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 conclusion in Ken Follett’s unsurpassed and unforgettable masterwork of suspense, intrigue, and the dangerous machinations of the human heart.
Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle is a historical thriller at its taut, gripping best, seamlessly blending historical events with suspenseful fiction. The novel spans the early years of World War II leading up to the tense days before D-Day. The Germans are frantically trying to decipher if the Allies will launch their attack east or west of the Seine. The fate of the war hangs in the balance.
Striving to tilt that fate toward his homeland is German spy Henry Faber, code name Die Nadel for the stiletto he uses to chilling accuracy. When he discovers that Operation Fortitude, the plan to invade Pas-de-Calais, is a ruse, he’s in a race against the clock and the MI-5 duo, Godliman and Bloggs, who are in their own race to find and silence the spy before he leaks the detrimental information to Hitler. The modern reader knows the outcome from the first page: that word never reaches the Führer of the deliberate Allied deception before the storming of the beaches of Normandy. Follett’s storytelling, though, allows the reader to be swept along on the taut chase to stop the brilliant spy before he gets word back to Hitler that would change the course of the war. Unwittingly drawn into the intrigue is beautiful Englishwoman Lucy, a Lady Chatterley-like figure with surprising depth, courage, and resourcefulness.
The characters are well-drawn. Lucy is a classic Ken Follett heroine, strong and determined, and the Needle is the perfect anti-hero—logical, brilliant, ruthless, and chillingly compelling. He’s also apolitical and insubordinate, and one finds oneself reluctantly admiring and rooting for him. The descriptions of the setting vivid, and Follett does a stellar job transporting the reader to WWII-era England and Scotland with his attention to detail and historical accuracy. Intricate details of life in wartime and a Lady Chatterley-esque subplot add more human elements to the story. The humor is sly, and the tension palpable throughout the book.
Follett is a master of historical suspense, and Eye of the Needle is a classic that sets the bar for the genre, keeping the reader on edge from the beginning to the shocking conclusion.