In this classic Cold War thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett puts his own electrifying twist on the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. As the clock counts down to a shocking climax, "Code to Zero's split-second suspense proves that . . . [Follett is] still a hell of a storyteller" (Entertainment Weekly). Look out for Ken's newest book, A Column of Fire, available now.
January, 1958—the darkest hour of the Cold War and the early dawn of the space race. On the launch pad at Cape Canaveral sits America’s best hope to catch up with the Russians: the Explorer I satellite. But at the last moment, the launch is delayed due to weather, even though everyone can see it is a perfectly sunny day.
The real reason for the delay rests deep in the mind of a NASA scientist who has awoken that morning to find his memory completely erased. Knowing only that he’s being followed and watched at every turn, he must find the clues to his own identity before he can discover who is responsible. But even more terrible is the dark secret that they want him to forget. A secret that can destroy the Explorer I—and America’s future. . . .
Praise for Code to Zero:
"This spy thriller is Follett at his best." —People
"Starts off fast and never slows down. . . . Follett creates a rousing story that never flags." —Chicago Tribune
"Gripping." —The New York Times
"Flawlessly plotted, tautly told, and suspenseful." —Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A winner . . . a jolting joyride." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
After dabbling in his last few books in historical sagas and various thriller subgenres, Follett returns to his espionage roots with this absorbing, tightly plotted Cold War tale about skullduggery in the early days of the space race. Set in 1958 shortly after the Soviets beat the Americans into orbit, the story tracks the frantic movements of Dr. Claude Lucas, who wakes up one morning in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station, dressed as a bum. A victim of amnesia, he has no recollection that he is a key player in the upcoming launch of Explorer 1, the army's latest attempt to get a rocket into space. While Lucas slowly unravels the clues to his identity, the CIA follows its own agenda. The agency, led by Lucas's old Harvard buddy Anthony Carroll, has its own murky reasons for wanting Lucas to remain amnesic, and will kill him if he tries to interfere with the launch. Follett (The Hammer of Eden) does a wonderful job of keeping readers guessing about Lucas; is he a spy trying to foil the launch, as the CIA apparently believes? From the nation's capital to Alabama and Cape Canaveral, Lucas manages to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, steadily learning more about his memory loss, his wife, Elspeth, and his college friends Carroll, Billie Josephson and Bern Rothsten. Suspense junkies won't be disappointed by Follett's man-on-the-run framework; tension courses through the book from start to finish. Yet where the story shines is in the chemistry between Lucas and the four other major characters. As told through a series of well-chosen flashbacks, all the old college chums are now working or have worked as spies. The dilemma, skillfully posed by Follett, is figuring out who's friend and who's foe.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Code to Zero
Entertaining and suspenseful. A few surprises.
Code to Zero
A high speed thriller, full of Cold War intrigue, romance, betrayal and science. Well researched, with compelling characters and an imaginative plot line. Although it was a bit predictable, it was , none the less, nearly impossible to put down.
Fast and exciting