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Eye of the Needle

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  89,472 Ratings  ·  1,725 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 May 1st 1978)
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Community Reviews

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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
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
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
Jason Koivu
Mar 19, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Um thriller que me deixou na pontinha da cadeira, não porque não soubesse o que ia acontecer pois o assassino e todas a parte histórica envolvida já é mais do que sabida, mas porque queria ver como é que o Ken Follett ia atar as pontas soltas.

Inglaterra - II Guerra Mundial. Tudo se encontra num impasse terrivel e tudo depende de um espião altamente eficiente e implacável com o nome de código A Agulha. Só que ele é um espião dos Alemães. E está prestes a revelar um segredo que poderá reverter a g
Aug 28, 2015 Miguel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disciplinador no que à História se refere, O Estilete Assassino , estreia literária de Ken Follett, é um romance deslavado que, embora ceda a truísmos românticos, como a sobreavaliação do amor, tem um ritmo fogoso e imparável.
Mar 08, 2013 S©aP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sonia Gomes
Mar 14, 2009 Sonia Gomes rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every fan of World War II
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Apr 02, 2011 JoJo rated it it was amazing
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
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 ...

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 …
Aug 06, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it
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
Jul 28, 2015 Abubakar rated it liked it
A fast paced World War 2 thriller, set against the backdrop of D-Day plans secretly laid by the British. The story is very engrossing, making it a real turner and a thrilling experience, but I felt that there were a bit too many clichés. It started off pretty well, but by the end it felt like a Hollywood style spy-flick.

The writing is quite good at times, while on some occasions the lines were overtly simplistic, the romantic intrigue was mostly about sex and nothing more.

Throughout the readin
Sara Berbigão
Nov 07, 2015 Sara Berbigão rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"(...)Achei a escrita de Ken Follett fantástica! Simples, mas bastante atrativa. E achei brilhante o facto de me fazer "torcer" pelo espião, ou seja, pela pessoa que eu na realidade nunca quereria que tivesse sucesso. Mas a verdade é que quando estava a ler o livro (quase) queria que ele tivesse sucesso - na medida em que fosse ficção.
Adorei completamente o livro, recomendo vivamente a toda a gente."
(Opinião completa:http://encantodashistorias.blogspot.p...)
Jun 02, 2008 Anne rated it really liked it
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.
Tom Tabasco
May 24, 2015 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In an interview, Ken Follett said this was his first really successful novel (after having written about 10 previous ones that are now forgotten), and he thought the reason of its success was that for the first time he had put a lot of effort in building a great structure. This is pretty evident while reading this book: the best structure is the one you don't notice, because you are so drawn into the story.
Eye of the needle is a brilliant spy thriller with a clever plot, an accurate historic ba
Feb 02, 2016 Casey rated it really liked it
I found out about the US Army's Deception Unit, not from high school history (during which I mostly learned that America is awesome) but from an episode of the podcast 99 Percent Invisible, which (broadly) focuses on design. The idea was that German intelligence could be tricked into thinking that the Allies were mounting a huge army to storm Pas-de-Calais, so that they would be surprised by Normandy. They used inflatable tanks and the kind of buildings you'd see on a movie set. They hired artis ...more
I read this book for the first time about a million years ago and I remember liking it much more then than I did with this most recent reading. Before Ken Follett began writing his medieval novels, he wrote spy thrillers. Apparently (according to the Q & A with the author included in my paperback edition) Eye of the Needle was his first successful spy novel. It's not a bad novel novel because it kept my attention and the characters are mildly interesting, but it wasn't all that suspenseful.

Wendy Welch
Dec 31, 2009 Wendy Welch rated it liked it
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
Feb 19, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
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
Joe Stamber
May 11, 2011 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011, audio
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
Tara Moss
Aug 26, 2011 Tara Moss rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
'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
Dec 29, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, warfare
4.5 stars. I found this book difficult to put down, and the action picked up from the first page, through a large number of plot twists and building tension. The tension and the plot advanced somewhat slowly, exploding into a rather delicious climax, which was long and drawn out. There was some obvious ploys in use, and sadly, I guessed the ending, but given the subject matter, it was a rather foregone conclusion anyway. I enjoy this authors take, and will have to read more by him.
Dona Sarkar
Aug 06, 2013 Dona Sarkar rated it it was ok
Oh Ken Follett, you've fooled me again. You are so good at the spy cat-and-mouse game aspects of writing these great WWII spy novels. Generally the first 2/3 of your books have me waking up at night to finish reading a chapter or two. Such great and complex heroes and villians. But try to write sexy stuff. And honestly, you have no idea what women want or need.

I'm sorry, but a housewife is not going to wander into the next room to ravage the stranger she just met and bandaged up from
Victor Hugo
O primeiro contacto com este escritor talvez não tenha sido o melhor - coloquei em causa ler Os Pilares da Terra.
O que mais gostei nesta narrativa foi o contexto histórico, que consegue ser razoavelmente envolvente. O foco está, claro, num determinado espião e numa determinada área geográfica - tudo o resto é história documentada, cujo final já todos sabemos.
Ken Follett é bom no suspense, e este thriller é bom exemplo, mas no entanto fica a faltar algo; algo mais profundo... talvez recursos est
May 03, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
2.5/5 Downloaded this when I was in bed all day yesterday after a too late night out. I've read Follett before (Pillars of The Earth) which I enjoyed quite a bit more than this.
Nov 02, 2015 Paul rated it it was ok
I'll credit Follett with coming up with a fairly gripping plot -- in 1944, a German spy in England learns a secret that could change the course of World War II but finds himself shipwrecked on a tiny island off the coast of Scotland before he can deliver his intelligence to Der Fuhrer. Problem is, Follett is such a lousy writer that I kept wanting to throw my Kindle into the North Sea, which would be grey like the low-hanging clouds in the sky above it, and crawling with waves that crash relentl ...more
Aditya Jain
Apr 10, 2015 Aditya Jain rated it liked it
First of all, the 3-star rating should not disillusion anyone. This was not a bad read. But, it was a disappointment. I had expected a lot from this book.
This book deals with Operation Fortitude, which was undertake by the Allies to fuel the German notion that the invasion was going to take place at Calais and not Normandy. One spy digs it all out. And he is the best they have. They have to stop him.
Of course, everyone knows who won WWII. So, there is no doubt as to the climax. But, the book se
Asghar Abbas
Apr 01, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Can a book be sexy and enthralling ?

Read this in my human days when I could feel and touch books, and it is still reverberating through me.

What a yarn.

What are you doing?

Read it now.
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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 about Ken Follett...

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“Blenkinsop sighed. "As usual, those of you who can think of better ways to win the war are invited to write directly to Mr. Winston Churchill, number 10 Downing Street, London South-West-One. Now, are there any questions, as opposed to stupid criticisms?” 2 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.” 1 likes
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