Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. Arbor House, 1978.
1979 Edgar Award Winner for Best Novel
The story is set during World War II. Die Nadel, or The Needle, is a German spy who learns of a great hoax the Allies are perpetrating in order to deceive the Germans. This hoax is crucial to the Allies success in the war. Hot on his tail are the spy-sniffers of MI5. Also crucial to the story are a young married couple, David and Lucy Rose. The novel follows all of these characters until they come finally come together in a gripping resolution. It isn’t until the very last pages that you find out whether or not Die Nadel will be successful in communicating his knowledge to Berlin.
I had a hard time getting into Eye of the Needle, but decided to follow Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50. Right around the 50 page mark, Part Two of the book started so I forced myself to continue into the new section. I’m so glad I did. Once you get past all the character introduction of Part One, Eye of the Needle turns into a great book. I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether good would triumph over evil.
Eye of the Needle is a remarkable piece of historical fiction. As Follett says in the Preface, it is entirely possible that something of this nature really did happen during the course of World War II. The Edgar Awards Reading Challenge has been very rewarding so far. I’ve read two great mystery novels that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to experience. I’ve always heard great things about Ken Follett in particular and am now eager to read more of his work.
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Eye of the Needle