We've been doing a lot of WWII at home, what with watching The Battle of Britain and The Battle of the Bulge, and that prompteed me to dig out my well-worn copy of The Key to Rebecca. I always think this and The Eye of the Needle are amongst the best things that Follett has ever done. Many of his later books seem to tread a well-worn territory and wear a been-there-done-that look.
But 'Rebecca is really interesting - believably set in Egypt, which at the time was struggling for independence - and with an interesting cast of characters. Unlike many later and American thriller writers, Follet spends a lot of time detailing the background of each character and actually shows character development through the book - in a way that affects the denouement of the novel, which is always interesting.
'Rebecca is a really interesting spy novel, with its twists and turns and many points of suspense - Hitchcock would have loved filming it, and I can almost imagine it, with Ava Gardner playing Elene. I was reflecting later on the reason why many people are such WWII buffs and came to the conclusion that it was rather mythological in its construct - you knew who the good guys and the baddies were, the baddies got their come-uppance, and there were many Homeric heroes and tragedies enroute to the final victory.
The current situation with terrorists is much harder to engage in - firstly because there's no end in sight. In a way, terrorism can be likened to the Hindu demon, Raktabeejasura. Any time anyone fought him, with each drop of his blood that was spilled, a thousand more Raktabeejasuras sprang up, finally requiring a Bhadra Kali who came, fought him and drank up all his lifeblood.
Am tempted to read something comforting again, like Eye of the Needle!