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Eye of the Needle

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Storm Island, first editionFirst edition
Ken Follett
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Original Title
Storm Island

First book publication
1978, Britain

Literature form

Thriller, espionage

Writing language

Author's country

approx. 102,000 words

Notable lines

Early in 1944 German Intelligence was piecing together evidence of a huge army in southeastern England.

— First line, Preface

It was the coldest winter for forty-five years. Villages in the English countryside were cut off by the snow, and the Thames froze over. One day in January the Glasgow to London train arrived at Euston twenty-four hours late. The snow and the blackout combined to make motoring perilous: road accidents doubled, and people told jokes about how it was more risky to drive an Austin Seven along Piccadilly at night than to take a tank across the Siegfried Line.

— First lines, Chapter 1

He had never thought of anywhere as home.
He would always think of this as the place where he had learned to put a bolt on a door.


Most spies were amateurs: frustrated revolutionaries of the left or right, people who wanted the imaginary glamour of espionage, greedy men or lovesick women or blackmail victims. The few professionals were very dangerous indeed; they were not merciful men.


She opened her eyes again once, before she died, and said, "You'll have to win the war without me, kiddo.


This is a hard place. Only hard things survive here: hard rock, coarse grass, tough sheep, savage birds, sturdy houses and strong men. It is for places like this that the word "bleak" has been invented.


"I haven't had the opportunity to discover the merits of monogamy."


The conclusion came first, like a punch in the stomach, winding her; the reasons followed a split-second later. The shipwreck, the odd-shaped knife he was so attached to, the crashed jeep, the news bulletin about the London stiletto murderer—suddenly everything fitted together, a box of jigsaw pieces thrown in the air and landing, improbably, fully assembled.


Those eyes looked back at him now, and they were both wee very still, remembering.
Until David jumped off his grandpa's lap and knocked his cup of tea to the floor and the spell was broken.

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes • At the movies

See also:

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Gorky Park

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