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The Third Twin Paperback – June 29, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Identical twins have been the storyteller's friend since Roman times. Master-scribbler Ken Follett does the arrangement one better in his latest yarn, The Third Twin. The heroine, Jeannie Ferrami, is a young professor at Jones Falls University (JFU)(think Johns Hopkins) who is investigating the balance of nature versus nurture in criminality. Driven by a secret from her past, Dr. Ferrami is overjoyed to find that a straight-arrow law student at JFU has an identical twin (raised separately) who is a convicted rapist. She is not overjoyed, however, when that man is arrested for raping her best friend. Surely Mr. Perfect couldn't be guilty--enter the evil masterminds, three Nixon-era compadres who have been toiling for decades to make America safe for racial purity. It's bad enough that one of the conspirators is Dr. Ferrami's boss, but another is eyeing the Oval Office. The young professor has stumbled onto a secret that could ruin them all, and it's only a matter of pages before bad things start to happen to the pair. The shortest distance between two points is a Follett plot. Look elsewhere for subtlety; entertainment, we got.

From Publishers Weekly

After three consecutive historical sagas (A Dangerous Fortune, etc.), Follett returns to the threshold of the 21st century with a provocative, well-paced and sensational biotech-thriller about the genetic manipulation of human embryos. Striving to prove that offspring genetically predisposed toward aggression can learn to sublimate their combative nature through childhood conditioning by socially responsible parents, a feisty and brilliant young university researcher, Jeannie Ferrami, develops software to identify identical twins who have been reared apart. When she stumbles across what seems to be an impossibility?identical twins born to different mothers at separate locations on different dates, Jeannie runs into serious trouble. Pitted against her is, foremost, her own faculty mentor, Berrington Jones, a world-renowned authority on biotechnical engineering. In devious partnership with another scientist and a bigoted U.S. senator with presidential aspirations, Jones is co-founder of Genetico, a small company that pioneered biogenetic research. The trio is now in the final stages of a lucrative friendly buyout by a corporate giant?and they don't take kindly to Jeannie's diggings. Multiples created by genetic manipulation aren't new to thrillers (e.g., Ira Levin's The Boys from Brazil), but Follett puts a clever spin on the concept. And despite entwining outlandish plot strands of biotechnical skullduggery, a neo-Nazi candidate for president, academic politics and corporate greed with a steamy romance between Jeannie and one of the twins, the novel shines with the authenticity that's Follett's trademark as it explores the Internet and the mind-boggling data banks of personal statistics maintained by insurance empires, the Pentagon and the FBI. This isn't Follett's most sophisticated novel?it's heavy on the melodrama and on sexual violence?but its wicked narrative energy and catchy theme will likely propel it quickly onto the charts. Major ad/promo; simultaneous Random House audio and large-print editions; author satellite tour;
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (June 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449227421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449227428
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, will be published in Autumn 2007. He has since written several equally successful novels including, most recently, WHITEOUT. He is also the author of non-fiction bestseller ON WINGS OF EAGLES. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Customer Reviews

I hate its characters, of which it has none.
Stone Junction
It is a fast paced page turner... a very very interesting read.
Charitha Naidu Kyanam
This is the first book I have read written by Ken Follett.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I notice that there are two distinct groups of reviewers for this book. One group feels that it is excellent and the other feels that it is very poor in quality. However, I have found the book to be an excellent read and so have other book lovers among my acquaintances.
The story is gripping, full of suspense and with a lot of twists. I liked the strong determined character of the heroine. The characters of Steve Logan, Berrington Jones etc. are also well drawn sketches. The plot is intriguing and deals with cutting edge BioTechnology.It has been thoroughly researched as any Ken Follett novel generally is (I know Follett has a good research team to help him out while writing ) The tension is taut throughout. It is well written as any Ken Follett novel is. It has all the ingredients of a top class thriller.
The only drawback that I have noticed was the computer program that Jeannie Ferrami wrote to retrieve matches from databases. That seems a bit far fetched since the program seems to run on any platform, search any database of any type. I have not come across any program like that.
However, apart from this minor flaw, there is hardly any blemish in the book. It made me a Follett fan at once and though the other books he has written are different, I have enjoyed most of them.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Blake Etem on November 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
On a recent trip to Florida I stopped in at the airport book shop and purchased a book for the return flight to Italy. I had read Ken Follet's excellent "Pillars of the Earth" a few years ago and decided to try another of his books. This book did not even approach the level of the first Follet novel I read. Unlike "Pillars", in "The Third Twin" Follet does not appear to have done any research on his subject matter. In one section he has a character reminiscing about his father who was a SECOND LIEUTENANT in the US NAVY. The US Navy has never had second lieutenants; junior officers of that pay grade are called Ensigns. But this is only the beginning of technical errors that destroy an otherwise compelling story line. One of the main weapons of the protagonist is a computer program that she wrote to compare elements in database to develop genetic comparisons. Unfortunately, the way the thing is supposed to work is closer to something that Gandalf or Harry Potter would whip up rather than something out of computer science class. The poorly researched and unbelievable stuff goes on and worsens throughout the book. More examples - people out on bail without a security clearance wandering the halls of the Pentagon and putting magic floppy disks into the Pentagon computers - you guessed it - so they could search the databases on those computers. All in all, I was very, very glad when the book drew to its predictable close.
Follet is a good writer, but he really needs to research his subjects better before writing a book.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. H. Grotti on October 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a late bloomer where Ken Follett is concerned. Started with his first, the Modigliani Scandal, wasn't too impressed, and then read this one. I couldn't put it down. Maybe it is because my background is in science and medicine, but I think this is an absolute must read for anyone who loves to have the supense reach out and grab you by the throat and not let you go until the last page. Then again, I always love it when the big BAD gets done in by the plucky underdog! I guess I will be plowing through Mr. Follett's other suspense novels now.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Third Twin" is the first Ken Follett novel that I have read, and I must say that I am definitely going to try some of his earlier works, even though I Know this book is different from some of his earlier efforts. However, I really liked this book; it moves well; it has likeable heroes and nasty villains. It addresses the question of nature vs. nurture, and Follett obviously believes that no matter what's in your genes, it's important as to what kind of environment you are raised in.
Jeannie Ferrami, the heroine, is a strong, determined character, and I liked her persistence in proving not only that her scientific studies are correct, but that the conspiracy she has uncovered needs to be addressed! I wish sometimes other reviewers wouldn't...mention some of the plot's "surprises," such as the number of clones, but even though in reading the reviews, you get advance information, don't let that spoil the finesse in which Follette weaves his tale.
I liked Steve Logan, too. He comes across as a sincere, honest type of guy, who wants to be a good lawyer and is caught in the unbelievable maze of discovering he is a clone.
The novel opens briskly with one of the evil clones rape of Jeanne's best friend, and we get involved with the confusion when Steve enters Jeannie's life.
The villains are all particularly vile, but Berrington Jones is the worst. Such a pompous, self-serving fool.
Fortunately, after our heroes go through countless setbacks, the ending is justifiable and the epilogue at the end is particularly touching.
A great book; I really enjoyed it for it's entertainment value!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Russ in Oregon on September 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It's inconceivable to me that the author of Pillars of the Earth could come up with something so bad. Had the political characterizations been written by Nancy Pelosi, they would have been more balanced. The plot was entirely predictable, the dialogue juvenile, and the brilliant characters incredibly stupid at times.

The research was atrocious. For example, one of the Pentagon employees was an overweight 50 something female lieutenant. In the first place, the military doesn't have junior officers in their 50's. In the second place, junior officers with weight problems are disciplined, not given plum jobs in the Pentagon. Soldiers don't fire warning shots, especially not inside the Pentagon. The black WWII veteran had an antique pistol that he took off a German because black soldiers weren't allowed weapons, even in a war zone. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are proper nouns and should be capitalized. Police officers don't carry their weapons into interrogation rooms and jail. The list goes on and on. Follett is usually a much better researcher.

In short, had Ken Follett's name not been on the cover, no one outside the author's family would pay to read tripe like this. Follett is a great author. I don't know what happened to convince him to publish this train wreck.
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