Code to Zero by Ken Follett

1. Published: 2000 Genre: Espionage thriller 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Pan Macmillan 3. Newspaper [Public Domain] via picryl 4. Silhouette [Public Domain] via piqsels 5. Explorer 1 launch [Public Domain] via piqsels

As the story opens, it is 1958 and the main character Luke, wakes up on the floor of a men’s washroom with amnesia. Over the next three days, he desperately searches for his identity, and finds himself involved in espionage and the “race to space” with the Soviet Union.

“It was never a good idea to startle a man with a gun in his hand.”

“Code to Zero” by Ken Follett

Glanceabook: “Disappointing. This book didn’t have the spark I remembered from previous, older books that I’ve read. In this one, I didn’t feel particularly involved.”

  • Kirkus: “The story of the space race that never gets off the ground… Full of misplaced Cold War nostalgia and dreary, threadbare characters. And really now, amnesia? In this day and age? With a straight face?”
  • New York Times: (Archives) “Follett employs deft flashbacks to develop the story of those near and dear to Lucas, all old college friends and former World War II spies. Lucas, and the reader, are kept guessing as to who are his true friends, and real enemies. With dependable skill, Follett weaves the threads of his narrative together, tying them into an unexpected and story-resolving knot at the end.”


“There had been some bad moments this morning, but he had held it together, with a different set of lies for each party in the game.”

“Luke had borrowed a car for the weekend. It was a two-seater Ford Model A roadster, ten years old, its sit-up-and-beg shape looking antiquated beside the streamlined cars of the early forties.”

Author: Ken Follett

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