Eye of the Needle
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Eye of the Needle

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  64,470 ratings  ·  1,263 reviews

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 concl

Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 23rd 2004 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1978)
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This was the novel that gave Follet star quality status in publishing circles. Not only was it a best seller but it also was adapted into a movie, starring Donald Sutherland.

Here are some reasons to read THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE:

(1) PRECISION: you like reading about cool, precise heroes or anti-heroes or villains who are painfully precise in their plans, the best at what they do and are totally "stone cold.";

(2) WWII BUFF: you love to read about the "big thrills" of WWII; this has it since the Ge...more
Today, most people know Ken Follett as the author of mammoth works of historical fiction. I mean, we’re talking novels that would make War and Peace turn and run like Napoleon’s troops from Moscow. (See what I did there?) It’s a known fact that you can construct a home able to withstand an F5 tornado solely from copies of Pillars of the Earth, World Without End and Fall of Giants. (Note: this house will not have doors, windows, a roof, or the ability to withstand an F5 tornado).

Before he starte...more
Jason Koivu
Eye of the Needle, a sharply-written WWII era thriller, is miles away in style and length from the mammoth, medieval epics Follett would later create. Though not a mindbendingly difficult read, the quality of the writing was already present at this early stage. Extra kudos must be given to any author who can switch gears and dabble in different genres. Working outside your comfortable corner can not be the easiest thing to do.
Carl Sandburg said (in another context) "it pays to have a good forgettery." In this case, a good forgettery allowed me to reread Ken Follett's EYE OF THE NEEDLE (British title, STORM ISLAND) with every bit as much enjoyment as when I first read it 30 years ago. Also, having recently reread THE DAY OF THE JACKAL, it was fun to compare these two similar, but different, thrillers.

Both books feature multiple points of view -- quite a few of them in Follett's case -- and on both sides of the good gu...more
Sonia Gomes
Mar 14, 2009 Sonia Gomes rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every fan of World War II
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Il primo Ken Follett e, secondo me, il migliore. Rapido, incisivo, appassionante. Appassionato, anche. Ma, soprattutto, genuino nell'invenzione. Prima che la notorietà gli consentisse stuoli di ricercatori, complessità meno fresche e una vaga supponenza.
I would have read this book in a day, but I had to work when I started it. However, I did manage to finish it coming home after drinking wine & finishing with Heradura- rather than pass out I managed to complete it. Well Done, Mr Follet, Well Done!!

I loved this book so much, was reading on my nook and I was hooked after page 13. I gave it 5 stars, but I really would have given it 4.5 if I could, only because I would have preferred an alternate ending. Ken Follett is a genius. The whole time...more
Verovsky Brandão
This is my first Ken Follett book (much to the disappointment of my wife) but I wanted to tackle something small before attempting on of his epics. Eye of the Needle tells the story of a German master spy ‘The Needle’ and his attempt to uncover the plans of the English army during World War 2 (a few weeks before D-Day). This book was a little light on the espionage and too much focused on the generic thriller formula. I also felt the feeling of World War 2 was missed; this book could have been a...more
Heinrich Faber is Jason Bourne before there was a Jason Bourne. He is a great ani-hero. The book is gritty and you have to keep in mind that you are in the world of the mid 1930s and 40s… to it can be painfully slow… It is not written in a “cool” American style with double back flips and “mind blowing” technology. It is more British, meaning there is a methodical story of detail. within the characters there are a lot of inner emotions. and the story tends to allow for a lot of complaining. But t...more
Very satisfying book. Reminded me of drinking a glass of chocolate milk -- like I just enjoyed it so much I couldn't take a break until it was gone, and when I finished I was like, "ah, that was good." But I suspected somewhere deep down that it's junk-foodyness outweighed its nutritional value.
Until I started sharing books with my retired father, suspense thrillers about spies weren't my thing at all. After reading Eye of the Needle I'm still not sure if the genre is for me. The book's basic idea is that a German spy must be stopped by MI-5 before he tells Hitler that the massive camp of Allied troops ready to invade Calais is a bluff. As plots go, it's pretty brilliant because it focuses on the limited task of finding and silencing the spy, yet manages to make the consequences hugely...more
Chris Gager
Pulled this one out of the pile for my next read. Time for some spy-war-adventure stuff. I saw the excellent movie years ago - on TV I think. So far as I can recall I haven't read this author before.

Got into it last night and the report is good. Very smooth and enjoyable so far. Gotta love those English spy writers!

We're getting to the nitty gritty as the MI5 bloodhounds are pursuing Nadel and he's washed up on Storm island with the fetching Lucy and the snarling David. As far as I know it'll en...more
Joe Stamber
When the radio packed up in my car and I got fed up of listening to music, I came up with the idea of trying an audio book. In all my years of reading, audio is one format I've never tried, so it was a new experience for me. And was I pleased I gave it a chance! My half hour journey to work (same one for 19 years!) was a real drag, but now I almost look forward to taking a steady drive to work while listening to the latest installment. Admittedly, I may have slightly overrated EotN because of my...more
Lewis Weinstein
Among the best thrillers ever. My comments about Follett's approach to the actual history in his historical novel "Eye of the Needle" can be found in my author blog ... http://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/201...

Follett starts with a one page historical preface about the D-Day deception. He ends the preface … “That much is history. What follows is fiction. Still and all, one suspects something like this must have happened.”

The high stakes of blowing the deception plan are emphasized several times …...more
Tara Moss
'She said: ‘Can I have a word with you?’
He seemed to hesitate, then said: ‘I’m undressed.’
‘So am I,’ she giggled, and she opened the door with her duplicate key. He was standing in front of the radio with some kind of screwdriver in his hand. He wore his trousers and no singlet. His face was white and he looked scared to death.
She stepped inside and closed the door behind her, not knowing what to say. Suddenly she remembered a line from an American film, and she said: ‘Would you buy a lonely...more
Cynthia Haggard
Ken Follett’s THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE is such a compelling well-written story, that it seems a shame to mention the one weak spot in it, which involves an unbelievable plot twist.

But first, I should like to tell you something about it. The title refers to a German spy who was working behind British lines during the second world war. His nickname is Die Nadel, or the needle, because he is about the only spy that the Germans have working for them who is not a complete amateur.

This seems hard to beli...more
André Nuno
Esta foi a minha primeira experiência (sem sentido bíblico) com Ken Follett.

Gostei da sua escrita. É rica, pormenorizada, descritiva e escorreita.
É muito agradável seguir este enredo, com episódios de uma certa violência mas sempre apropriados e bem enquadrados, embora por vezes se tornasse um pouco previsível.

Dado que se trata de um romance com um contexto histórico talvez o próprio enquadramento limitasse as opções do autor quanto ao que poderia utilizar como argumentos enriquecedores do enred...more
This book taught me that I was not immune to the charms of the "anti hero." Follett can make you forget everything he's just told you about a character that would make you detest him on so many levels; make you hope that he overcomes any obstacle to stand in the sun, and then yank you back with a jolt to find that your original estimation of the person's character proves him as vile as you had once believed and that you've been courted and won by a monster, right under your own nose. Obviously,...more
Num dos primeiros livros escritos por Ken Follett já dá para perceber a predilecção que o autor tem pelo tema das guerras, sobretudo o da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Como entusiasta desta temática, é óbvio que fiquei em pulgas para ler.

O Estilete Assassino desenrola-se na base da espionagem da Segunda Grande Guerra. Um espião alemão é enviado para Londres a fim de tentar descobrir o desembarque militar dos Aliados. Calculista e bastante perspicaz, mata a sangue frio quem se atravessa pelo seu caminh...more
Kole Ravenscroft

“Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follett was a great book. I usually don't like mystery books but this was an exception. You follow three people, a lonely housewife, a spy, and a detective. This spy is trying to secure vital intel on the 1st US army group lead by Patton. As you can tell the detectives are trying to stop him. But, where does the housewife play in?

This all happened in Great Britain in the 1940’s, before D-day happened. The spy travels all across Great Britain trying to gain info on th...more
This classic starts off with a bang. Henry Faber has two identities. The one in London is a quiet man who keeps to himself on the top floor of a house being sublet by a widow. She takes a fancy to him one evening and with her duplicate key happens to walk in on him just as he's getting the transmitter out to send messages back to the Abwehr. He has to kill her.

Faber (Called Die Nadel for his use of the stiletto) is an elite German spy, inserted into England before the war and now embarked on th...more
Joseph Finder
Hits on all cylinders: plot, pacing, love story, narrative momentum, and characters — especially a great, interesting villain. This is a book I've used to teach the art of the thriller.
Oct 16, 2009 Zach added it
Ken Follett
Eye of the Needle
United States Arbor House Publishing Company 1978
311 pp. price unknown
ISBN unknown

The novel is Eye of the Needle By Ken Follett. He takes his time describing and setting up each character and ties it all together in the end. While the beginning may be a bit confusing all of the characters are tied together and that is when the adventure begins. Ken Follett does a great job of developing the characters and portraying their thoughts and lives.
Ken Follett does a great j...more
Wendy Welch
This is really sad. What I learned from this book was, when you clean a bookshelf in your bookstore and wind up handling 400 or so pulp thriller war novels, you automatically become interested in that genre for awhile. My husband and I spent the two snowstorm days of extra Christmas vacation cleaning our Westerns,War and Guys with Big Guns section and reshelving them so they can be seen - and thus purchased! Marketing is so simple. And then we packed a box of books and some wine and went down to...more
Arun Divakar
Professionalism and emotions are like similar poles of a magnet. No matter how much you try to bring them closer together, they will want to move away from each other. In real life such a coming together is not without its share of disasters. A small thread of what is contained in this story is what I wanted to capture in the lines above. I found this to be a mixed bag, while not entirely an espionage thriller this is an immensely readable book.

The backdrop is quite an interesting one with Germa...more
What an adventure this book was!

I was initially hesitant at reading this relatively small book, as it seemed like just another blockbuster novel. The lack of anything to read whilst on holiday made the decision for me, so I ploughed in without even glancing at the blurb.

Eye of the Needle revolves around a German Spy named Die Nadel (by the Germans), Faber (by the English) and Henrik (by himself). His ruthless nature makes him a key member of the German war effort, a fact that MI5 hasn't quite w...more
This was a good book that I found difficult to read. Mind you the book itself is not a difficult read at all, Follett plots well and writes good dialogue. It is about as good as anyone who enjoys fast-paced yet well-crafted spy books can anticipate. My difficulty in reading it came due to two reasons:

1. It is remarkably similar to Daniel Silva's "The Unlikely Spy" (although "Needle" came out 20 years earlier), a book I loved. The plots are close but Silva's characters are more developed and nuan...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle


One enemy spy knows the secret of 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 English woman on an isolated island, who is beginning to the killer who has mysteriously entered her life.

My Review and Thoughts:

Ken Follett is a master at words and capturing those words in a brilliant story of suspense, deception, and...more
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Ken Follett burst onto the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film.

He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of ho...more
More about Ken Follett...
The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1) World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2) Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2) A Dangerous Fortune

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“The trouble with being inspired to perform the impossible was that the inspiration gave you no clues to the practical means.” 1 likes
“Our whole strategy must be to prevent the Allies from securing a beachhead, because once they achieve that, the battle is lost…perhaps even the war.” 0 likes
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