In 1944, the whole world expected the Allies to invade German-held territory on the continent soon.
The question was where.
Ken Follett’s novel Eye of the Needle is based on the hoax of cardboard ships and planes, called the First United States Army Group, that Britain created to suggest they will attack at Calais, near Belgium, rather than at their intended site in Normandy.
From that historical fact, Follett sets up a thrilling cat-and-mouse game in which a German spy, Henry Faber, called “The Needle” because of his preference for the stiletto as a death weapon, discovers the deception and tries to get his evidence back to Germany.
Farber is a professional spy. The other German spies working in England are rank amateurs; Farber has to eliminate them if they see his face.
The spies trying to catch Farber are also little more than amateurs. Percy Goldiman’s specialty is medieval history; before the war Frederick Bloggs was an inspector with Scotland Yard.
The unlikely pair come up with a scheme for getting a photograph of Farber.
Eye of the Needle contains no great philosophical truths, but Follett gets his psychological truths right.
Ordinary people rising to the occasion make this mystery-thriller extraordinary.
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Arbor House, ©1978. 313 p.
1978 bestseller #10. My grade: A-
©2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni