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Eye of the Needle (The Best Mysteries of All Time) Hardcover – October 1, 2002
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"Top-notch suspense . . . a terrific thriller . . . spellbinding." —The Miami Herald
"Great . . . one of the twelve best thrillers from the last fifty years." —Rocky Mountain News
"Extraordinarily satisfying . . . a truly suspenseful novel . . . heart-stopping, nerve-freezing terror." —Los Angeles Times
"A spy novel of the highest order." —The Baltimore Sun
"Really thrilling." —The New York Times Book Review
"An absolutely terrific thriller, so pulse-pounding, so ingenious in its plotting, and so frighteningly realistic that you simply cannot stop reading." —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Ken Follett is the author of numerous international bestsellers, including Jackdaws, Hornet Flight, Code to Zero, Triple, Eye of the Needle, Pillars of the Earth, and A Dangerous Fortune. He lives in England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After he commits several murders, the team at M15, led by a widowed professor of medieval history drafted into service by his uncle, and an investigator pulled in from Scotland Yard, becomes aware of Faber, but cannot find him. The man is smart, resourceful, cautious and cunning. But the investigators, whatever their level of expertise, are secondary characters. The real action, the suspense, the drama, takes place in a desolate, lonely spot on the Scottish coast.
In attempting to meet up with a U-Boat in the North Sea, Faber steals a fishing trawler, but a terrible storm finds him shipwrecked on a strip of Scottish land called appropriately, Storm Island. He appears at the door, sick and confused, of a couple, David and Lucy Rose. Their marriage is loveless. David lost his legs in a traffic accident immediately after their wedding, and is emotionally barren, and unwilling, although not unable, to make love to his wife. David feels diminished, his training as a flyer in the war effort ended as a result of his crippling injuries. Now, he is only a sheep farmer. They have a toddler son, Jo, the result of Lucy becoming pregnant a week before they were wed. Although she cannot love this rather strange, mysterious man who has entered her home, an affair commences immediately. David, physically strong in the upper body, easily becomes aware of it. At the same time, events occur which make it clear that Lucy Rose is the only person who stands between this dangerous and perceptive Nazi spy, and the Allies plan for invasion.
Eye Of the Needle is a true thriller, containing outstanding plot, excellent writing, and a pace which increases mightily as the final confrontation begins to unravel at breakneck speed. Undoubtedly, Ken Follett gave us here one of the great spy novels of all time, an absolute must for devotees of the genre, and anybody else who appreciates great fiction.
My first Follett experience was (like many people, I suspect), 'Pillars of the Earth.' There's a fantastic book for you if you're into history, particularly Medieval England. Lots of twists and turns, deep and dynamic characters, and plenty of action -- at least enough to keep me occupied. When I read its sequel, 'World Without End,' I came away still pleased with the work, but without the sentiment of "I must read that novel again, and right away!" It was good, but not great -- worth the read, but I could've lived without it. That being said, I was hesitant when I started 'Eye of the Needle' for two reasons. First, my experience with Follett being limited to his Dark Ages novels, I wasn't quite sure how he would stand up in a more modern era of historical fiction. And second, as 'Pillars' and 'World Without End' seemed to have been much more widely known (or at least publicized), I don't think I had ever heard anything (reviews good or bad) about his WWII stuff.
That lengthy soliloquy being stated, if you are: 1) A Follett fan 2) A WWII history fan 3) A general historical fiction fan or 4) Just a fan of good fiction... You MUST read this novel!
Characteristic of Ken Follett's work, the characters are believable and dynamic. That's my first major "Thumbs Up." Whether the scenario involves: the spy killing a seemingly innocent character, or the housewife bedding the antagonist, or the professor deciding to go 'all in' and work for British military intelligence... I personally felt that, given similar circumstances, being in that character's shoes, I probably would have taken similar actions. There are spots in the book which seem a little thin (i.e., Godliman once met Faber at Canterbury Cathedral before the war, etc etc), but they are small enough, and spread out enough, that they don't have a negative impact on the work. I confess (call me slow-witted if you will), that I had absolutely no clue how Storm Island would play out, how the lives of David and Lucy would eventually connect, to the main plot of the novel -- at least not until I found myself out at see with Faber.
Perhaps the best part of the book, for me, the most memorable part, is the battle between David and Faber on the island. The setting is (more or less) in the "Eye" of a storm -- rain is pouring, no chance for help to arrive in the foreseeable future, Faber has just slept with David's wife, David has just found out the truth about Faber, etc etc... The reason this scene struck me so hard was because David is supposed to be the protagonist; Faber is supposed to be the bad-guy. But during their battle, I found myself rooting for Faber, the German spy whose intelligence report could win the war for Nazi Germany! I don't know how, but Follett had me so twisted around that I wasn't sure which character I should stand behind! David is portrayed as such a bitter and resentful man, and Faber as such a smooth-talking and tough anti-hero, that the roles get seemingly reversed. Really threw me for a loop -- I physically had to set down my Kindle and take a moment to think about it. Again, call me dull if you will, but I credit Follett's writing for my confusion!
I'll end this review, which has probably been far too long since the first paragraph, by saying this. If you have never read a Ken Follett book, start with this one! It will get you hooked, and itching for the next one. I know I am.