The Rebecca Code

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Researched using previously unstudied MI5 and MI6 files, this study reveals the part played by Count Laszlo Almasy, the protagonist of the film The English Patient

John Eppler thought himself to be the perfect spy. Born to German parents, he grew up in Egypt, adopted by a wealthy family and was educated in Europe. Fluent in German, English, and Arabic, he made the Hadj to Mecca but was more at home in high society or traveling the desert on camelback with his adopted Bedouin tribe. After joining the German Secret Service in 1937, in 1942 he was sent across the desert to Cairo by Field Marshal Rommel. His guide was the explorer and Hungarian aristocrat Laszlo Almasy, a man made famous by the book The English Patient. Eppler's mission was to infiltrate British Army Headquarters and discover the Eighth Army's troop movements and battle plans. This book reveals the story of Operation Condor and its comedy of errors and how it was foiled by Major A.W. "Sammy" Sansom of the British Field Security Service. It is a tale of the desert, of the hotbed of intrigue that was 1940s Cairo, and the spy who was to send his reports using a code based on Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca.


Mark Simmons has written more than 100 feature articles mainly on naval/military and travel subjects for publications in the UK and U.S. He is the author of The Battle of Matapan.