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Eye of the Needle
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Product Description

One enemy spy knows the secret to the Allies' greatest deception, a brilliant aristocrat and ruthless assassin--code name: "The Needle"--who holds the key to ultimate Nazi victory. Only one person stands in his way: a lonely Englishwoman on an isolated island, who is beginning to love the killer who has mysteriously entered her life.

All will come to a terrifying conclusion in Ken Follett's unsurpassed and unforgettable masterwork of suspense, intrigue, and the dangerous machinations of the human heart.

Customer Reviews:

  • I bought it, unsure, I read it, happily
    Just as the title suggest, I had seen his name in the book stores, and looked at it for a moment, then walked away, a week later, I went back to the book store, had some extra money, looked at the book, and said, "What's the harm." I read the first page put it down, and didn't pick it back up for a month, until I found it on the floor. Then I read the first chapter, and by the time I realized it, I was halfway through the book. Great book....more info
  • This is not my favorite Follett book
    I recently read Night Over Water and Pillars in the Earth and was taken by the lush ease into which Follett pulls his readers into his stories. So when I picked up Eye of the Needle, I was both kind of hoping it would be as good as the two previously mentioned books while at the same time feeling that no way could it live up to the high standards I was now placing Follett fare.

    Sadly, Eye of the Needle is a bit of a mess in my opinion. From the get go it jumps around from one scene to the next with little in the way of transition. So though time is going by quickly at times, it is a little startling to find out several pages into a chapter that months have transpired when you think what you are reading is taking place only hours later. This is a very short book in comparison to Night over Water and a short story in comparison to Pillars in the Earth. And I think that it suffers a little because in all honesty, this might be the most complicated of the three stories. I wish that Follett had been a little more comfortable and taken his time fleshing out events, plots,and places.

    This book is not a total disaster. You will come up against a myriad of familiar Follettisms. The characters area formed much like they are in other books so it will feel almost like you know them. Lusty scenes pop up every fifty pages like clockwork, and the writing is vintage Follett. If you love his books, this is not one to shy away from. But if this might be your first Follett experience, I would say "look for Pillars in the Earth instead. I guarantee you a better, more satisfying page turner." ...more info
  • Classic Follett WWII novel!
    Eye of the Needle is the first book Follett wrote that became succussful and established him as a great writer, especially of historical, WWII novels. Now, after several years and several novels, Eye of the Needle holds up well. It tells the story of the Allies' deception at D-Day. The Allies convinced Germany the attack would be at Calais, not at Normandy. How did they do this? Follett writes about it in this novel. Germany's success in spying on the Allies has been mostly a failure, but one spy has mananged to avoid authorities and also found out an incredible truth: The plan to attack at Calais is one big fabrication. How will he get the info to Germany. The Germans won't trust a radio transmission because too many agents have been turned by the British. This spy, the Needle, has to get photographs to Germany.

    The Needle is the main character, and we follow him as he travels across the country always one step ahead of the authorities. The story also follows the British men in MI5 trying to track the Needle. These men are civillians pressed into duty for their country and do an admirable job. Another part of the story is that of David and Lucy Rose. On their wedding night and the day before David is supposed to report for duty, he is involved in a car wreck that takes both of his legs. He and Lucy move to Storm Island and become recluses from society. David also withdrawals from Lucy which leaves her desparate for human interaction. Lucy is a strong character, but she doesn't become a part of the story until the later.

    This Follett novel is very good and in it you see what made him so successful. Still, it is not one of his bests, but definitely a must read.
    ...more info
  • A first rate World War II thriller! -Regards to Willi
    It is the height of World War II and the balance of the war could be at stake. The Germans have pinned their hopes on their master spy, "the Needle".

    This book proceeds at a brisk pace because the spy must avoid detection by ordinary Britons and escape the relentless efforts of British intelligence to track him down and stop him before he transmits critical information to Germany. These scenarios create the dramatic tension necessary to keep the story moving.

    Besides the element of the chase, there is also a love component to this story. While on the run, "the Needle" falls in love with a desparately loney English woman on an isolated island off the English coast. Soon she discovers that the mysterious stranger she has fallen for is a ruthless German spy with a secret agenda. What happens from there is an exciting climax that the reader is certain to remember for years to come.

    I also recommend the movie starring Donald Sutherland which goes by the same title as the book....more info

  • good, typical follett
    a good read, typical follet. some of the other books are better though (i highly suggest them.)...more info
  • Suspense, Some Sex, and then Some More
    "Eye of the Needle" is the novel that got me hooked on the suspense genre. This World War II thriller set in London and then a remote island off the coast of Great Britain is rich with spy lore, intrigue, fact-based characters, and features some of the most sizzling scenes ever depicted in a spy novel, as well as one of the most memorable grand finales ever to grace the pages of a thriller.

    This was Follett at his very best, and is well worth reading or rereading....more info
  • Saving the secret that made D-Day possible
    What would have happened if Germany had discovered the massive deception that made the D-Day invasion of Normandy possible? The Allies brilliant deception that led the Germans to believe the invasion would occur at Calais kept vital reinforcements from reaching Normandy in time to stem the invasion, but this misinformation campaign was so massive that it is hard to believe that no hint of it reached the Germans. But what if a deeply planted German spy had uncovered the truth? Follett extrapolates convincingly from the history of World War II to provide a thrilling tale of espionage. British counter-intelligence discovers evidence that a German spy is operating in London, and when they realize he knows the truth, a race is on to catch him before he can pass on his knowledge to Germany. The suspense builds steadily as the spy eludes trap after trap, leading to a climatic cliffhanger (literally) on a storm swept island off the coast of Scotland. This tale is not only exciting but also fully plausible, with vivid details about life in the United Kingdom during the War and a cast a well drawn characters. A thoroughly satisfying story....more info
  • Edge of your Chair
    This is one of the best "spy vs. spy" books/movies I've ever seen -- It helps to see the great movie with Donald Sutherland before reading the book -- You can visualize what's going on in the book -- It takes place during the bombing of London, and you get a feel of what it's like for so many people to have lost spouses, children and family -- But the persistance of Scotland Yard and the British Government Military Intelligence provide an excellent "Edge of your Chair" ending to this book -- It's definitely a book you can't put down -- ...more info
  • 10/10 a few decades ago
    I first read this book when I was 15, many, many years ago. It was great then but it hasn't aged with grace. Though Follett is a pretty good writer, the best of later writers have surpassed him in suspense, action and drama.

    I would still recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it. It's a solid book, but not as good as today's best thrillers. It's kinda old fashioned. It's not old enough to be a classic, yet it's too old to be still chic, it's like disco was in 1985. ...more info
  • Unforgetable Spy Novel
    The Needle
    Ken Follet

    Henry Faber alias, The Needle, is a German spy who works for Germany during World War II. He is tall, handsome, intelligent, well built, German aristocrat who works fast, in a shrewd manner, cleanly, and without leaving a trace. He is very close to Hitler. When a person becomes a danger to his identity or whereabouts, he uses an "stilletto" to utterly kill without almost any evidence.

    The Needle or Die Nadle, discovers a British military secret that if given to the Germans on time would, no question about it, make the Germans win the war. Then the British find out about it, then starts the run, hide and go of The needle. All the Allied and British military intelligence are looking for him with no results But nobody but a woman, Lucy Rose, who lives in a stormy and far away island , can get to him...

    The novel is excellently written and keeps the reader interested until the end. It also depicts all the knowledge about military intelligence, spies and world War II that the author masters.

    I strongly recommend this book as a novel to entertain, and "A Place Called Freedom", also written by Ken Follet...more info

  • Eye
    It was a true paper turner. A wonderful love story. Almost fell for the enemy. Great read.....The Ending was the best and very unexpected

    Irene of Berkeley...more info

  • An oldie, but a goodie
    This is my first dive into Ken Follett, and it was an excellent ready. The book is a great spy novel, and there is very little of what I call "down time". Suspenseful at every page turn, it kept me reading deep into the night....more info
  • You can't put this book down once you open it.
    Your fingers will be so dug into the cover, you won't be able to shake it loose. The writing is superb. The story is superb. The characters are superb. Read this. If you like suspense or thrillers, there really isn't anything else to say. This is a classic. It doesn't get any better than this. Oh, by the way, it's about a cat-and-mouse game to catch a cold-blooded-Nazi-secret-agent-killer in Britain during World War II before he can pass along intel to his homeland that could turn the war tide for the worse....more info
  • Classic Follet
    Another excellent work by Follet. Plots, characters, and plots hold the readers interest until the last page.
    ...more info
  • D-Day
    Take a trip back in time to D-Day in this historical novel. This spin on that fateful day tells about the Allies' deception of Germany and the attack at Normandy....more info
  • His best spy book
    Ken Follett has done a wonderful job of centralizing the plot of a novel around the life and work of the bad-guy. Rather than write a typical "good-guy" spy-thriller, he has introduced a whole new view of the spy-thriller. The novel is remarkable and one of my top three favorites produced by Follett. His ability to write a novel about the enemy's number 1 spy was entertaining and, in my opinion, the hallmark of his writing career.

    Nadel is a ruthless spy. No family no loved ones. Just the way he likes it. It allows him to concentrate on the matter at hand. Killing opposition spies.

    This was absolutely amazing and a quick fun read. If you have read some of Follett's other books such as "Pillars of the Earth", "Key to Rebecca", "A Dangerous Fortune", then you know what his style of writing is. Although different in content, his style is almost invented within these book covers. If you've read other works of Follett's, then you'll enjoy this book as being on par, but on a different course than those aforementioned.

    Eye of the Needle is a unique spy-thriller well deserving of 5 stars. I would suggest those books above, along with this one if you're looking for a good weekend/vacation reading. Please see my reviews of the other novels as they may help you to choose which you want to read first.

    Great Reading!!!...more info

  • A Wildly Entertaining Thrill Ride
    Ken Follett established himself in the thriller genre with this novel, first published in 1978. It was an instant bestseller and later made into a movie with Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan.

    The premise: Henry Faber (codename: "Die Nadel") an individualistic and ruthless German agent (one of the last German spies not scooped up by MI5) is assigned to investigate whether or not Lt. General Patton's First United States Army Group is massing in East Anglia for the expected invasion of Calais, the area the German High Command expects the Allies to assault. Faber discovers that Patton's Army is a phony. The Allies are deceiving German intelligence with fake messages, troop concentrations and dummy barracks (which look real to German reconnaisance aircraft).

    However careful as Faber is, the British counterintelligence agents Percival Godliman and Fred Bloggs, a history professor and policeman respectively, are a brilliant team that discover "Die Nadel" and are hot on his trail.

    Eluding the police and the Home Guard and killing any and all who suspect his identity, Faber heads north to make a rendezvouz with a U-boat. His escape is thwarted by bad weather and he is washed ashore on Storm Island, a nearly deserted piece of rock in the North Sea, where Lucy Rose, a beautiful, but frustrated wife of a legless RAF pilot lives. In time, she discovers Faber's true identity....

    I don't usually like thrillers, but this one kept me up. I read it over 20 years ago and have read it a few times since. Follett is a good story teller and his research for the story is wonderful. His portrayals of the German leaders, Hitler, Rundstedt and Rommel are superb.

    I liked the film version too, though I believe it would be ideal for a remake (my choices for Faber would be Ralph Fiennes and for Lucy Kate Winslett or Helena Bonham Carter).

    Time hasn't dimmed this book. It still holds up and is a classic of World War II espionage. Enjoy....more info

  • Espionage, WW2, England
    This book is not only great as far as espionage is concerned but it also takes you back to the days of England in 1940s and its beautiful landscape, country roads, and towns... Interestingly romance has found a part of its own in this novel and adds greatly to the flavor. It is certainly one of the best espionage thrillers ever....more info
  • Incredible historical fiction
    This was the novel that made me a Ken Follett fan. An incredible tale weaving the lives of the characters together and tying them all to the possible outcome of WWII.

    Follett creates a story that is completely plausible and believable. He lets us into the lives and minds of incredible characters. They are brought to life through Follett's stylish writing and thoughtful analysis of the human pysche. He is truly a master at painting the circumstances that shape the characters lives.

    He builds a suspense tale and concludes with a dramatic finish. This book set the tone for future works by Follett - and he set the mark high....more info
  • Eye of the Needle
    Die Nadel/Henry Faber, a Nazi spy placed in London, England, was the best German agent. He was supposed to go to a large base in southern England. The base was just a fake, an attempt to try to fool the Germans into an attack at Calis, France. The invasion really took place in Normandy.

    I really enjoy reading about World War II, especially anything involving the Allies. This book put me into Faber's shoes and I wanted him to succeed. I recommend this book very highly. It was really hard to put down. ...more info
  • Good story--bad dramatization
    I just finished the unabridged CD audiobook. I thought the story was very good (4-5 stars). The dramatization was very poor (1 star). Thus I gave it an average of 3 stars.

    The accents are very poorly done.

    Also, each CD is divided into too many tracks (~80-90). My CD player doesn't handle the track transitions well so I end up missing several words at the end of each track change....more info
  • Follett Set the Standard for the WW2 Thriller Genre with "Die Nadel"
    Ken Follet wrote this book and came out of the gates as the leader contender in the World War II Thriller category. Eventually, it was made into a pretty good movie with Donald Sutherland. Why did I think it was such a good book?

    (1) He established that Hitler is weighing the need for information on the Allies intentions on the Western front. If Hitler can predict - and foil - the Allies invasion so the theory goes, then he can throw his Western divisions against the Communist onslaught in the East.

    (2) Intimate Plotting - the plot revolves around the German spy (codename: "Needle" or Die Nadel), a woman and the investigator. By bringing into a real, intimate forum, the character jump off the page . He uses a neat triangulation of destiny to finally fulfill the suspense and premise of the book.

    (3) The "What If" - Suspense at its best, particularly when the stakes are the greatest invasion in HIstory.

    (4) Excellent complication - Die Nadel is a particularly adept spy. He doesn't even trust his fellow German spies for fear that they have been compromised (which was true in England's case of subverting all the German spies during this period).

    The book is an essential read for the thriller and World War II genre.
    ...more info
  • Tubby Likes This Book
    The Second World War is roaring and the allies have a problem a spie is lose and he knows there greatest secret. Ken Follett shines in this book of wits and deception. I do not read many mystery books but i am glad I read this one. The book kept me on the edge of my seat and the two stories in the book felt like they were two trains on a collision course. I would recomend this book to people who like thier books to take them for a ride....more info
  • Thrilling from the first to the last page
    This spy story is really thrilling. "The Needle" is a German spy in Great Britain during World War 2. Many times he's nearly caught by the British, but because of his cleverness he always finds a way to escape. Sometimes you forget he's a killer, a Nazi.
    Follet knows how to produce tension. A spy is never safe and everybody can be an emeny.
    Follett barely shows the human sides of this spy. But "the Needle" not infailable, the end shows it very clearly....more info
  • Sex, Spies, Action, Espionage. What more can you ask for?
    Eye of the Needle, October 31, 2002
    Reviewer: Bob from Yokota AFB
    Well, first of all I'm going to point out that this was a great book. Eye of the Needle had all the components, which makes any good book. The book had tons of action, and suspense. Follett's book always kept me guessing unexpected events occurred throughout the book. Anyone who says that they guessed what happened throughout the book is telling a lie. I highly recommend that everyone who likes good novels to read this book....more info
  • Great Listening for a long drive!
    Not all my favorite authors are as good to listen to as they are on the page - but EYE OF THE NEEDLE, unabridged, is the perfect companion to a long trip (try Idaho to San Francisco). I tend to read too fast, and listening let me savor the impeccable period detail, the complex characterization, and the Swiss-watch plotting. As fans know, this story is Lady Chatterly's Lover meets John Le Carr¨¦. Even if you've read the book a couple of times, do yourself a favor and listen to the audio version....more info
  • Great book, fun even if you are not a suspense/WWII buff
    My first Follett book, recommended by my...mother-in-law. Well, its great. Alot of clever suspense and great characters. Recommended for a vacation read....more info