Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Black Sun

The Black Sun

3.8 13
by James Twining

See All Formats & Editions

It is a secret that has been hidden for more than a half-century. The clues have been scattered across the globe. Now someone has begun to piece them together. And the future of the world depends on their being stopped in time.

In Maryland, a vicious gang breaks into the National Cryptologic Museum and steals a Nazi Enigma machine. In a London hospital, an


It is a secret that has been hidden for more than a half-century. The clues have been scattered across the globe. Now someone has begun to piece them together. And the future of the world depends on their being stopped in time.

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: the old man's severed left arm. In Prague, a seemingly worthless painting is stolen from a synagogue.

Three cities. Three thefts.

Could there possibly be a connection?

Former art thief Tom Kirk certainly sees no reason to link the crimes when he is first asked to investigate. But when the stolen painting turns up alongside the amputated arm, he realizes that he has uncovered an elaborate trail of clues laid down in the dying days of the Third Reich by a secret order of SS knights. Clues leading to a fabled treasure lost in the ashes of war that is the key to a deadly game where the ultimate prize is life itself—Tom's included.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Those hoping for a more original plot than that found in Twining's first book, The Double Eagle, will be disappointed with this thriller again featuring Tom Kirk, a London-based ex-CIA agent and former professional art thief. Kirk is trying to go straight when he's recruited for a British MI6 operation to thwart a group of neo-Nazi extremists known as Kristall Blade. Tom wants no part of it until shown that his longtime enemy, Harry Renwick, is one of the conspirators. Soon Tom and partners Archie Connolly and the lovely Dominique de Lecourt are off on a Da Vinci Code-like treasure hunt complete with maps, codes, secret safety deposit boxes, car chases, gun fights and those favorite WWII staples, Eichmann's "gold train" and the lost Russian Amber Room. Veteran thriller readers, especially those who specialize in the Nazi subgenre, will find few surprises. Kirk, a muted, low-key character, spends far too much time brooding about his complicated backstory; the man could use a strong dose of caffeine and less shopworn material to break him out of his lethargy. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Former CIA agent-turned-art thief Tom Kirk returns! Reformed in Twining's debut, The Double Eagle, Kirk and his partner now operate an art-recovery business. They are consulted when a Prague synagogue is vandalized and a seemingly worthless painting purloined. Meanwhile, a World War II Enigma machine is stolen from a U.S. military museum, and an Auschwitz survivor is murdered in his London hospital room, the murderers having amputated and absconded with his tattooed arm. What could the connection possibly be? Once again, Twining offers a tremendously well-researched and exciting adventure that delves into the secret orders of the Nazi hierarchy and traces the history and lore of Nazi plunder. This work takes readers on a journey full of twists and surprises as Kirk races to find Russia's legendary Amber Room (also the subject of Steve Berry's thriller The Amber Room). Recommended for most popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/06.]-Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
You got your neo-Nazis, your hidden treasure, your frenetic action scenes, your life-or-death, fate-of-the-nation issues . . . but it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that rooting interest. Back for a second go-round is high-end art thief Tom Kirk, as woefully wooden as he was in his debut (The Double Eagle, 2005). Maybe more so, inasmuch as he's reformed-rectitude, unfortunately, seldom counting for much in the charisma department. Approached by British Intelligence, Kirk learns of two related unsettling developments: (1) A Nazi derivative called Kristall Blade (derived in turn from Kristallnacht) has become virulently operational, and (2) the group has some kind of collusive relationship with Kirk's erstwhile best friend, transmogrified through betrayal into his bitterest enemy. MI6 is asking for Kirk's help, Agent Turnbull makes clear, with nothing tangible to offer in return, hoping instead to persuade him that Kristall Blade is not merely heinous but a dire threat to the nation's stability. True enough, Agent Turnbull knows his man; still, it's the name Henry Julius Renwick that really gets Kirk's attention. And so he signs on, and before long is deeply involved in trying to determine how a seemingly humdrum painting connects to the mutilation and murder of a Holocaust survivor, connects to an elite Nazi secret society, connects to an American backwoods cult, connects to the gorgeous and storied Amber Room (commissioned by Frederick the Great as a gift for Catherine the Great), connects to a pair of decades-old trains in an abandoned Austrian copper mine. And how all of this connects to Henry (Judas) Renwick, Kirk's bete noir, a man with as charmed a life as Holmes's Moriarty-towhom, at a pivotal moment, bested and beleaguered, he gets to utter ("through clenched teeth") that sturdy hack fiction line: "This isn't over, Harry." Frenetic action scenes do not a thriller make. Agent: George Lucas/InkWell Management

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.08(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Black Sun

By James Twining

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 James Twining
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060762144

Chapter One

St. Thomas' Hospital, London
December 27--2:59 a.m.

Ash cash.

That's what medical students call it. Every cremation or burial release form requires a doctor's signature, and every signature earns its donor a small fee. Death could be good business for a doctor who happened to be in the right place at the wrong time.

To Dr. John Bennett, however, shouldering the icy rain as he walked briskly over to the main hospital building from the ugly hulk of the accommodation block, the prospect of a few extra quid was small compensation for being paged at three a.m. Very small. As if to emphasize the hour, Big Ben, its face suspended in the air like a small moon on the other side of the river, chose that moment to chime, each heavy, deadened strike shaking Bennett a little further awake.

He stepped out of the cold into the warm blast of the heaters positioned in the entrance vestibule, the sudden change in temperature making his glasses fog. He took them off and wiped them clean on his shirt, the moisture streaking across the lens.

A red LED display glowed into life overhead as the elevator made its way down to him, the declining numbers scrolling rhythmically across the panel. Eventually, there was a muffled sound of machinery as it slowed and the door opened. He stepped inside, noting as the elevator lurched upward that the bronzed mirrorsmade him look healthier than he felt.

A few moments later, he walked out onto the ward, the wet soles of his shoes faintly marking the scarlet linoleum. The corridor ahead of him was dark, the lights dimmed apart from the emergency exit signs that glared green above the doors at either end.

"Doctor?" A woman's voice rang out through the gloom. He slipped his glasses back on to identify the approaching figure.

"Morning, Laura," Bennett greeted her with a warm smile. "Don't tell me you've killed another one of my patients?"

She shrugged helplessly. "I've had a bad week."

"Who was it this time?"

"Mr. Hammon."

"Hammon? Well, I can't say I'm surprised. He was in a pretty bad way."

"He was fine when I came on duty. But when I looked in . . ."

"People get old," Bennett said gently, sensing she was upset. "There's nothing you could have done." She smiled at him gratefully. "Anyway, I'd better take a look. Have you got the paperwork ready?"

"It's in the office."

The windowless room was positioned about halfway down the ward, the only light coming from the glow of two surveillance monitors and the LED display of the video recorder beneath them. One monitor showed the corridor where they had just been standing; the other flicked between the patients' rooms, pausing a few seconds in each. The rooms were identical, a single narrow bed dominating the space with a few chairs drawn up under the window and a TV set fixed high up on the facing wall. The only variation was in the quantity of flowers and get-well cards on one side of the bed and monitoring and resuscitation equipment on the other. Unsurprisingly, there seemed to be a direct correlation between the two.

Laura rummaged around on the desk for the file, the blue glow from the monitors staining her red nails purple.

"Do you want the light on?"

"Please," she replied, without looking up.

Bennett reached for the switch, when suddenly something caught his eye. The roving camera had settled momentarily in one of the patient's rooms. Two dark figures were silhouetted against the open doorway, one slight, the other improbably tall.

"Who's that?" Bennett said with a frown. The picture jumped to the next room. "Quick, get it back."

Laura switched the system to manual and scanned the rooms one by one until she found the men.

"It's Mr. Weissman's room," she said in a low, uncertain voice.

The two figures were now standing on either side of the bed looking down at the sleeping patient. Even on the monitor he looked thin and frail, his skin pinched, his cheeks hollowed by age. Various wires and tubes emerged from under the bedclothes and led to a heart-rate monitor and some sort of drip.

"What the hell are they playing at?" Bennett's surprise had given way to irritation. "You can't just come in here whenever you feel like it. What do people think we have visiting hours for? I'm calling security."

As Bennett reached for the phone, the tall man on the left snatched a pillow out from under the sleeping man's head. He awoke immediately, his eyes wide with surprise and then, as he blinked at the two men looming above him, fear. His mouth moved to speak, but whatever sound he might have been trying to make was smothered as the pillow was roughly pushed down onto his face. Helplessly, his arms and legs flapped, like a goldfish that had leapt out if its bowl.

"Jesus Christ!" Bennett gasped, his voice now a whisper. He jammed the phone to his ear, the white plastic slippery against his sweaty skin. Hearing nothing, he tapped the hook switch a few times before locking eyes with Laura. "It's dead."

On-screen, the tall man nodded to his companion, who lifted a black bag onto the bed and reached in. The teeth of what Bennett instantly recognized as a surgical bone-saw sparkled in the light. Deftly, the figure slid back the man's left pajama sleeve and placed the blade on his arm, just below the elbow. The man jerked his arm but to no avail, what little strength he had left clearly ebbing away in his attacker's strong grasp.

Bennett glanced at Laura. She was standing with her back to the door, her hand over her mouth, her eyes glued to the monitor.

"Don't make a sound." His voice was thin and choked. "We'll be fine as long as they don't know we're here. Just stay calm."


Excerpted from The Black Sun by James Twining Copyright © 2006 by James Twining. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

James Twining graduated from Oxford University with a degree in French literature. His first Tom Kirk adventure, The Double Eagle, was published with great success on both sides of the Atlantic. He lives in London with his wife and their two children.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Black Sun 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sharp well constructed not to much tecno
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a pretty good book, the story had all that it needed for the reader to have a good time reading it. But there is one part of the book that I think could have been a little better. It is my opinion that the ending was a little of a let down, to me the auther had build up the story all through the book, then have it end as it did? I just don't know, to me the book ended and I had a feeling that the auther din't really have an idea on how the story was to end, so he just ended it as he did. Oh well he was the auther and if he wanted it to end as it did it was his choice. Over all I still had a good time reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have read James Rollins' Black Order and Steve Berry's Amber Room, then you have already read this book. Albeit the characters are somewhat intersting there is still a strange similarity between the lead character Tom Kirk 'ex-CIA agent turned art detective' and Berry's Cotton Malone 'former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer'. Overall, the book moves quickly but there are no new twists or turns that other authors haven't already explored earlier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sroryline was very interesting and mostly exciting. Kirk once again has escaped numerous threats on his life while making new friends to help find the Gold Train. My only concern was the ending (however, I will not reveal it). I thought the ending was more of an afterthought rather than one to leave you as excited as the events leading up to it. Maybe I expected more personal action by Kirk.
Patarma6 More than 1 year ago
It's OK, with interesting characters, but it seems formulated with standard Clichés.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating book, i loved it from the first page to the very end. If you like to read about exciting crimes filled with the stealing of precious artifacts, deaths after deaths, and tapping base with untold stories about the past, you'll LOVE this.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In London British MI6 operatives try to enlist the aid of former CIA Agent Tom Kirk in a nasty situation involving three brutal murder-robberies. Tom declines even as they describe the murders at a synagogue in Prague, at a hospital in London and a museum in Maryland. All were violent yet nothing of seeming value taken. What were stolen was a worthless 1940s painting, a Nazi camp survivor¿s arm, and a WW II Enigma machine. This doesn¿t make sense except for the war connection and the probable link to neo-Nazi supremacist group Kristall Blade. Tom agrees to help when he learns that his enemy from his espionage days, Harry Renwick, is involved. Tom, accompanied by two friends, begins following clues on two continents in order to stop the Neo-Nazis and their allies from achieving their objective, which he knows involves six decades old lost gold and other treasures. --- THE BLACK SUN is an exciting neo-Nazi thriller and sub-genre fans will enjoy following the exploits of introspective Tom and his cohorts. As with Kirk¿s first novel, THE DOUBLE EAGLE, the fast-paced story line blends historical tidbits into a modern day mystery. Readers will enjoy James Twining¿s tense tale though nothing neo arises under the Nazi sun. --- Harriet Klausner