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Jack Higgins


One book leads to another, so does an author. Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett leads me to Jack Higgins, whose The Eagle Has Landed has sold more than 50m copies. The book is about a plot to kidnap Churchill during World War II. It’s one of the landmark thrillers of the postwar years. In the process it has acquired iconic status and its own myths. Despite the huge commercial success, his agent first didn’t like the idea of the book when Higgins first came out with the idea. The agent had his reason: he thought the public wasn’t ready for a book that was moderately sympathetic to the Germans. A published put the phone down on the agent when he tried to pitch it. At a champagne reception to celebrate the success of The Eagle Has Landed, Higgins overheard a group of journalists saying any old fool with a typewriter could have written it. Higgins didn’t say anything, but he learned to be more guarded. To me, the book is un-putdownable, the story behind its publication is entertaining.


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