Eye Of The Needle Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2010
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About the Author
Ken Follett's career as a bestselling author has spanned more than three decades. He is the author of numerous immensely popular books, including Eye of the Needle, Triple, The Key to Rebecca, The Man From St. Petersburg, On Wings of Eagles, Lie Down With Lions, The Pillars of the Earth, A Dangerous Fortune, The Third Twin, The Hammer of Eden, and World Without End. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara Follett, a British M.P.
- Publisher : Harper; Reprint edition (January 1, 2010)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062020897
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062020895
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 1.05 x 7.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Nothing not to love! I will note, however, that there's a load of foreshadowing here, so if you find yourself wondering why, for example [SPOILER] so much detail is given to the AC-as-opposed-to-DC generator in the cottage (p.48), then you aren't the only one who knows this'll come back 'round! (Follett did get the AC/DC mixed up, BTW, as others have noted.) Don't miss!
But that's only half of the 160 million books Follett has sold since the publication of his first novel in 1974. And he has been topping the bestseller lists ever since the publication of his classic WWII spy novel, The Eye of the Needle, in 1978. The book sold 10 million copies, and it frequently appears on lists of the all-time best spy novels. So it's no surprise that Penguin has brought out a 40th-anniversary edition of the novel. It fully deserves all the attention it gets.
The Double-Cross Committee and a fictional army
The opening scenes in Eye of the Needle take place in August 1940, following the Nazi invasion of France and the Low Countries and shortly before the Battle of Britain began. The story wraps up in June 1944, days before the Normandy Invasion.
Two of the most fascinating inventions of World War II figure prominently in Eye of the Needle. One is the XX Committee, or Twenty Committee, otherwise sometimes know as the Double-Cross Committee, which was entirely real. The other was not real at all: the fictional First United States Army Group under General George S. Patton, or FUSAG. Together, these two elements constituted what may well have been the most elaborate deception ever deployed in war. Thousands of people participated in this massive effort. The deception played a major role in convincing Adolf Hitler that the Allies' invasion in the summer of 1944 would be directed at the Pas-de-Calais and not at Normandy. Some historians credit it as decisive in the Allied victory.
A story securely grounded in history
Follett has grounded the story securely on the historical record—with the possibility of one major exception. Latter-day accounts of espionage in World War II contend that MI5 rounded up every single spy sent to Britain by the Abwehr. Some were executed by hanging. Others were "turned" into double agents and conveyed misleading information to their masters. So, Follett's conceit in Eye of the Needle that a German spy managed to elude capture for six years may be sheer fiction. However, it makes for a fabulous story.
A German spy, a classics professor, and young newly-weds
The action pits a brilliant German spy, "Henry Faber," against an academic recruit to MI5, Percival Godliman. "Professor Godliman knew more about the Middle Ages than any man alive." He had served in British intelligence in the First World War, which helps explain why his uncle, Colonel Andrew Terry, would recruit him as a spycatcher with the invasion of Britain on the horizon. It falls to Godliman to head the team that labors for years to identify Faber. A young couple, David and Lucy Rose, round out the complement of major characters. "Faber . . . Godliman . . . two-thirds of a triangle that one day would be crucially completed by the principals, David and Lucy."
How Ken Follett now views his classic WWII spy novel
In the Preface to the 40th-Anniversary Edition, Follett writes, "I was twenty-seven when I wrote Eye of the Needle. Reading it now I'm surprised, and proud, that I could do something that good when I was so young . . . Nowadays it takes me three years to write a novel. I wrote most of Eye of the Needle in three weeks. I wish I could do it again." So, Follett doesn't get high marks for modesty, but his pride is understandable.
Top reviews from other countries
The plot was fascinating and believable (except perhaps for one extremely unlikely coincidence). Whilst the story line and characters were fictitious, the background to the fiction was excellent and accurate. The research was meticulous - I could totally trust all that I learned about espionage and tactics in World War II. To be entertained and educated in one book is an ideal combination.
The main character was exceptionally well-drawn. I want to avoid spoilers so won't say too much, but the author demonstrated how you can hate, admire, despise and respect a person. My feelings swung from one to the other as the story progressed to a satisfactory conclusion.
Obviously, this review is many years late and so probably won't be read - but, if you see this and are wondering what to read next, do give Follett a try. He has written many novels and will keep you going for years!
I also loved the setting and how much there is to learn about world war 2...
One of my all time favourites. a must read!
Secrets he'll find. Now he needs to escape and meet up with his rescuing U Boat off the coast of Scotland. Ruthless and determined nothing and no one can get in his way. It's up to a fledgling MI 5 with help from Scotland Yard to catch him. But they don't know what he looks like, where he's living or how he's reporting his information. All they know is a call sign. A needle in a haystack situation it maybe , will detective work and counter espionage be enough ? Great story ,tension built up nicely started to dislike the guy enormously found myself willing on the good guys. My hopes were dashed with theirs each time a plan failed and the agent slipped through their fingers! A great read and worthy best seller!