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Review of The Eye of The Needle, a novel by Ken Follett
The Eye of the Needle is the best selling novel from the pen of author Ken Follett. The novel was written in 1977 and became an international best seller. Ken Follett had written other novels, but The Eye of The Needle was his first major success.
I am reviewing the paperback edition of the book, ISBN 78-0330354295. Cover price £7.99.
The cover depicts the rear view of a man watching a remote house, silhouetted against a stormy sky. The cover is enigmatic and mysterious, that in conjunction with the jacket blurb and knowledge of another novel by the author, is what encouraged me to buy the novel.
The Eye of The Needle is a gripping crime mystery, set during the second world war. The storyline takes us through the exploits of The Needle Germany's most feared secret agent. In his guise as Englishman Henry Faber, The Needle's task is to uncover the Allies plans for D-Day and report back to Germany at all costs. The Germans are desperate for this information, the outcome of the war depends upon the Needle's success.
The Needle is ruthless, he enjoys his work and is a cold blooded killer. He is feared by German and British intelligence agencies alike. His choice of weapon is a stiletto, which he uses with relish and panache. No one is safe from The Needle, he kills with little or no reason, as long as he can achieve his goals, human life is immaterial.
The Needle's plans go astray when he is caught up in a severe storm and washed up on the beach of the appropriately named Storm Island, the remote island home of Lucy and David Rose.
The couple live on the island, which belongs to David's father, in a tumbledown cottage with their young son, Jo. The only other inhabitant on the island is Tom, an eccentric elderly shepherd. The couple are living in this barren environment while David recovers mentally and physically from a tragic road accident which nearly killed the couple, shortly after their wedding. They are not a happy couple, David is disinterested in his wife, his son and is a very bitter man.
When Henry Faber is stranded on the island, the couple attempt to assist the seemingly mild mannered man with devastating results.
While this is occurring the British Secret Services are on the trail of The Needle......More I will not reveal for fear of spoiling the book for others! If you want to know the outcome, read the book!
Ken Follett was born on 5 June 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector. He was educated at state schools and graduated from University College, London, with an Honours degree in philosophy. He was made a Fellow of the college in 1995.
On leaving university, he became a reporter with his home-town newspaper the South Wales Echo and later moved to the London Evening News. While working on the Evening News he wrote his first novel, which was published but did not become a best-seller. He then went to work for a London publishing house, Everest Books, where he was eventually promoted to Deputy Managing Director. He continued to write novels in his spare time. The Eye of the Needle was his eleventh book, and his first major success. Around 100 million copies of his books have been sold to date.
He is married to Barbara Follett, the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in Hertfordshire. They live in a rambling rectory in Stevenage. They also have homes in London and Antigua. Ken's interests include the works of Shakespeare, and is often to be seen at performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. He is also an enthusiastic amateur musician, he plays bass guitar in a band called 'Damn Right I Got the Blues'.
Ken Follett is involved with various charities and organisations promoting literacy, such as The Dyslexia Institute, The National Literary Trust, The National Academy of Writing and he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
More information about the author and a list of his other novels can be found on his website
Published by Pan MacMillan Books
20 New Wharf Road
London N1 9RR
020 7014 6000
288 pages, ISBN 978-0330354295. Cover price £7.99
Also available from www.amazon.co.uk New £5.99, used from 1p
---My Thoughts and Conclusion--
The Eye of The Needle is a fast moving, action packed, crime thriller. Prior to reading this novel I had enjoyed Ken Follett's historical novel, 'The Pillars of Earth', but I found Eye of The Needle a very different genre and a really remarkable read.
Although the plot is actually following four story lines, that of The Needle, The Rose family, the British Secret Service and the German Intelligence Department, the plot never becomes confused as the separate story lines meld together very slickly.
The characters are extremely well drawn and believable. Ken Follett has created character that seem to stick in your mind and feel very real. The book is actually terrifyingly realistic and the events unfold with dramatic twists and turns.
The Eye of The Needle is well worth reading, even if you are not interested in war or crime stories, there is enough in this novel to keep most readers enthralled. I would highly recommend to others.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 February 2009
Also published on ciao.co.uk
His weapon is the stiletto, his codename: The Needle. He is Henry Faber, a coldly professional killer and Germany's most feared deep-cover agent in Britain. His task: to discover the Allies' plans for D-Day, and get them to Germany at all costs. It's a task he undertakes with customary relish and ruthlessness - until he encounters Storm Island, and a woman called Lucy.