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The Black Sun by James Twining

The Black Sun (2006)

by James Twining

Series: Tom Kirk (2)

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245946,947 (3.51)3



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Using the real Gold Train story, James Twining's story advances the idea that a portion of the Gold Train was originally removed and hidden in a spot other than the tunnel in Austria. His hero, Tom Kirk solves several puzzles to find the portion and his search takes him from Europe to the US, to Russia and finally to a small town in Germany. ( )
  WhitmelB | Dec 31, 2013 |
a pretty decent yarn. fast paced and a good mystery. i thought there were a few too many characters (the story switches between different character's pov throughout) but mostly a fun book. a good beach read. ( )
  shannonkearns | Jan 8, 2011 |
Nazis. Secrets. Art theft. Hidden Treasures. Thrilling adventure. Does that count as a review? If you haven't read this novel a hundred times, you must not read a lot of thrillers.

The Black Sun is your typical thriller novel, rife with the usual cliches and stereotypes. As Tom Kirk, a former art thief, goes on a little treasure hunt to find buried Nazi treasure, he predictably stumbles on some of the most absurdly obscure clues that always lead him in the right direction. He is accompanied by a cast of characters equally stereotypical. Americans are fat. Russians drink and smoke a lot. When women are introduced to the story they are described by what clothes they are wearing. If the characters were any flatter I could use them as a bookmark (which would never find their way into another James Twining thriller.) I think the only cliche not found in The Black Sun is the lack of a character with a missing hand or leg or an eye-patch or something. OH WAIT! There is one of those...well, shoot.

The novel starts off slow (like many thrillers) as the author feebly attempts to introduce his characters and story, but it does pick up about a third of the way through. After the author gets the ball rolling, he does do a great job with his action scenes. There is plenty of heart-pounding moments that can get the blood flowing. As the characters begin stumbling upon there ridiculously unlikely clues I can't deny the author did have me gripping my novel a little tighter, eagerly anticipating what would happen next. In that regard, The Black Sun does it's job well, creating suspense and tension with a story that will have you devouring pages to uncover what kind of crazy treasure the Nazis could have hidden, as the characters dodge bullets and participate in car chases and whatnot. It's prone to cause lots of eye-rolling, but it can suck you in it you don't watch your step!

There is also some historical truth and fascinating information about the Hungarian Gold Train to be found here, so it's not all for naught. This does help the over-the-top story to become a bit more conceivable, but it only helps so much. Plus in order to get to this you have to suffer through 400 pages of Twining bland writing, and I can't really say it's worth it. While the novel wasn't a complete waste of time and I didn't necessarily dislike it, it's not one I would recommend too highly. Unless, of course, you are a huge Dan Brown fan...then maybe you should go out and buy this immediately.

Average, 3 stars. ( )
6 vote Ape | May 14, 2010 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Okay, I admit it! I'm a sucker for Hidden Secret Nazi Gold Action Adventure stories! What can I tell ya, man -- I like millions of other Americans can't get enough of them crazy fascist secret-society obsessives, and all their supposed billions of hidden money and art and treasure all over the world at the end of World War II, lots of which is supposedly still hidden and un-recovered. And thus do we get to British author James Twining's latest adventure, The Black Sun, part of the so-called "Tom Kirk" series, concerning a former brilliant art thief and his old partner who are both now working on the other side of the law as private investigators.

Like many throwaway genre novels these days, Twining takes on several fascinating real-life stories and legends from the period, to craft a rather silly potboiler in the style of The Da Vinci Code (of freaking course), full of rather on-the-nose clues scattered throughout famous real locations all across Europe, causing a team of good-looking and rich nerds to traipse all across the Continent, one step ahead of the law and while even having supermodel Russian mobsters fall in love with them along the way. Skoal! The Black Sun is a genre novel through and through, enough to make a non-fan of the genre howl with unintentional laughter while skimming it; for fans of the genre, though, it contains enough secret Gestapo cult societies and buried truckloads of Jewish gold to satisfy even the most hardcore Indiana Jones fan. Good for the airport or beach; take caution in other contexts.

Out of 10: 6.8, or 9.0 for fans of Hidden Secret Nazi Gold Action Adventure stories ( )
  jasonpettus | Oct 30, 2009 |
Clues on some old paintings by an unknown and mediocre artist from WWII lead former art thief Tom Kirk; his partner, Archie; and friend Dominique on a trip around Europe looking for the legendary Amber Room. They try to stay ahead of Tom's father's former partner, Renwick, who is still part of the art underworld and also trying to track down the Amber Room.
It is a page-turner, and kept me up late for several nights running, as I wanted to see how things turned out! Did the Amber Room get found? If so, was it by Tom and friends, or Renwick and company? ( )
  PINERAT | Mar 31, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Tajna skrivana više od pedeset godina. tragovi rasuti po čitavom svetu. Neko je počeo da ih skuplja – a budućnost čovečanstva zavisi od toga hoće li biti zaustavljen.

U američkoj državi Meriland, lokalna banda provaljuje u Nacionalni muzej kriptologije i krade enigmu, nacističku mašinu za šifrovanje. U Londonu, u bolničkom krevetu, ubijen je starac koji je preživeo užase Aušvica, a njegove ubice ostavile su jeziv potpis – odsekli su mu levu ruku. U Pragu naizgled bezvredna slika ukradena je iz sinagoge.

Tri grada. Tri krađe. Da li je moguće da postoji neka veza?

Bivši kradljivac umetničkih dela, Tom Kirk, ne vidi vezu između ovih zločina, sve dok ne shvati da su čudne pljačke i bizarno ubistvo povezani sa Drugim svetskim ratom i nacističkom Nemačkom. Tom i njegov partner Arči Konoli moraju da reše neverovatnu misteriju, dok prate tragove koje su SS odredi ostavili pre više od pola veka.
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Information from the Serbian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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If I have seen futher,
it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
-Sir Isaac Newton, Letter to Hooke, 1675
To my parents and my sister
thank you for everything
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The shattered glass crunched under the leather soles of Tom Kirk's Lobb shoes like fresh snow.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007190174, Paperback)

High adventure, mind--blowing suspense. Tom Kirk, the world's greatest art thief, is back on another life--threatening mission. In London, an Auschwitz survivor is murdered in his hospital bed, his killers making off with a macabre trophy -- his severed left arm. In Fort Mead, Maryland, a vicious gang breaks into the NSA museum and steals a World War II Enigma machine, lynching the guard who happens to cross their path. Meanwhile, in Prague, a frenzied and mindless anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue culminates in the theft of a seemingly worthless painting by a little known Czech artist called Karel Bellak. A year has passed since Tom Kirk, the world's greatest art thief, decided to put his criminal past behind him and embark on a new career, on the right side of the law . Then three major thefts occur, and suddenly Tom is confronted with a deadly mystery and a sinister face from the past.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In Maryland, a vicious gang breaks into the National Cryptologic Museum and steals a Nazi Enigma machine. In a London hospital, an Auschwitz survivor is murdered in his bed, his killers making off with a macabre trophy - his severed left arm. In Prague, a seemingly worthless painting is stolen from a synagogue. Three cities. Three puzzling thefts. Could there possibly be a connection?" "When former art thief Tom Kirk is first asked to investigate, the Prague theft certainly seems unremarkable enough - until the stolen painting turns up alongside the amputated human arm. As Tom digs deeper into the past, both items appear to be elements in an elaborate trail of clues laid down in the dying days of the Third Reich by a secret order of SS knights - clues that stretch from the remote mountains of Idaho to the snowy streets of St. Petersburg and ultimately lead to a fabled treasure lost in the ashes of war.""Spurred on by the sinister light of the Black Sun emblem, ghosts from his past, and the poisonous manipulations of a deadly enemy, Tom finds himself trapped in a situation where the greatest prize of all is life itself - and not just his own."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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