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Eye of the Needle

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  136,343 ratings  ·  3,094 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, 339 pages
Published November 23rd 2004 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published May 23rd 1978)
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IvanOpinion Probably a bit too late for Brian, but in case anyone else is wondering the same thing, I fit Brian's profile. I generally prefer 'literature'. eg, Bo…moreProbably a bit too late for Brian, but in case anyone else is wondering the same thing, I fit Brian's profile. I generally prefer 'literature'. eg, Booker books

I've only read Eye of the Needle. I'd say it is a well-told thriller. Enjoyable, but not demanding to read. Comparable to, say, Dan Brown, Lee Child, Harlan Corben.(less)
Jerry Davis He had a radio, but didn't trust the operatives on the receiving end with accurately relaying his information. This was mentioned after he took the pi…moreHe had a radio, but didn't trust the operatives on the receiving end with accurately relaying his information. This was mentioned after he took the pictures, escaped and reached a town. He felt he made the right decision after the pictures he sent to the Portugal embassy were turned over to British intelligence.(less)
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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
Jan 20, 2011 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
We are looking for a needle in the haystack.

First published in the year 1978, Ken Follett`s Eye of the Needle is an intense suspenseful spy thriller. Set in the 1940s and close to the D-Day (June, 1944 – Normandy landings), this is the story of Henry Faber, a German spy nicknamed `The Needle`. With an engaging plot, this spy`s journey is quite the adventure.

The needle with the deadly stiletto.

There are certain places where it feels that some of the chapters were not needed or can be skipped, and
Ahmad Sharabiani
Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett

Eye of the Needle is a spy thriller novel written by Welsh author Ken Follett. It was originally published in 1978.

In 1940 Henry Faber is the alias used by a German spy, nicknamed The Needle, due to his preference for the use of a stiletto as his trademark weapon.

He is working at a London railway depot, collecting information on troop movements. Faber is halfway through radioing this information to Berlin when his widowed landlady stumbles into his room hoping for
Dana Ilie
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you have never read any of Follett's work, then this is a good place to start. The paperback is 368 pages, which is shorter than many of his other books. If you like his style, then his other books have even more point-of-view characters that he rotates his narration around. I'm guessing that Follett realized he had a solid formula for creating tension. He just added more characters to prevent telegraphing too many plot points.

This spy thriller delivers quite the adventure! No master work of
Sanjay Gautam
Dec 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Clichéd and predictable: an ultimate disaster. Wasted my precious time on this one.
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
"It has taken the total military and industrial might of the whole English-speaking world - the greatest civilization since the Roman Empire - four years to win this 50/50 chance. If this spy gets out, we lose even that. Which is to say, we lose everything. Don't bring me probabilities, professor. Bring me 'Die Nadel.'" -- Winston Churchill, fictional quote but actual U.K. prime minister

Follett's Eye of the Needle is probably best remembered as being his first bestseller over 40 years ago, as we
Ankit Garg
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett is an adventurous spy thriller novel set in the backdrop of World War II, specifically leading to the D-Day aka the Battle of Normandy. Henry Faber aka The Needle, is a German spy in the midst of the English. He somehow gathers the most important intelligence information that can decide the fate of the war for the Germans. Hitler trusts him, but will he able to successfully transfer that knowledge, given that the English Intelligence is doing everything in their ...more
Jason Koivu
Dec 08, 2010 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.
Deacon Tom F
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the Best of All Time

“The Eye of the Needle” by Ken Follet is one of the top ten books that I have ever read

Besides being a WWII psychological thriller, it is 100% factual about the planning and spying of the Normandy Landing.

Memorable characters like Henry Faber, a nondescript Englishman, who is a railway clerk living in a widow's house. Oh by the way, Henry is a German agent and assassin working in Britain where bhe discovers one of the biggest secrets of WWII--rhe date and location for
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, follett
full review…

Again I am truly mesmerized by Ken Follett's imagination his writing style and this absolute gem of a book Eye of the Neddle. This is an incredible novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, with massive suspense, thriller and the elaborate machinations that only Follet could design! I'm truly shook!

"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. "

—Winston Churchill

Eye of the Needle became Follett’s first ‘breakthrough’ book, the
Stjepan Cobets
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent thriller where the action is happening at the time of the Second World War.
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
Nandakishore Varma
This is undoubtedly one of the best thrillers to come out of World War II. The Allies are planning for invading Europe, and where is it going to be? Normandy or Calais? The outcome of the war depends on fooling Hitler - and the German spy, known as "The Needle", may yet prove spoilsport.

The story moves at a rapid pace as the Needle and his pursuers move across Britain - but what makes it stand apart is its exquisite climax, set on an island, involving the protagonist, an Englishwoman who has bec
Abubakar Mehdi
Feb 06, 2015 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
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my first Follett book I have read and he has a very enjoyable, concise and precise style of writing. The year is 1944, and a German spy (code-name: "the Needle") has photos that could damage the Allies' plans for D-Day. While trying to get the photos to a U-boat, he is shipwrecked on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, which is home to a loveless and amputee man, his lonely wife, and their three-year-old child. This is an enthralling wartime (WW2) thriller with a interesting plot ...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 ...

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 …
Eli Easton
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read for my lifetime challenge (1978).

This is a fantastic page-turner that outshines most contemporary thrillers. I could hardly bear to put it down for the day and a half it took me to devour it!

The story is set during WWII just before the allies invade at Normandy. This first offensive by British, US and allied forces could determine the entire war. The only chance they have is if they can land where the Germans aren't expecting them. Otherwise they'll be decimated as they try to get their arm
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A WW11 thriller that in a strange way leads you into rooting for both sides. Strange I admit but because the author writes the story from both angles you can't help wanting the spy to at times succeed. My first Ken Follett book and I will certainly try others. ...more
Apr 02, 2011 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 I'm
Sonia Gomes
Mar 13, 2009 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.
Mohammed Sheikh
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, welsh
Eye of the needle a thriller novel set on the second world war. "Die nadel" or the needle the german undercover agent whose job is to find the plans of the allies on doomsday and get back to Germany. the needle who is doing the job quite swiftly despite the whole british police is after him, until he is shipwrecked and forcefully he have to take rest at storm island which is separated from the mainland. and then he met lucy and his attitude just get changed.

what i like about this book : overall
Joey Woolfardis
Apr 01, 2015 marked it as to-read-kindle
Yes, but Kindle. One of those books I like after only a few pages.
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
Tom LA
Apr 29, 2015 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
Kaustubh Dudhane
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read sometime in 2014.

“War was grueling and oppressive and frustrating and uncomfortable, but one had friends. If peace brought back loneliness, Godliman thought he would not be able to live with it.”

This was my first experience with Ken Follett. And dear o dear! What a engrossing experience it was! I still remember how glued I was to the book. The plot, the tension and the intensity of the attraction between the two main characters were absolutely brilliantly written. The fun part was that
Dona Sarkar
Aug 06, 2013 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
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edgar-award
Set in WWII, this excellent spy novel begins with the premise that a top German operative has discovered the deception behind Operation Fortitude, placing the D-Day invasion plans at risk. The insertion of fictional characters into a real-life event, one in which the reader already knows the outcome, is similar in feel to The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, and in both cases it is the author's skill that keeps us in suspense until the final pages. Follett deserves some credit for a stron ...more
Ming Wei
Betrayal, a thrilling, spy novel, The movie is one of my favourite spy movies of all time, the book does not disappoint, the book is well written, gives depth to the characters, characters that implement both fake and true personalities. A very good spy novel, easy to read, the story flows, keeps your concentration right to the end. A thrilling ride across the UK. Very enjoyable book. Suitable to all people interested in the 2nd world war, only negative, I think the front cover is a bit plain, b ...more
Karl Marberger
A fun read! An added bonus if the reader is familiar with the details surrounding the infamous Operation Overlord of WWII. A great cat and mouse with historical context!
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Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 170 million copies of the 36 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.

Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy – later to be made a Fellow of t

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