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Black Cross Paperback – November 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse the complete series of "The Walking Dead" digital collections and single issues for Kindle. See all.
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Top Customer Reviews
Black Cross is the story of an American pacifist Dr. Mark McConnel and a Jewish soldier Jonas Stern who are sent to Germany to make the Germans believe the Allies have just as much poison gas as the Germans do. This is done to convince Germany that the allies will retalliate if the Germans use gas to stop the Normandy Invasion.
Black Cross stands out because Iles takes us inside a German concentration camp and lets us meet all kinds of characters. We get to know Jewish and Polish prisoners, sympathetic German nurses, spies, and even a German officer is made to look somewhat sympathetic. Iles portrays him as a soldier who puts up with the German brutality because he has no choice, and because it is his duty to fight for his country.
Iles also bookends the book with McConnel's grandson finding out the truth about his grandfather. So what happened in WWII isn't a secret, but is tied to the present. Therefore while reading, we want to know how everything turns out but you want to know what happened to these characters for the rest of their life. The conclusions aren't breathtaking or startling, but they are satisfying.
I do think Black Cross might have been a bit two long. The ending seems to go one and on until the mission is accomplished. Also some of the logistics of the plan seemed a bit far fetched. Like what were the German guards in the tower doing when all this was happening. But these are minor problems in what is a great novel. Maybe in the future Iles will return to this genre.
The writing is excellent. Descriptions are concise and easily visualized, action is both exciting and believable. One star.
The plot is another gem. Learning the Germans have developed nerve agents, the allies are confounded as to how to prevent them from being employed. A raid on the concentration camp where the gas is being developed is the answer. Without giving away too much, the covert action is engrossing and thrilling, and there is a true sense of urgency (and a few, but not too many, twists). Ons star.
There are two protagonists, an American pacifist physician and a Jewish Zionist fighter (Stern gang? I don't recall.) Naturally, the personality conflict is substantial. Both are well-developed and sympathetic, and have good, well-explained reasons for their personal beliefs and biases (I, for one, can't stand it when a character acts uncharacteristically just to advance the plot. There is none of that here.) It is truly a character-driven story. One star.
The supporting cast is similarly well-done. Churchill acts in true-to-life fashion. A nurse at the gas-research camp struggles internally with her service of an evil regime. A Jewish mother in the camp does whatever it takes to save her children. The camp's security chief, honorable despite his service in the Waffen SS, loathes his current assignment and the men he commands. An NCO of the camp guards displays the sadism typical of that position.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books I've read. Starts a little slow, but you just know that there is action down the road. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Pappy
A long story but it never let up. Kept thinking it was drawing to an end and then it would take a new twist. I like WWII stories so this appealed. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Carol Cullum
Greg Isles kept my attention throughout. All characters were nicely developed. Excellent read...Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
I have read most of Greg Isles books and found this book to be maybe the best. I visited a concentration camp in Prague and this book brings out heartfelt emotion. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Margaret Byrd
An all time favorite. Really wish Iles would do something like this or Spandau Phoenix again in lieu of some of the other stuff he's been doing since (Penn Cage).Published 22 days ago by Gary