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Black Cross Paperback – November 1, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 355 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the World War Two Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Iles's WWII thriller portrays a commando raid on a Nazi concentration camp that is developing poison gases to be used against the Allied forces.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The author of the best-selling Spandau Phoenix (LJ 4/15/93) takes us into Nazi Germany with an American doctor and a Jewish soldier intent on destroying a weapon that could wipe out the D-Day invasion forces.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; English Language edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451185196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451185198
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (355 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Iles was born in 1960 in Germany where his father ran the US Embassy medical clinic during the height of the Cold War. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1983 he performed for several years with the rock band Frankly Scarlet and is currently member of the band The Rock Bottom Remainders. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, a thriller about war criminal Rudolf Hess, was published in 1993 and became a New York Times bestseller. Iles went on to write ten bestselling novels, including Third Degree, True Evil, Turning Angel, Blood Memory, The Footprints of God, and 24 Hours (released by Sony Pictures as Trapped, with full screenwriting credit for Iles). He lives in Natchez, Mississippi.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've now read all of Greg Iles' books, and Black Cross just might be his best. Black Cross, along with Spandau Phoenix, are unlike his more recent efforts in that they relate to WWII and mix actual history with fiction to come up with an exciting story that could actually be true.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This book has everything: history, adventure, espionage, even a dash of romance. It's a page turner, with not a wasted word, and is unbelievably gripping. Definitely worth staying up all night and losing sleep for. It's also thought-provoking. How do you cope with sheer horror on a day-to-day basis without losing your sanity and humanity? Set in the concentration camps of WWII, it answers (in its way) the question of why Hitler never used his stockpile of poisonous gas. Get this book NOW and spread the word!
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Format: Paperback
this was the first book about WWII i read and i must admit that i was a bit timid when i started, but the first line teased my curiosity and i felt compelled to read more. the characters: the angry Jewish terrorist, the american pacifist, the desperate Jewish mother, and the nurse employed by the Nazis were wonderfully and honestly written, which is truly the treasure of this novel. the last 100 pages held me at the edge of my seat as if i were on a rollercoaster and Iles conducted the story like a true master of fiction.
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Format: Paperback
If you have read some of the authors books in the past you have a good idea of what you are going to get. An easy to read and understandable book that is full of action. This is an overall great book, it is not often that an author can come up with such a comprehensive book as this. This had it all, a great story, good characters, wonderful action and a quick pace. This is an exciting book. It really made me happy reading the book; it was like a great game of treasure hunt where you find everything. Each time I was ready for a plot twist, action of drama it was there. The characters just explode in your memory - you do not get them out of your head. Overall this was a great effort.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a pleasant surprise. The underwhelming titles "The Master Sniper" and "War of the Rats" had not ingrained me with high expectations about WW2 fiction. "Black Cross" manages to wrap suspense, characterization, and a fast-paced plot into one neat little package that will have the reader wondering where the hours went.

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.
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