Eye of the Needle Literary Techniques

Ken Follett

Literary Techniques

Several critics have expressed appreciation for Follett's fine ability to expand upon historical fact when concocting plots for his novels. Robert Lekachman in Nation magazine praises Follett's ability to create a "variation upon history."

The complex plot of Eye of the Needle, for example, is based upon the secret Allied plan to conceal the actual landing site of the D-Day forces during World War II. In 1944, through an elaborate hoax, the Allies hoped to convince the Germans that the D-Day invasion would take place at Calais rather than Normandy. Although there were very few German spies working in Britain, Follett creates a clever Nazi agent who discovers this key Allied plan and attempts to reveal the information to Hitler. Thus, Follett's plot contains elements of both fact and fiction, a combination which adds a vital dynamic to the novel's fascination. Follett's talent for capturing a reader's curiosity concerning historical events accounts for much of the novel's popular success, or at least, as Follett states, "one suspects something like this must have happened."

(The entire section is 172 words.)