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Black Cross | [Greg Iles]

Black Cross

It is January 1944 - and as Allied troops prepare for D day, Nazi scientists develop a toxic nerve gas that will repel and wipe out any invasion force. To salvage the planned assault, two vastly different but equally determined men are sent to infiltrate the secret concentration camp where the poison gas is being perfected on human subjects. Their only objective: destroy all traces of the gas and the men who created it - no matter how many lives may be lost...including their own.
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Publisher's Summary

It is January 1944 - and as Allied troops prepare for D day, Nazi scientists develop a toxic nerve gas that will repel and wipe out any invasion force.

To salvage the planned assault, two vastly different but equally determined men are sent to infiltrate the secret concentration camp where the poison gas is being perfected on human subjects. Their only objective: destroy all traces of the gas and the men who created it - no matter how many lives may be lost...including their own.

©1995 Greg Iles; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This stunning, horrifying, mesmerizing novel will keep readers transfixed from beginning to end....From the very first page, Greg Iles takes his readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride, juxtaposing tension-filled action scenes, horrifying depictions of savage cruelty, and heart-stopping descriptions of sacrifice and bravery. A remarkable story from a remarkable writer." (Booklist)
"A thriller that really thrills...on fire with suspense." (Stephen King)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (818 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Craig Seattle, WA, United States 11-11-13
    Craig Seattle, WA, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2007

    I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WWII Fiction Needs a Modicum Plausibility"

    If you find yourself saying, "Why did they do that?" -- or asking the question, "Wouldn't that kill them?" -- then you are listening to Black Cross. Naturally we expect commando missions are fraught with danger, but this venture is so far-fetched and ill-conceived that it could only be a work of fiction (even if that is the genre). There was absolutely nothing about the events in this story that made me say, "Yep, that's real!" At one point I found myself wondering, "Why would they do that when one bombing mission would address the whole problem."

    The storyline probably had it's origins in a book about bombing a very bad Nazi place but the author realized that "death from the air" lacks all the emotional drama of hideous medical experiments on humans. Racking up up some ghoulish points for the reviewers and editors may have lead to some the very poor rewriting decisions (all surmise on my part of course). Add to the horror a concentration camp romance and you have all the makings for kitsch writing in very poor taste.

    I am not going to recommend this book to my fellow listeners. It plays our emotions intentionally (and cheaply). Concentration Camp stories are best left for the tellers of non-fiction or those fiction writers that have the capacity to explain the truly horrid without the need to interject cheap romance to gain our sympathies.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brett new york, NY, United States 06-28-13
    brett new york, NY, United States 06-28-13 Member Since 2010

    Homemaker Dad

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WW2 secret mission"
    Would you listen to Black Cross again? Why?

    Probably not


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stern and Brigadier Smith


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Emergency tracheotomy


    Who was the most memorable character of Black Cross and why?

    Brigadier Smith . He knew what he had to get done


    Any additional comments?

    A moving tale , emotional and exciting . Love it

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 05-09-10
    David Houston, TX, United States 05-09-10 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

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    Story
    "Improbable but engrossing"

    Iles spins a story which involves the reader enough to allow one to overlook its rather frequent improbabilities. This is a straight ahead "mission into enemy territory" story, well told and nicely paced so that we don't linger long enough to ask a lot of inconvenient questions. So it works. It also manages to ask some troubling old questions about how we calculate acceptable losses when we take up arms against evil. As a result, it has a nicely unsettling quality to it which somewhat compensates for its lapses in believability.
    Dick Hill is a fine reader, but he is definitely more in his element with the Georgia accent of the central character than he is when he assays the various British voices in the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Char Omaha, NE, United States 10-27-09
    Char Omaha, NE, United States 10-27-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Gut Wrenching Glimpse of History"

    I am old enough to know about this time in history. And I have seen enough documentaries to make me sick at all of it. But it is still a part of our history!! It is not pretty, it is something that makes you still in this day and age to wonder about the black side of humanity. Greg Isles mostly does murder mysteries. This was written in 1995 and is incredibly awesome in the writing and I have to tell you that I would not have gotten the true emotions were it not for Dick Hill as narrator. I think that narrating this had to make him totally sad and emotional which is why it came across so incredible. I could never have gotten these emotions if it not were for Dick Hill as narrator. It is not something you will forget anytime soon. It does not matter if it was true or not, we all know that very many things like this happened. One cannot feel totally good at the end of a book so real as this but it is something we need to know about. I am humbled at this book.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Dowdy 11-05-09
    D Dowdy 11-05-09
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    "Great!!!"

    Could not put it down

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Oneal California 05-17-14
    C. Oneal California 05-17-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm addicted to Audible. A new grandma I am responsible for my grandsons library, which reignited my interest in books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I'm going to keep trying but this is a warning"

    I am very interested in the topic. However it feels like a textbook or technical journal rather than a story or work of fiction. I haven't gotten very far, but that says a lot I gobble up books when they're good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 01-24-14
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 01-24-14 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just not for me."

    I really enjoy historical fiction and stories set in Europe around WW2 and the Holocaust are my favourite – just have a look at my book list and you’ll see! Most of the time I find them absorbing but I didn’t love this one; I was just not engaged – can’t say it was a page turner.

    It seemed to drone on and it was hard to for me to pay attention throughout the whole book; I lost track of what was going on more than once! The plotting commando-attacks scenes for example dragged on too long and were so jammed with complex minute details that I just faded out. Plus, I don’t particularly care for action-scenes and the entire last quarter of the book was wall-to-wall action. It’s just not for me.

    Greg Iles has a reputation for being a great author, so I won’t give up on his other books – my colleague ASSURES me I will LOVE The Devil's Punchbowl; I’ll give it a shot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake STONE, ID, United States 11-03-13
    Jake STONE, ID, United States 11-03-13

    Rangerider

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    "Very Hard listen."

    Someone said that they would listen to George Guidall read the tax code. I feel about the same for Dick Hill after listening to the Nathan McBride series. But, Dick Hill can not save this book. I love WWII stories but come on! A pacifist is the only hope of the Allies to stop Hitler in his diabolical plan to use a new nerve agent on the Normandy invasion troops. Even when shown the evidence the sissy lilly livered scientist cowers down and will not help destroy the gas or manufacture our own. It takes the deception of concocting a story that the cowards brother was shot down and is a prisoner before chicken little mans up to do his duty. By then I had lost interest and decided to read the tax code.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rachell GRAND HAVEN, MI, United States 11-03-13
    rachell GRAND HAVEN, MI, United States 11-03-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Dick Hill is amazing!"
    What did you love best about Black Cross?

    The action was intense! I couldn't stop listening!


    Any additional comments?

    I am a huge fan of Ken Follett. This book exceeded my expectations! It starts fast and keeps the pace all the way through! Dick Hill is one of the best narrators I have heard. Listening to this book is like listening to a play. Each character is acted out perfectly! Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 09-22-13
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 09-22-13 Member Since 2005

    Curtis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Believable and Riveting"

    This is a work of fiction that seems like a plausible explanation for the puzzling fact that Hitler never employed his deadly nerve gases. That Hitler could have used these awful weapons is well documented. But why would he have held this trump card back when all appeared to be slipping from his grasp in 1944? This plot is probably not the answer, but it makes for a great story. Who knows...maybe this is close to the truth after all.
    Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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