Eye of the Needle – Ken Follett

I have only recent discovered Ken Follett’s novels due to the immense press interest in his latest book. However I thought I would go to the back catalogue and see if I would enjoy the writing and style of this author. So I picked up Eye of the Needle.

This is pitched as A World War Two Suspense Thriller, and to be honest not a first choice of genres for me. How I must have been missing out on so much. The book takes us straight into the War around the early part of 1944 and we through the first few chapters introduced to the main characters and gain background on them.

Henry Faber a lodger in a large house seems to have a very keen interest in using his radio and making sure that no one gets to know him closely. But Henry Faber is not all that we are led to believe for in fact he is The Needle and Hitler relies on him to discover the secrets no matter at what cost or whose.

Professor Godliman is called back to Military Intelligence and with the help of Frederick Bloggs they are given the task of seeking out this Henry Faber and ensuring whatever he has discovered is not given over to the Germans.

Lucy Rose is newly married and her husband David is about to go off and be a fighter pilot but he is not as brave as he seems and in his intention to show off he ends up never starting his flying career. They move to a remote island, Storm Island on the east coast of Scotland where they tend the sheep up there along with Tom who is the only other inhabitant on the island and a member of the Royal Observer Corps.

What Follett does with the book now, is let each character have a chapter, alternating so we can start the build up to the climax of the book and the ultimate aim trying to catch The Needle. There are plenty of twists and turns, and nearly moments, but Follett does really keep the pace up.

The characters are well-rounded and formed and they make believable characters in the story, although the premise of the story is strong. I felt for Lucy the most, I envied her idyllic space but also I felt her pain her lust and her anger out of which something grew strong. The Needle was ruthless and cared for nothing or no one, but I was taken in just like some of the other characters and fell victim to his obvious spell as he showed a softer side to his nature.

It is a thriller, it does have plenty of suspense and throw in the historic aspect of it; World War Two and the build up to D-Day then you have got a book that would probably suit fans of many genres. I am glad I have discovered Follett and I will certainly read some of his other work if the quality is as good.

I really enjoyed this book, and I was surprised because it is not something I would have picked up before. The reason for wanting to read it; I was interested in Ken Follett’s new book Fall of  Giants which was published back in September time and is going to be part of a trilogy with a good storyline. However I have succumbed to the reviews that have been posted on Amazon and have been really put off!  I think perhaps I will wait before investing in this one or look out in a charity shop for it – then if  I do not like it, I will not feel so aggrieved. Having looked at the authors website he has definitely got a varied subject matter for his books; although a lot feature thrillers based on real events. The Pillars of the Earth his complete opposite direction but I do not know if I would enjoy it? I think Ken Follett is going to be an if I see it in a Charity Shop or Library I might give it a go”. It worked for this book, it might work for some of the others.

I think I might have a World War Two theme running at the moment, after having visited Bletchley Park a month ago. Operation Mincemeat is on the pile to read and there is also a television programme about it at the weekend.