Saturday, December 30, 2006

Code to Zero by Ken Follett

This was moderately interesting, just good enough to keep me listening while I walked home from work, or tidied the kitchen. Since that’s my minimum standard for an audiobook, I guess I’d say this worked out okay. The idea is simple: it is 1958 and someone is trying to prevent the launch of the first US satellite. The protagonist, who has learned of the plot, has had his memory erased by evil rogue CIA agents who might turn out to be KGB agents, and he has to get his memory back and catch the bad guys before they scuttle the rocket launch.

My big complaint is that everyone is just too blasé about this memory loss thing, and the amnesiac finds his way back to his own life with a speed and efficiency that challenges belief. He discovers his forgotten career by browsing the library shelves. When he finds that he can understand a book on rocketry, he realizes that he’s a rocket scientist. Oh come on.

Nevertheless, if you can get over this hurdle there’s some good suspense and interesting information about the early days of the space program. I like Ken Follett because unlike some of the other powerhouse thriller authors, his books are not so laden with testosterone. He has always included strong women characters in his books, and this one is no exception. In this one he also does so while avoiding anachronisms; his women operate within the limitations of their 1950’s society yet still manage to get the job done. But this book wasn’t anywhere near as good as Eye of the Needle (which also features a great woman character). Maybe I should just read that again.

Here's a link to a review.
(Book 53, 2006)


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