US and Canadian reviews of The Double Eagle
"A captivating, engrossing debut, James Twining's The Double Eagle is a fast-paced tale of international crime and skullduggery written with style and panache.
Twining is a worthy successor to Forsyth, Follett, and Higgins. Highly recommended."
Christopher Reich, bestselling author of Numbered Account and The Patriot's Club
"Robert Ludlum meets The Da Vinci Code in James Twining's electrifying debut novel. It's an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, set in the international art and antiquities marketplace, that deals with a missing set of priceless coins -- and the individuals who will do anything to possess them.
When an Italian priest is found murdered in Paris with an exceedingly rare American coin -- the 1933 Double Eagle -- lodged in his throat, the FBI is called in to investigate. Special Agent Jennifer Browne, trying to prove her competency after making a deadly mistake in her last mission, is assigned to the case. Though the handful of gold coins still in existence are supposed to be safely locked away in Fort Knox, when Browne visits the Kentucky depository, she discovers that all the coins are gone!
When she finds a possible link between the Fort Knox theft and a rogue CIA agent reported dead ten years earlier, she tracks down "Tom Kirk" -- now an infamous art thief -- in London, and together they begin to unravel the elaborate puzzle. But as the pieces slowly fall into place, the two begin to realize that they're up against not only a ruthless criminal mastermind but also much more powerful -- and malevolent -- agenciesâ€¦
Fans of recent bestsellers like Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's The Rule of Four and The Third Translation by Matt Bondurant will devour this adept blend of fact and fiction -- a high-speed (and highly intellectual) world-hopping thriller Ã la Ludlum, Ken Follett, and Frederick Forsyth.
In a word: Sensational!"
Barnes and Noble Book Review - September 2005
"Meet Tom Kirk, hero of the nimble global romp "The Double Eagle" and heir to the throne of the twisty international thriller, a seat that has belonged to Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan for more than two decades.
Newly minted author James Twining (himself a scion of the Twining tea dynasty) is already hard at work on the second Tom Kirk novel and musing over plot points in the third and fifth. Freshman arrogance? Maybe, but as the pages turn, one almost can hear the grunts of a franchise being born and the sound of actors speed dialing their agents, demanding a reading. Devotees of "The Da Vinci Code" will appreciate the quest that drives Kirk, a square-jawed, rogue CIA operative turned Ninja art thief, back into the service of Uncle Sam.
Five gold coins known as double eagles have disappeared from the impenetrable Fort Knox - one turning up in the belly of a murdered Italian priest. At first, the feds think Kirk pulled off the improbable heist and enlist FBI agent Jennifer Browne to retrieve Kirk and the currency. But Browne isn't just another mocha-skinned, "strikingly beautiful in that effortless, double-take way some women are" civil servant. She's also brainy and intuitive and soon discovers that she and Kirk are pawns in a high-stakes, high-finance game of art-world espionage that takes them to the rooftops of Paris and the sewers of Amsterdam.
Twining's descriptions of smoky European bistros and red-light flophouses feel lived in, redolent with the odor of hashish and stained sheets:
"The bed sagged in the middle like an abandoned trampoline, its bruised white headboard and pockmarked melamine side cabinets screwed to the wall. A Gideon Bible in the left-hand drawer had several pages torn out, the few black crumbs trapped between the Gospels of Mark and Luke and the heady smell of the remaining pages suggesting that they had been smoked one night out of desperation for a cigarette paper."
The spot-on scene setting is a welcome change for readers disappointed by the dry, tourist-eye-view of Italy served up by John Grisham in "The Broker" this year. Twining knits fact into fiction well, side-stepping the stiffness that marred Grisham's spy novel and the preachiness that pervades Dan Brown's "Da Vinci."
For his plot, Twining plumbed a largely forgotten episode in American history. In 1933, FDR sought to stabilize markets with an executive order making it illegal for people to own gold and banks from paying it out - including 450,000 coins cast by the Philadelphia Mint that year. The $20 gold pieces engraved with the likeness of a soaring eagle were never released but melted down. A handful survived, taking on a graillike quality in the numismatic world.
In 2002, a double eagle sold at Sotheby's for $8 million, the most ever paid publicly for a coin. Last month, 10 double eagle coins that disappeared 70 years ago mysteriously resurfaced. Federal agents fell on them as though they were grenades. They are now back in Fort Knox. Twining's publicist at Harper Collins should send the Secret Service a fruit basket.
If such weird good fortune continues to smile upon Twining, look for Halle Berry to play FBI agent Browne. And Kirk? Twining favors Christian Bale, although his wife is just sick that Tom Cruise is a getting a little long in the tooth to dangle from a ceiling, inches above a well-alarmed, Faberge egg."
Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine (Cleveland, OH) - September 2005
"On April 5, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt claiming a national emergency issued Executive Order 6102. With this declaration, FDR directed citizens to hand in their horde of gold whether it is be coin, bullion or certificates to the Federal reserve system by 1 May or face criminal charges. The gold coins including the $20.00 Double Eagle were melted down with five stored as a memento locked way in Fort Knox.
Seventy years later, a gold coin surfaced in the throat of a mutilated priest found floating in the Seine in Paris. Someone broke into Fort Knox and stole the coin. FBI Agent Jennifer Browne sees the gold coin caper as a chance to redeem a career that recently took a bad blow due to an error in judgment on her part. She assumes former CIA Agent and retired jewel thief Tom Kirk, who has the requisite skills needed to successfully break into the highly guarded installation and steal the coin. That is until she meets him in England. He wants to clear his name and she her reputation so they team up.
This is a terrific thriller that uses the true story of the Double Eagle as background enabling the exhilarating action-packed story line to stay anchored in reality. The story line is fast-paced as readers accompany the protagonists and others as the adventure moves back and forth between several American locations, Paris, London, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Readers will appreciate the anti-heroic Tom and commiserate with beleaguered Jennifer who is not sure she should trust her rascally companion, but has no other choice.
James Twining provides a fabulous thriller that never allows the audience a chance to catch their breath."
Harriet Klausner (voted the number one reader in the USA by BOOK Magazine) - Review also featured in Midwest Book Review
"THE DOUBLE EAGLE just may be the fun book of the year. Debut novelist James Twining, an extremely successful entrepreneur in his own right, has crafted an exciting, suspenseful and fast-paced novel about...coins.
The Double Eagle is a $20 gold piece that was minted until 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt recalled all U.S. gold and bullion, including gold coins. All were melted down, except for one that fell into private hands and five that were preserved at Fort Knox. Some 70 years later, however, a defrocked priest is murdered in Paris. When his mutilated body is found, one of the Double Eagle coins is lodged in his throat. Worse, it is discovered that the coins supposedly held safely and securely in Fort Knox are missing.
Suspicion is immediately cast upon Tom Kirk, a disgraced CIA agent who has been keeping himself in Rolexes by doing work-for-hire as an international jewel thief. Jennifer Browne, an FBI agent trying to rehabilitate her career, is dispatched to retrieve the missing coins from Kirk in exchange for a de facto pardon. The problem, however, is that Kirk has absolutely no idea what she's talking about. Worse, Browne and Kirk are both being double-crossed. They become uneasy and somewhat untrusting allies as they begin an international chase for the coins --- even as they themselves are pursued.
If THE DOUBLE EAGLE has a flaw, it's that Kirk is relatively boring compared to the villains of this piece. The bad guys are always more intriguing, of course, but Twining does an excellent job here of creating his blackhearts out of whole cloth. Still, Kirk remains an interesting enough character, and since a second novel featuring the ex-CIA agent is already in the works, Twining undoubtedly will have not only plenty of room to further develop his stellar protagonist but also more than enough readers to watch him grow. Recommended."
Bookreporter.com - September 2005
"The Double Eagle is book that, frankly, surprised me. James Twining has managed to craft a very entertaining book that balances Bond-esque adventure with several well developed characters. While the first 10% of the book seems to wander a bit as the author finds his way, the remaining 90% is a well crafted story that keeps the reader entertained and engaged.
The Double Eagle takes us on the hunt for fantastically rare gold $20 coins, survivors of FDR's effort to take the United States off of the gold standard and rescue the country from the Great Depression. Originally stored at Fort Knox, the coins have disappeared with the only clue as to their whereabouts a dead de-frocked priest in Amsterdam.
The unlikely team sent to track them down is Tom Kirk, an ex-CIA agent turned jewel thief, and Jennifer Browne, an FBI agent seeking redemption for killing her partner in a case of mistaken identity. The tension between them is well balanced and does not distract from the story. The two form a likeable pair, the reader cheering them along in pursuit of the prize.
From Kentucky to Istanbul, the story is a wild ride that takes several unexpected turns. The author manages to keep the story satisfyingly complex without crossing over into the absurd or bogging down into overly confusing story layers ...
... If you like James Bond style, Dirk Pitt adventures and Hercule Poirot mysteries, you'll enjoy The Double Eagle. The story flows quickly, has plenty of twists and turns, and wraps up with a fulfilling conclusion."
Fresh Fiction - August 2005
"The Double Eagle is a $20 gold piece that was minted in 1933, but then all gold coins were recalled by FDR for meltdown to alleviate a perceived emergency in the American monetary system. Six of the coins escaped meltdown. One of them was discovered during an autopsy in the throat of a murdered priest. The others are supposed to be in Fort Knox. FBI agent Jennifer Brown discovers that they have been stolen. Jennifer is trying to work her way back into the good graces of the FBI after accidentally killing a fellow agent. Her prime suspect in the coin heist is Tom Kirk, a rogue ex-CIA agent who, after a very profitable career as an international jewel thief, is attempting to go legit. His final job is about to catch up with him because of an eyelash that he inadvertently left at the scene.
Jennifer goes to London with the gold coin to offer Tom immunity for the return of the other five gold coins, or to help recover them. Instead of recovering the others, Jennifer manages to get the one in her possession stolen too. Tom and Jennifer follow leads from London to Paris to Amsterdam to Istanbul in an international chase that leaves you breathless. The geographical detail is realistic and transports you to these exotic cities. There is violence and danger enough to please the most dedicated thriller fan. Tom Kirk is supposed to be the main character, but quite honestly, he takes a back seat to Agent Jennifer Brown. His personality pales next to hers.
James Twining, an English entrepreneur, writes with dash and gusto, taking us to a whole new level in an international thriller. His characters, and especially the bad guys, are colorful, flamboyant and unpredictable. And, of course, there is a vast conspiracy brewing in his multilevel plot. Well done, Mr. Twining.
I couldn't put this book down. There is a second Tom Kirk novel in the works...I hope Jennifer is in it too...but whether she is or not, I am looking forward to the further adventures of this jewel thief extraordinaire."
Myshelf.com - September 2005
"Making his thriller debut after a career as a London entrepreneur, Twining consciously deals in clichÃ©s: 007-ish bad guys, contrived plot mechanisms and Perils of Paulineâ€“style hairsbreadth escapes. He has a nice feel for them.
Tom Kirk is a rogue ex-CIA operative who, after a profitable career as an international jewel thief, is attempting to go legit; Jennifer Browne is a foxy FBI special agent trying to work her way back into the good graces of the service after accidentally killing a fellow agent.
When a 1933 $20 Double Eagle gold coin turns up in the belly of a dead ex-priestâ€“turned-fenceâ€”the rest of the run had officially been listed as destroyedâ€”Jennifer discovers that five other "unofficial" specimens are missing from Fort Knox.
Meanwhile, Kirk's final heist, of a priceless FabergÃ© egg, is catching up with him, and the FBI dispatches Jennifer to London with the gold coin to offer Kirk a deal of immunity if he will help recover the missing coins.
The mismatched pair manage to have the remaining coin stolen from them; its trail then leads from London to Paris, Amsterdam and Istanbul ... this is an auspicious beginning for a fledgling series."
Publishers Weekly - July 2005
"At the center of this debut novel by former investment banker Twining is the most expensive gold coin ever sold, the 1933 Double Eagle. Described as the "Holy Grail" of numismatics (the study or collecting of coins), this rare treasure has been embroiled in intrigue and controversy since a handful of Double Eagles escaped melting when FDR recalled all gold currency and bullion.
Twining's obvious research pays off as we are treated to a compelling fusion of real historical events and modern thrills. His references to notable art and artifacts, especially pieces lost to art thieves, lend an air of veracity to the entire novel.
When a Double Eagle coin believed to be one of five stolen from Fort Knox is recovered from the body of a slain priest, CIA operative turned art thief Tom Kirk and FBI agent Jennifer Browne are thrown together to recover the coins. Neither can afford to trust the otherâ€”and neither can afford to fail.
Kirk, an action hero as adroit and charismatic as Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt, will appear in a series of books planned by Twining."
Library Journal Review - September 2005
British and Irish reviews of The Double Eagle
"Bigtime heist artist Tom Kirk is trying to go straight when he's blackmailed into working for the FBI who are embarassed that Fort Knox has been breached and a handful of valuable gold coins stolen. Was Tom the thief, or is someone trying to fit him up?
Moving fast from the US to Europe and beyond, through cross and double-cross, this would make the perfect Tom Cruise movie, and it's not a bad thriller into the bargain!"
The Independent On Sunday - February 2005
"There are good first novels, and there are outstanding first novels. THE DOUBLE EAGLE falls in to the latter category.
James Twining is a remarkable author with a golden touch. For pace and excitement, it's hard to imagine a better debut novel than THE DOUBLE EAGLE, which takes us from London - Paris - Istanbul - and the US.
Tom Kirk - what a name for a hero! - is an international jewel thief without peer, virtually infallible, until he leaves a hair at the scene of a crime he hoped would be his last. In steps the FBI - they've had dealings with Kirk before, and they're on his trail, believing he could be involved in a daring heist that sees some of the worlds' most valuable coins, the legendary "Double Eagles" snatched from Fort Knox.
Jennifer Browne, an FBI agent tasked with tracking down the whereabouts of the coins, teams up with Kirk and together they unravel a plot with far-reaching consequences and colourful but ruthless villains.
Billed as a cross between THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and JAMES BOND, I'd happily take Tom Kirk any time. It's edge-of-the-seat stuff, perfectly paced and packed with thrills right to the finish, and a savage twist that caught me totally unawares!
James has his own terrific website www.jamestwining.com on which there is plenty to distract you, including historical background information, reviews of the book (it was first published in hardback earlier this year) and biographical information about a new author who is destined to make it big in the cutthroat publishing world of the 21st century.
Fascinating and well-researched, THE DOUBLE EAGLE is a fantastically good read, and you'll be pleased to hear that James' second Tom Kirk novel appears in the second half of 2006."
Gateway Monthly - October 2005
"First-rate gung-ho, fast-paced, easy-read adventure set on the international stage and involving the theft and recovery of some very rare coins. With a mass of twists, false trails, coincidences and tension, it fair belts along â€“ a very accomplished debut"
Love Reading - November 2005
"The premise of this trenchant and galvanic thriller is novel, and the adroitly written prose that Twining clothes his narrative in makes for a vigorous reading experience.
Art thief Tom Kirk is about to retire. Scaling tall buildings and stealing priceless works of art is no longer the way he wants to spend his life. But there are those that don't intend to let him go, and when a gold coin turns up in the body of a murdered priest, the scene is set for a global treasure hunt. The coin is the fabled Double Eagle, a priceless artefact that should never have left the mint and now that it's back in circulation the FBI want it at any cost.
The story of the Double Eagle coin itself is a remarkable one. There are only three in existence, and one was sold three years ago for almost $8 million. The Double Eagle was minted in 1933 but never went into circulation.
At the heart of Twining's novel, we're into Dan Brown territory, and there's a solid chance that Twining will be able to tap into that lucrative market. In fact, his writing is considerably more impressive. But is that a disadvantage?"
Barry Forshaw, CrimeTime - February 2005
"James Twiningâ€™s debut novel, The Double Eagle is an exciting thriller which spans various exotic locations including the USA, London, Paris and Istanbul to name a few. A modern day version of The Thomas Crown Affair, the historical background of this novel revolves around a little bit of rarely known history, that of the 1933 American Double Eagle. The Double Eagle being a $20 coin that only the Smithsonian Museum is supposed to have.
Tom Kirk, who is most definitely one of the best anti-heroes that I have read in a long time, is a retired art thief and former CIA recruit. Suspected of having broken into Fort Knox he sets out to clear his name with the aid of rookie FBI Agent Jennifer Browne who has her own reasons for helping him. Tom Kirk is reminiscent of one of those characters that no doubt could easily be found in a boyâ€™s adventure story; Raffles and Simon Templar effortlessly come to mind.
This is an old-fashioned well-written thriller about a treasure hunt but with a twist. Do not for once think that this is a run of the mill thriller that criss-crosses the Atlantic with relative ease. It is not. It is an intriguing story, all the more so because this is the second novel within the last twenty-four months that has had the Double Eagle as the background. The fact that the Double Eagle is true adds a sense of history to the storyline. It is also enthralling, gritty, and mesmerising and an atmospheric page-turner.
Brilliantly written with numerous double crosses taking place, James Twining has created a delightful and thought-provoking protagonist. Along with deceit, shattered promises, and murder all going hand in hand The Double Eagle is certainly a pacy novel.
For a debut novel The Double Eagle is certainly on the right track and it will be interesting to see where Kirkâ€™s adventures will take him next. I would be very much surprised if this novel and the subsequent ones do not catch the eye of some canny Hollywood director eventually."
Ayo Onatade - ShotsMag - February 2005
"Tom Kirk, an international art thief with the skills to match his considerable reputation, is about to retire, but first comes one last job ... the theft of a FabergÃ© Egg from a New York office building.
However, little does Tom know that the discovery of a murdered priest in Paris, along with an incredibly rare Double Eagle coin - minted by the US Treasury in 1933 - will turn his world upside down and leave his plans for a quiet retirement in tatters. For it is a coin that should not exist ... and it threatens the very heart of the US government.
Before he knows it, Tom has FBI agent Jennifer Browne - young, ambitious and desperate for a second chance at a failing career - hot on his trail, with mysterious and dangerous crime kingpin Cassius shadowing his every move. This time, Tom will need all his carefully honed skills to escape with his most treasured possession ... his life.
The Double Eagle is a carefully constructed tale straight out of the Dan Brown mould of thriller writing, which evokes memories of James Bond and The Thomas Crown Affair. Indeed, while reading this intriguing plot, with more twists and turns than an Alpine slalom course, it was difficult to imagine Tom Kirk as looking like anyone other than Pierce Brosnan.
A well-researched work of fiction which trundles along at a fair pace, James Twining's first novel is an enjoyable read. However, with endless possibilities connected to the world of international art theft, I get the feeling that Tom Kirk's cozy retirement to the world of antiques dealing may not last long."
Sunday Sun, February 2005
"Relaxation comes easy when you are removed from the cares of the world by a good read. Note, not a good book â€” there is a difference. A good book is both readable, memorable and instructive in some shape or form. A good read has only to absorb you for the moment.
The Double Eagle falls into the first category. It is by a new writer, James Twining, and it falls neatly into the noble villain genre. Tom Kirk is an art thief who wants to retire. At one time he was a CIA agent, but the agency let him down and after faking his death he went into business on his own, using the skills he had been taught for the purposes of industrial espionage to steal paintings, jewellery etc.
We meet Tom as he is stealing a FabergÃ© egg from a safe in a New York apartment. He gets away with it, of course, but makes one small mistake. The same night, in Paris, a priest is murdered on the banks of the Seine. A rare coin, the Double Eagle of the title, is found in his stomach at autopsy. This coin, dated 1933, is one of only three such coins minted and it has been stolen from Fort Knox. The FBI wants it back at any cost.
Now the FBI and the CIA donâ€™t get on very well together ... A beautiful FBI agent with a flawed pedigree is put on the case. Itâ€™s her chance to redeem herself after a terrible mistake blighted her career a few years before. Tom Kirk is a handsome man. They must work together ... guess what happens.
In fairness, James Twining doesnâ€™t throw them into bed together within a chapter of their meeting, and even when he does he draws a discreet veil over them, so discreet that you could give this book to your Agatha Christie-loving granny without a blush.
Itâ€™s written in that fast-cutting style that looks as though it already sees itself as a screenplay, and the action moves from Paris to London to New York to Amsterdam to Istanbul without drawing breath. If you like James Bond (and, from another era, Modesty Blaise) youâ€™ll like this. Thereâ€™s another Tom Kirk adventure already in the pipeline, and Iâ€™d be happy to while away a few hours on a plane with it."
Tuam Herald - March 2005
"FBI agent Jennifer Browne is dispatched to Europe to try to track down notorious art thief Tom Kirk, who is suspected of a daring heist at Fort Knox in which fabled coins, including the 1933 Double Eagle, were stolen. For Browne, a young agent, this is a must-crack case to resurrect her already damaged career.
And the suspicion couldn't come at a worse time for Kirk, a former agent now on the run, who is planning his retirement from criminality. However, in another twist to the case, Kirk's 'Uncle Harry' is murdered and he is framed for the heinous act. This urge to avenge his friend's death, and an offer to clear his record, spurs him on to co-operate with Browne. Meanwhile, on foot of a threat on his partner-in-crime's life, from arch-criminal Cassius, Kirk carries out one last robbery - and discovers that all is not what it seems.
At first glance, The Double Eagle appears to be just another run-of-the-mill trans-Atlantic FBI crime novel, and the first 50 or so pages of the book do nothing to dispel this impression. However, get past this and Twining really seems to get into the story, with its intricate, twisting and turning plot line, using nice turns of phrase.
'The Double Eagle' is James Twining's first novel and he is already working on the second Kirk adventure. This book does enough to provoke an interest in the further exploits of Tom Kirk."
RTE - April 2005
"Opening with a murder, moving swiftly through a heist by a superslick art thief, this movie-paced thriller moves on to enrol a criminal mastermind and a tasty FBI agent, all linked to an unsolved job. Taking in half the planet on its travels, The Double Eagle will leave you breathless but never dizzy. Solid debut work."
Lad's Mag - February 2005
"...The book is an international thriller in the Robert Ludlum mode, with hints of The Da Vinci Code, as Twining weaves fact and fiction into the real story of the Double Eagle..."
Financial News, February 2005
"The Double Eagle is a sophisticated crime caper which has shades of James Bond and The Thomas Crown Affair.
A priest is murdered in Paris and his mutilated body is dumped into the Seine. The autopsy reveals the secret of a 70-year-old robbery which he has taken with him to his grave. Jennifer Browne, a young FBI agent, is assigned to the case and her investigation uncovers a daring heist from Fort Knox of an extremely valuable Double Eagle coin.
The prime suspect is Tom Kirk, the world's greatest art thief who, caught between his desire to finally get out of the game and his partner's insistence that he complete one last job for the criminal mastermind Cassius, races to clear his name and find the real thieves of the Double Eagle.
Edge of your seat stuff."
The York Evening Press, February 2002
"He's a brilliant young art thief who has so far managed the impossible - stealing well guarded art treasures with no-one near to catching him. She's an ambitious FBI agent who loused up one job and is determined not to make another mistake. They end up involved in murder and the theft of a priceless Double Eagle coin - seemingly chasing the same solution.
In his debut novel James Twining has come up with a tantalising premise, a thief turned catcher in pursuit of a treasure he may or may not be able to resist. Tom Kirk is a terrific new hero, sharp, resourceful and edgy. Will he or won't he turn out to be on the side of the good guys? If we knew who they were.
Fast-paced, inventive but sufficiently credible, this is a thriller peopled by characters who come vividly to life. The only good thing about finishing the Double Eagle is knowing that James is already beavering away on a second Tom Kirk adventure."
Huddersfield Daily Examiner, February 2005
" Retirement is next on the agenda for art thief Tom Kirk who wants to escape from a life of scaling tall buildings and purloining priceless treasures, but there is always one last job to be done.
In Kirk's case he does not really have much choice, for the heat is on when a fabulous gold coin turns up in the body of a murdered priest and a global treasure hunt ensues. As the coin is a rare Double Eagle which should never have left the US Mint - there are only three Double Eagles in existence - the FBI would like it back pronto, if not sooner.
This is a high tempo crime caper with the emphasis more on style and stealth than mayhem and murder and the hero/villain has a very beguiling air about him."
The Northern Echo, February 2005
"For FBI agent Jennifer Browne, this is a second opportunity to make her name. She's determined to make up for one fatal error of judgement three years before.
The centre of the story is the Double Eagle, a priceless gold coin that should never have left the mint. The US government has been minting gold coins since the mid-1790s and twenty dollar coins, or Double Eagles, since the 1849 Gold Rush. There's a theft and Ms Browne is assigned to the case. Her investigation uncovers a daring robbery from Fort Knox.
The prime suspect is a guy called Tom Kirk, a young art thief. Tom, however, is trying to turn over a new leaf, but is persuaded to do one last job for the criminal mastermind Cassius. He tries to clear his name and the journey takes him all over Europe, including London, Paris, Amsterdam and Istanbul."
Cork Evening Echo, February 2005
"The Double Eagle is the first novel by James Twining - it's a great fictional debut.
Art thief Tom Kirk is about to retire. Scaling tall buildings and stealing priceless works of art is no longer the way he wants to spend his life. But there are those that don't intend to let him go, and when a gold coin turns up in the body of a murdered priest, the scene is set for a global treasure hunt.
The coin is the fabled Double Eagle, a priceless artefact that should never have left the mint, and now that it's back in circulation, the FBI want it at any cost.
There are only three Double Eagles in existence, and one was sold three years ago for $8m! The Double Eagle was minted in 1933 but never went into circulation."
Bolton Evening News, February 2005
" This international thriller set in the art world is a stunning debut novel from a man who was named one of â€˜The Best of Young British Entrepreneursâ€™ â€“ just think Thomas Crown meets 007!"
Lovereading.co.uk, February 2005
Australian / NZ reviews of The Double Eagle
"There's nothing like a good old-fashioned treasure hunt as the basis for a novel. If the treasure you describe actually happens to exists, then so much the better.
First time novelist Twining has focussed on a little known piece of numismatic history - the 1933 American Double Eagle - a $20 coin that wasn't supposed to exist outside of the Smithsonian Museum. According to history, all copies of the coin were thought destroyed in 1937, until a few popped up at auction houses ten years later. The American secret service tracked down all extant coins gradually, except one that was owned by King Farouk of Egypt. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, that coin vanished in the grand tradition of the Amber Room and other famous treasures...
Enter our antihero Tom Kirk - retired art thief and former CIA recruit, who is suspected of having broken into Fort Knox and stolen something from the US Government. With the help of a rookie FBI Agent, Kirk sets out to clear his name, find the treasure and foil the evil criminal Cassius.
It's all boys own adventure stuff in the grand tradition of yesteryear - with an attractive female and exotic locations thrown in for good measure. The story is rather intriguing - all the more because it's based on fact - and is the first in a series of Tom Kirk adventures planned by the author."
ABC Wide Bay Queensland - March 2005