal is Cairo. Following a relentless trek across the scorching Sahara, he arrives in the city with a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, a lethal blade and a trail of bodies in his wake. Known to his handlers as the ‘Sphinx’, Wolff is a Nazi spy with a brutal desire to succeed.
A Failing Campaign
The British campaign in North Africa hangs in the balance. Led by Rommel, the Germans are closing in and the Sphinx’s reports on British troop movements and strategic plans are giving them the edge. Intelligence officer Major William Vandam is tasked with hunting down the Sphinx before the British are defeated.
A Deadly Chase
Vandam enlists the help of courtesan Elene Fontana, who agrees to try and ensnare the spy in exchange for a better life in Palestine. Can they catch the master spy before he uncovers Cairo’s secrets and the campaign fails?

The last camel collapsed at noon. It was the five-year-old white bull he had bought in Gialo, the youngest and strongest of the three beasts, and the least ill-tempered: he liked the animal as much as a man could like a camel, which is to say that he hated it only a little. They climbed the leeward side of a small hill, man and camel planting big clumsy feet in the inconstant sand, and at the top they stopped. They looked ahead, seeing nothing but another hillock to climb, and after that a thousand more, and it was as if the camel despaired at the thought. Its forelegs folded, then its rear went down, and it couched on top of the hill like a monument, searing across the empty desert with the indifference of the dying. Continue reading

After the success of Eye of the Needle, my publishers would have liked me to write another World War Two spy story every year for 25 years. But I was only 29, and not ready to be put in a box. I was very firm that I was going to write anything that caught my fancy and the fancy of my readers. However, while researching Eye of the Needle, I had come across a wonderful true story.

 

There was a spy ring based on a house boat in Cairo in 1942 which involved a belly dancer and a British major she was having an affair with. The information at stake was crucial to the battles going on in the desert. The code used by the spies was based on one of the great suspense novels of all time, Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. The spycatcher in the story is trying to find the key to the Rebecca code. The Key to Rebecca was my third bestseller. After that, I really started believing that I was a success.

“From the opening sentence to the gripping climax . . . Ken Follett delivers the surefire suspense readers have come to expect.” - Los Angeles Times

 

“A top-flight adventure thriller . . . violence, intrigue, and exotic passions. . . . A vivid page-turner.” - The Washington Post

 

“Brilliant . . . breathless high adventure.” - Time

 

“Magnificent . . . pulse-racing . . . the runaway hit of the year.” - People