The Third Twin

The Third Twin

by Ken Follett

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - REPRINT)

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Using a restricted FBI database, genetic researcher Jeanie Ferrami has located identical twins born to different mothers. Frightened by her bizarre discovery, she is determined to discover the truth at any cost—until she finds herself at the center of a scandal that could ruin her career.
To extricate herself, Jeannie plunges into a maze of hidden evidence. With growing horror, she uncovers a cynical, far-reaching conspiracy involving disturbing genetic experiments and some of the most powerful men in America—men who will kill to keep their secrets concealed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780449227428
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 76,697
Product dimensions: 6.88(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Ken Follett burst into the book world with Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller and international bestseller. After several more successful thrillers, he surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, a national and international bestseller. Follett’s new, magnificent historical epic, the Century Trilogy, includes the bestselling Fall of GiantsWinter of the World, and Edge of Eternity. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara.


Hertfordshire, England

Date of Birth:

June 5, 1949

Place of Birth:

Cardiff, Wales


B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970

Read an Excerpt

A HEAT WAVE LAY OVER BALTIMORE LIKE A SHROUD. The leafy suburbs were cooled by a hundred thousand lawn sprinklers, but the affluent inhabitants stayed inside with the air-conditioning on full blast. On North Avenue, listless hookers hugged the shade and sweated under their hairpieces, and the kids on the street corners dealt dope out of the pockets of baggy shorts. It was late September, but fall seemed a long way off.
A rusty white Datsun, the broken lens of one headlight fixed in place with an X of electrician’s tape, cruised through a white working-class neighborhood north of downtown. The car had no air-conditioning, and the driver had rolled down all the windows. He was a handsome man of twenty-two wearing cutoff jeans, a clean white T-shirt, and a red baseball cap with the word SECURITY in white letters on the front. The plastic upholstery beneath his thighs was slippery with his perspiration, but he did not let it bother him. He was in a cheerful mood. The car radio was tuned to 92Q—”Twenty hits in a row!” On the passenger seat was an open binder. He glanced at it occasionally, memorizing a typed page of technical terms for a test tomorrow. Learning was easy for him, and he would know the material after a few minutes of study.
At a stoplight, a blond woman in a convertible Porsche pulled alongside him. He grinned at her and said: “Nice car!” She looked away without speaking, but he thought he saw the hint of a smile at the corners of her mouth. Behind her big sunglasses she was probably twice his age: most women in Porsches were. “Race you to the next stoplight,” he said. She laughed at that, a flirtatious musical laugh, then she put the stick shift into first with a narrow, elegant hand and tore away from the light like a rocket.
He shrugged. He was only practicing.
He drove by the wooded campus of Jones Falls University, an Ivy League college much swankier than the one he attended. As he passed the imposing gateway, a group of eight or ten women jogged by in running clothes: tight shorts, Nikes, sweaty T-shirts, and halter tops. They were a field hockey team in training, he guessed, and the fit-looking one in front was their captain, getting them in shape for the season.
They turned into the campus, and suddenly he was overwhelmed, swamped by a fantasy so powerful and thrilling that he could hardly see to drive. He imagined them in the locker room—the plump one soaping herself in the shower, the redhead toweling her long copper-colored hair, the black girl stepping into a pair of white lace panties, the dykey team captain walking around naked, showing off her muscles—when something happened to terrify them. Suddenly they were all in a panic, wide-eyed with dread, screaming and crying, on the edge of hysteria. They ran this way and that, crashing into one another. The fat girl fell over and lay there weeping helplessly while the others trod on her, unheeding, as they tried desperately to hide, or find the door, or run away from whatever was scaring them.
He pulled over to the side of the road and put the car in neutral. He was breathing hard and he could feel his heartbeat hammering. This was the best one he had ever had. But a little piece of the fantasy was missing. What were they frightened of? He hunted about in his fertile imagination for the answer and gasped with desire when it came to him: a fire. The place was ablaze, and they were terrified by the flames. They coughed and choked on the smoke as they milled about, half-naked and frenzied. “My God,” he whispered, staring straight ahead, seeing the scene like a movie projected onto the inside of the Datsun’s windshield.
After a while he calmed down. His desire was still strong, but the fantasy was no longer enough: it was like the thought of a beer when he had a raging thirst. He lifted the hem of his T-shirt and wiped the sweat from his face. He knew he should try to forget the fantasy and drive on; but it was too wonderful. It would be terribly dangerous—he would go to jail for years if he were caught—but danger had never stopped him doing anything in his life. He struggled to resist temptation, though only for a second. “I want it,” he murmured, and he turned the car around and drove through the grand gateway into the campus.
He had been here before. The university spread across a hundred acres of lawns and gardens and woodland. Its buildings were made mostly of a uniform red brick, with a few modern concrete-and-glass structures, all connected by a tangle of narrow roads lined with parking meters.
The hockey team had disappeared, but he found the gymnasium easily: it was a low building next to a running track, and there was a big statue of a discus thrower outside. He parked at a meter but did not put a coin in: he never put money in parking meters. The muscular captain of the hockey team was standing on the steps of the gym, talking to a guy in a ripped sweatshirt. He ran up the steps, smiling at the captain as he passed her, and pushed through the door into the building.
The lobby was busy with young men and women in shorts and headbands coming and going, rackets in their hands and sports bags slung over their shoulders. No doubt most of the college teams trained on Sundays. There was a security guard behind a desk in the middle of the lobby, checking people’s student cards; but at that moment a big group of runners came in together and walked past the guard, some waving their cards and others forgetting, and the guard just shrugged his shoulders and went on reading The Dead Zone.
The stranger turned and looked at a display of silver cups in a glass case, trophies won by Jones Falls athletes. A moment later a soccer team came in, ten men and a chunky woman in studded boots, and he moved quickly to fall in with them. He crossed the lobby as part of their group and followed them down a broad staircase to the basement. They were talking about their game, laughing at a lucky goal and indignant about an outrageous foul, and they did not notice him.
His gait was casual but his eyes were watchful. At the foot of the stairs was a small lobby with a Coke machine and a pay phone under an acoustic hood. The men’s locker room was off the lobby. The woman from the soccer team went down a long corridor, heading presumably for the women’s locker room, which had probably been added as an afterthought by an architect who imagined there would never be many girls at Jones Falls, back in the days when “coeducational” was a sexy word.
The stranger picked up the pay phone and pretended to search for a quarter. The men filed into their locker room. He watched the woman open a door and disappear. That must be the women’s locker room. They were all in there, he thought excitedly, undressing and showering and rubbing themselves with towels. Being so close to them made him feel hot. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand. All he had to do to complete the fantasy was get them all scared half to death.
He made himself calm. He was not going to spoil it by haste. It needed a few minutes’ planning.
When they had all disappeared, he padded along the corridor after the woman.
Three doors led off it, one on either side and one at the end. The door on the right was the one the woman had taken. He checked the end door and found that it led to a big, dusty room full of bulky machinery: boilers and filters, he guessed, for the swimming pool. He stepped inside and closed the door behind him. There was a low, even electrical hum. He pictured a girl delirious with fright, dressed only in her underwear—he imagined a bra and panties with a pattern of flowers—lying on the floor, staring up at him with terrified eyes as he unbuckled his belt. He savored the vision for a moment, smiling to himself. She was just a few yards away. Right now she might be contemplating the evening ahead: maybe she had a boyfriend and was thinking of letting him go all the way tonight; or she could be a freshman, lonely and a little shy, with nothing to do on Sunday night but watch Columbo; or perhaps she had a paper to deliver tomorrow and was planning to stay up all night finishing it. None of the above, baby. It’s nightmare time.
He had done this kind of thing before, though never on such a scale. He had always loved to frighten girls, ever since he could remember. In high school there was nothing he liked better than to get a girl on her own, in a corner somewhere, and threaten her until she cried and begged for mercy. That was why he kept having to move from one school to another. He dated girls sometimes, just to be like the other guys and have someone to walk into the bar on his arm. If they seemed to expect it he would bone them, but it always seemed kind of pointless.


On Monday, December 15th, on AOL welcomed Ken Follett to discuss THE THIRD TWIN.

JainBN: Mr. Follett, thanks so much for joining us this evening!

Ken Follett: It's a pleasure...

JainBN: We have many audience questions, so if you're all set.....

Ken Follett: I'm all set...

Question: I loved THE THIRD TWIN! What was your involvement with the recent made-for -TV movie adaptation?

Ken Follett: Well, authors don't generally often have much involvement with the miniseries, but the producers sent me the script, which I thought was good, and I went to watch some of the filming last August in Toronto, and sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that the part of Larry Hagman's butler was played by a podgy middle-aged Brit...which was me. I was very pleased with the miniseries; I thought it was very good.

Question: THE THIRD TWIN was a timely release in light of Dolly, the cloned sheep. What were your thoughts when you first learned about Dolly?

Ken Follett: I thought it was a very lucky coincidence for me. It's the first time that I've gained publicity from a sheep!! I guess a subject like this is going to be in the news every few months.... Cloning is one of the interesting and troubling issues of our time, and that's why I wrote a book about it.

Question: Hi, Ken. Love your work. My question is: What would you say was your favorite book, and why? One that is not one of your own, of course!!

Ken Follett: My favorite book is FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE by Ian Fleming. I was 12 years old when I read my first James Bond story, and it blew me away. Ian Fleming has obviously been a big influence on my writing, and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is my favorite James Bond story.

Question: Do you feel the integrity of the human race is truly endangered because of the recent advances in cloning?

Ken Follett: No.... The human race changes all the time. Development is natural; it's part of evolution.... Genetic engineering is a way of interfering with evolution, but we've been interfering with nature for thousands of years; that's what civilization is. I'm not frightened of these developments; I think they're exciting.

Question: How do you decide the subjects of your books?

Ken Follett: I'm always on the lookout for some dramatic situation, interesting historical period, or exciting location, or a story of adventure and romance. I read magazines and newspapers, history books, science books, all the time scanning for what I need. When I get an idea I work on it for a few weeks, trying to develop it into a story. If it doesn't work, I throw the idea away and start again.

Question: What kind of research and preparation did you do for THE THIRD TWIN?

Ken Follett: I went to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where the psychology department has the largest "twins" study in the world. I talked to the professors there about their work. I also spent a lot of time in Baltimore, where the story is set, and I interviewed many detectives with the Baltimore police department, especially the sex-crimes squad. I visited the city courts and jail. I spent a day with a young psychology professor at Johns Hopkins University whose position and income were similar to those of Jeannie, the hero of THE THIRD TWIN. I also visited the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory in London and watched the carrying out of the DNA tests.

Question: Hi, Mr. Follett. What is your daily ritual when you set about writing a you write for a specific amount of time -- at a favorite place?

Ken Follett: I usually start work right after breakfast, which is about 9 o'clock, and I work until 4 with a short break for lunch. During that time, I don't take any phone calls. I work in the library of my house in London sitting at a desk which looks out on the river Thames. After 4 o'clock I do everything else: phone calls, fan mail, meetings, and fun!

Question: Which thriller authors are of interest to you? Do you read your colleagues' work?

Ken Follett: Yes. I like Elmore Leonard very much.... Right now, I'm reading Carl Hiaasen's new book, LUCKY YOU. One of my favorite authors is Richard North Patterson, as well as contemporary bestsellers. I also read a lot of Victorian novels, and I'm particularly fond of Anthony Trollope.

Question: Do you think that there is more emphasis in publishing on becoming a "brand" than writing good books these days? How does an author psychologically cope with this notion?

Ken Follett: I'm very pleased to be a "brand." When people enjoy a book, they would like to have the same pleasure again, so they look for another work by the same author. This is how we get rich. In fact, my books vary in topic more than most authors', so I'm not as much of a brand name as I might be (if, for example, I used the same main character in a [series of stories] ). However, I like it this way, because the constant change of topic makes life more interesting for me. However, the way to become a "brand" is to write books that people like...and I don't see anything wrong with that.

Question: Has Hollywood optioned any of your other books? Is this something that interests you in the future?

Ken Follett: EYE OF THE NEEDLE was made into a very good cinema movie 15 years ago.... It starred Donald Sutherland as the German spy, and Kate Nelligan as the hero who kills him (after sleeping with him). This movie is often on TV nowadays. THE KEY TO REBECCA was made into a good miniseries with Cliff Robertson as Van Damme and David Soul as Wolff. ON WINGS OF EAGLES, which is a true story, was also a television miniseries, but not a very good one. And LIE DOWN WITH LIONS was unbelievably awful.... So, I have had mixed results from Hollywood.

Question: Have you always been a writer? Did you have a separate career prior to your success as a writer?

Ken Follett: My first job was as a newspaper reporter. I did that for five years. While working on the London Evening News, I started to write fiction. I had a number of novels published, without major success. I went to work for a publisher for three years, and then my 11th book, EYE OF THE NEEDLE, became a bestseller, and I've been writing novels ever since.

Question: I'm curious, where were you educated? The U.S. or Great Britain?

Ken Follett: Great Britain. I went to ordinary state schools, and I got my degree at University College London, majoring in philosophy. Since then, Plato has not been very useful to me.

Question: What do you think is at the psychological heart of man's desire to clone human beings?

Ken Follett: I think it's the wish to improve on nature.... Human beings have a lot of weaknesses. Our teeth tend to fall out, our eyesight weakens, we become overweight, we lose our youthful good looks, but really we'd like to be young forever. Genetic engineering and cloning may never halt this process of aging, but maybe they will slow it down.

Question: I'm curious to know what you think about the septuplets in the Midwest. Is it a miracle, or is it just science going too far?

Ken Follett: I don't believe in miracles; I think the story is good news. Until now, people have thought that so many babies conceived together could not all survive, and that presented many hopeful parents with a very difficult decision. This news may mean that such decisions can be avoided in the future.

Question: What was your first pen name? Are any of the books written under this name still in print? Where can we find them?

Ken Follett: Symon Myles was my first pen name. My first novel, THE BIG NEEDLE, not to be confused with EYE OF THE NEEDLE, was originally written under the name of Symon Myles. It is still available in the United States, unfortunately, and is now published under my own name, but it will be of interest only to hard-core fans. It was my first effort, and I had a lot to learn. I later used the pseudonym Zachary Stone for two books, which have likewise now been republished under my own name. They are PAPER MONEY and THE MODIGLIANI SCANDAL. These are the last two books I wrote before EYE OF THE NEEDLE, and they are a lot better than THE BIG NEEDLE. I used several other pen names in the early days, but most of them are best forgotten.

Question: This is the first novel of its kind for you in over a decade. What can we expect next?

Ken Follett: I'm writing a story in which the bad guys figure out how to trigger an earthquake. The story is set in San Francisco, and I finished the first draft three weeks ago. Right now, I am in San Francisco doing some research. I hope to finish the rewrite by around the first of May next year, so that the book can be published next fall. I can't think of a title for it. Any suggestions would be welcome.

JainBN: Mr. Follett, thanks so much for joining us this evening. It's been a real pleasure. Please join us upon the publication of your next book!

Ken Follett: I'd love to.

Customer Reviews

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The Third Twin 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 117 reviews.
Flora2010 More than 1 year ago
The novel written by Ken Follett "Third Twin" is one of the most captivating novels this author have ever written. It appeals to wide range of audience from the ones who favor only fantazy and science fiction to the fans of realism and non-fiction. Follett correlates the most latest modern developments in human genetics with the old like humankind concept "Nurture vs Nature". Furthermore, he presents his point of view in the mystery solving format including full investigation of criminal mind. The main characters in the book bold,smart and sophisticated. Each poses unique personality and demonstrates inner struggle between good and evil. Follett tries to prove that self-discipline is the key to over come instincts imposed by genetic make up. The book happens to be a really good page-turner. It will keep reader hostage with suspense untill the last page. The book is good to read for entertainment and it also can provoke interesting discussions. It will capture diverse group of readers being thrilling enough for teenagers and sophisticated enough for older generation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Suspense is at an all time high as you read. Knowledge about what happens next only comes with the flipping of each page. Prepare to spend a few hours reading because this book is one you can't put down!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
The way the book unfolds and the sort of twists it takes, its totally riveting. Also, I learnt so much on genetic manipulation, on what really must be going on and how unaware we really are... its really an eye-opener!! Thumbs up Mr. Follett, thi one is a masterpiece!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Jeannie Ferrami, of the Jones Fall University¿s genetic research unit, stumbles across an amazing discovery in Ken Follet¿s novel, The Third Twin. Using software she developed herself, Dr. Ferrami has been searching through medical records in order to locate identical twins, the catch is, not any twins will do. They had to be raised apart, and never had met. Sounds impossible, right? Well she has done it. Steve Logan and Dennis Pinker were identical twins that had never met, nor knew that the other existed. The problem with this case is, both men had been born to different mothers, on different dates. As Jeannie attempts to unveil the mystery behind these odd events, some of the most powerful men in America are out to sabotage her. She is tossed into a bizarre maze of evidence that could destroy more then her reputation. Berrington Jones, Preston Barck, and Senator Proust have a dirty secret. Under the command of President Nixon, the men had lead a secret operation in the U.S Army Medical Research Command in response to the CIA¿s news that the soviets had begun an experiment that had the potential to shatter the world. This possibility scared Nixon into the launch of the program that would spell the demise of these three men if anyone ever found out what they did. And now, Dr. Ferrami is hot on their trail, they know it and are desperate to stop her. Dr. Ferrami uses a connection at the FBI to run her software through the FBI¿s database. The result of this search is eight men with identical fingerprints, which could only mean one thing - eight identical men. Yet after tracking them all own, Dr. Ferrami discovers some interesting new developments. Frightened by the turn of events, she plunges into the horrifying case. The only explanation she can think of is the mysterious connection to Genetico. How does this fit into her puzzle? Does it play any factor at all? How far are Berrington, Barck and Proust willing to go to keep Jeannie from discovering their secret? Read this intense novel to answer these questions it is assured that you will not believe its conclusion
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is a mixture of superpose , horror , and love The suspense novel ¿Third twin¿ by a new author Ken Follet will be the most exciting novel to those of you who like John Grisham novels. The main character is a 20 year old, Steve, who is lawyer and finds himself facing a serious charge that has something to do with one of his twins. In addition, Jeanie, a young scientist at Jones Falls University pursues to study whether criminality is inborn though twin studies only to uncover a genetic engineering plan similar to a nazi utopian program by a power company owned by a presidential runner. This is the most exiting suspense novel I have read in a while and will gladly anticipate the next novel by this author. This is a novel that has many twists and turns so I recommend you to read it very slowly just good of Somalia coffee.
Kstanford More than 1 year ago
I have read this book numerous times! I enjoy it every time.
Alene13 More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of Ken Follets but thought this was not his best. Also was sad to see all of the typos and misspelled words, detract from the book..
jphjinx More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. Most anything Ken Follett writes is well done. Will grab you and make you not want to put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who wrote this hard to believe it was Follet, a waste of time and money
granddame More than 1 year ago
I just read my first Ken Follett book, the Third Twin. I would like to read more but I could barely make it to the end of this one. I was so freaked out by his fascination with every character's penis/vagina. Also unnerving was the slamming of conservative politics. I wish novels were rated like they rate movies. I'm going back to John Grisham.
dicken--15--dog More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of Ken Follett and always enjoy his books. The Third Twin is a fast paced thriller that reminded me of Boys From Brazil. I had eyestrain because, even though I enlarged the print, I couldn't put my Nook down.
ThrillReading More than 1 year ago
I was turned onto Ken Follett with The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I then tried this book and found it exciting and thrilling ride much different from the other two books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't think you know what is going on until it is over. Loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was wonderful!!! It was recommend to me and I snarled at first but my goodness was this a spectacular book. I know I hate watching books turn to movies because they're not in detail but I think I would go to the movies to see this one.
Anonymous 7 days ago
Anonymous 20 days ago
A tired theme with unrealistic characters and outcome
Anonymous 21 days ago
Skip This One Filled with one-dimensional cookie cutter characters, this story manages to insult most all of them. The villains are "white supremacist" rich men, who are apparently smart enough to be highly successful, but Neanderthal enough to have ignorant hateful, and poorly-thought-out opinions of everyone in society except themselves. And being villains, they are bumbling enough to end up completely disgraced at the end. No friend of conservatives, the author describes this villains as supporters of Richard Nixon's supposedly secretive plan to create a Hitlerian "master race" to take over and destroy all inferior beings. There are plenty of cops in this plot too, who are also universally evil. They bash heads, are viciously rude to victims, arrest people wrongfully, beat them up in jail, laugh at injurie, and fail to believe people in distress. Clearly the author is no fan of law enforcement either, dishing up the disdain at every turn. In no scene in this book are police favorably portrayed. Men in general are also targets of his wrath. They break hearts, lie at every opportunity, and commit crimes rampantly. The main character is a strong woman, who has an unfortunate knack for trusting and falling in love with the brutes, although she's learned that none of them is trustworthy. Except for the male lead. He is good, through and through, with no apparent faults. Plus he's very handsome, which also helps. Curiously, Follett treats people of color in the book badly as well, despite labeling all of those characters as "good" or "victims" in this book. The majority of them are given the role of servants , or support the plot by showing up at the most convenient times to help the hero and heroine get out of a jam. Yet the dialogue they are given shows they are simple, with poor command of the English language, and personalities drawn from stereotypes that make the reader cringe. This author has written some excellent books (such as Pillars of the Earth and Word Without End) but this is not one of them.
Anonymous 5 months ago
edwardsgt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an intriguing story, putting forward the proposition of what might happen if human cloning were possible. In this case the result of a secret US military program, which comes to light after a rape, when DNA tests show someone to be guilty who claims he didn't commit the crime.
lindseyrivers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A scientific thriller that had me in suspense from the minute I opened it.
SteveRambach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Third Twin was a good read. The plot kept on moving and it was worth the time to read it.
Lizard301 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a delicious novel encompassing some of my favorite genres seamlessly. I found it nearly impossible to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't even finish this. Too predictable and not enjoyable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fast read packed with twists and turns
Anonymous More than 1 year ago