* historical fiction … in Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 1, 2007

  • Follett starts with a one page historical preface about the D-Day deception. He ends the preface … “That much is history. What follows is fiction. Still and all, one suspects something like this must have happened.”
  • the high stakes of blowing the deception plan are emphasized several times … Godliman: “If one decent Abwehr agent in Britain gets to know about Fortitude … we could lose the fucking war.”
  •  But of course we know that D Day was successful and we didn’t lose the war.
  • Follett creates tension about an event where we know the actual outcome, ie that Faber cannot succeed.
  •  Much like Forsythe in Day of the Jackal (published in the early 1970s, before Eye of the Needle), where we know that De Gaulle was not murdered by a sniper but are carried into great tension anyway.
  •  Perhaps the tension is maintained because we don’t know if Faber will fail, or if he will succeed but Hitler doesn’t act on his knowledge. However, we are told repeatedly, by Hitler himself, that he will be guided by Faber’s report.

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