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  • Eye of the Needle

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)
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Eye of the Needle cover art

Eye of the Needle

Written by: Ken Follett
Narrated by: Samuel West
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Publisher's Summary

The worldwide phenomenon from the best-selling author of The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, A Column of Fire, and The Evening and the Morning

His code name was “The Needle.” He was a German aristocrat of extraordinary intelligence - a master spy with a legacy of violence in his blood, and the object of the most desperate manhunt in history....

But his fate lay in the hands of a young and vulnerable English woman, whose loyalty, if swayed, would assure his freedom - and win the war for the Nazis....

©1978 Ken Follett (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Top-notch suspense . . . a terrific thriller . . . spellbinding." (The Miami Herald

"Great . . . one of the twelve best thrillers from the last fifty years." (Rocky Mountain News

"Extraordinarily satisfying . . . a truly suspenseful novel . . . heart-stopping, nerve-freezing terror." (Los Angeles Times

What listeners say about Eye of the Needle

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent blend of historical fact and spy thriller!

Detailed character and setting portrayal sparked my imagination and coupled with a thrilling but believable storyline to deliver an awesome read.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Slow start

Really enjoyed this book. I did find it had a slow start but as always in Follett style, it came together brilliantly and I loved it! I do agree with others though, that some of the sexual graphics are unnecessary and just not to my personal taste and I by no means consider myself a prude.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best WW2 Spy fiction

I read the book over forty years ago , I’ve seen the movie with Donald Sutherland , it is better hearing it on Amazon Audible. The narrator is very good , I joy to listen too. This novel is classic Ken Follett , he is at his very best .

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite Follett novel

This is a fine novel but character development was a bit lacking. On the other hand, while the outcome of the story is never really in doubt, Follett managed to throw a few curveballs along the way. The narration was very good as well.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

So fine. Story is one of the very best spy stories ever. Reader quintessentially British but an actor so we have Churchill Hitler Rommel our Heroine and a dozen other voices all believable. 5 stars all round!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

It was very slow until the last hour of the audio book. It was not very believable. Not his best work.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 2023-10-25

Entertaining and Convincing

I found the story engaging and the characters convincing and interesting. The plot was a bit predictable but with enough surprises to keep me listening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent read, riveting until the end.

Highly recommend Eye of the Needle. Great story, kept me engaged the entire time. Excellent narration too; now in my top 5 books of all time.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant story telling

Another masterpiece by Ken Follett. Brilliant story telling, changing the story viewpoint led the heart where it needed to go while listening.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

Liked the characters Great ending Will be listening to this audiobook again in the near future

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  • Glenn Hopp
  • 2021-03-14

All-time great thriller, great reader, great idea

What thriller rates higher than this classic from Ken Follett? It is beautifully written and wonderfully plotted, especially the last 100 pages. The only previous recording of the novel I am aware of is an old one by Brilliance audio, a multi-voice approach. I have that one, but it is rather routine compared to the nuanced, attentive work of Samuel West, who is absolutely excellent here--not an indifferently read sentence in the whole book! In particular, West's pacing is perfect. Penguin gave new voice to a handful of older Follett novels along with this classic. Audible should do likewise--look for some older titles that would similarly benefit from a face- or voicelift. Maybe the novels of Dick Francis or Rex Stout would experience a jump of popularity with new readings.

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46 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • J. John
  • 2022-04-11

Great but graphic

The story had a complex storyline and well developed characters. However, the scenes were quite graphic for my taste.

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22 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Patty Cleary
  • 2021-03-20

Fantastic, wholly engaging. Highly recommend

I rewatched the film version and was inspired to get the audiobook. Its a wonderful story. The movie leaves out way too much. Especially the romantic parts. Full of heroic antics and drama.I just loved this. My favorite Follett for sure.

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16 people found this helpful

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  • SB
  • 2021-02-11

Not a fan of this story

I found this book slow moving and struggled to get through it. I couldn't connect with the story or the characters. The romantic scenes were cringeworthy.

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15 people found this helpful

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  • Queen's Jester
  • 2022-09-17

Vulgar

I will never understand authors of WWll fiction who can't write a solid historical fiction without vulgar sex scenes.

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12 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew R.
  • 2021-02-20

great historical Adventure

love everything about World War II and Churchill, and this is a great adventure story set in those times. totally believable and exciting

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrienne Norris
  • 2022-09-24

Porn

I had to stop listening because it had too much porn. That’s not my thing.

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11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dean K Johnston
  • 2022-04-01

Great book !

Well worth it Ken could ease up on the sex visuals but other than that it was awesome

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9 people found this helpful

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  • Ed
  • 2023-07-01

Oldie but Goodie

When I purchased this book I did not realize it was first published in the 1970s, although the Audible version came out in 2018. Since the novel took place in the 1940s, it's publication date proved to be of no consequence. The story flowed well, there was excellent character development and Follett's mixture of fiction and fact was flawless. Sometime I had trouble understanding and pronunciation of foreign places and names but otherwise this book was a delight to listen to. I recommend it highly. (PS - After completing my listen, I watched the 1981 movie based on this novel and the filmmakers did a good adaptation. Donald Sutherland was well cast as the Faber character.)

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4 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 2022-01-29

You can tell this was one of the first

Overall enjoyable. One thing really irked me. The free world was at stake and they send in one Constable against a great spy and very adept killer. Sorry, that just way too much literary license and too distracting!

Follett has done some great work, but this isn’t one of them

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4 people found this helpful