Reviews of The Gilded Seal

“This engaging thriller is as tightly plotted as the heist itself, as it weaves into the murkey worlds of forgery and art crime.”

Financial Times – November 2007

“I had to finish it. This writer … knows how to grip”

Literary Review – October 2007

“James Twining is fast becoming a shining star in the thriller-writing firmament and justly so. Using the clever conceit of basing his stories on real art world cases, he weaves brilliantly plotted, intelligent, believable and highly literate stories from the threads. In a genre somewhat dominated by American authors he deserves to take his rightful place on the world stage and this could be the major breakthrough book that does it. Move over Dan Brown!

All the elements of a truly great thriller are here a brilliant central premise, strong main characters, believable villains, fabulous and interesting locations, a dash of romance and a very decent dose of death and mayhem. Tom Kirk is also a more confident and likeable hero in this third outing. His connection with and understanding of the underworld characters that he encounters, and a strong sense of natural justice, often belie his putative role as a ‘good guy’. Kirk is tortured by his past and still uncertain quite where he fits in. Both perfect ingredients for a classic hero.

The story moves along at a cracking pace and utilising the classic style of the genre manages to mix parallel storylines into a delightful cocktail of cliffhangers, twists and turns. It’s genuine page-turning stuff. However, what makes this thriller stand out from the crowd, aside from the stroke-of-genius link with one of the world’s most famous art icons, is its truly outstanding use of language. The writing is often breathtaking. Whole passages and key phrases literally sing out. The author’s intelligence and empathy for his characters make this a genre-busting novel that deserves to rate serious literary merit.

Buy it, read it and you’ll love it. Guaranteed”

Crimesquad – November (Book of the Month)

“The most audacious heist in history is about to commence, and Tom Kirk is right in the middle of it! Whilst investigating the theft of a stolen Da Vinci, reformed art thief Tom Kirk is confronted with the horrifying sight of a cat nailed to the wall where the painting once stood. He recognises the sign as a greeting from his old enemy Milo, and then finds out that a long time friend in Seville has been murdered.

Meanwhile, in New York, FBI agent Jennifer Browne has been asked to investigate a possible art fraud. The trail leads to an Iranian art dealer who denies all knowledge, but when a lawyer who he had dealings with is murdered, Jennifer knows she has stumbled across something very sinister. Are the reappearance of Milo, the murder of Tom’s friend and the stolen Da Vinci connected? Are Tom and Jennifer’s paths destined to cross again as they descend into a maelstrom of deadly betrayal?

Only James Twining could get away with this – a Mona Lisa heist! James’s knowledge of the art world and local history (in this case the Paris catacombs) is exemplary and assists in the credibility of the plot. Deservedly named as one of the top six thriller writers in the UK, James goes from strength to strength. Tom Kirk is a real winner of a character, and the books just get better and better.

A real pleasure to read, 10/10 for enjoyment – absolutely first class entertainment. I’d list him in my top four favourite modern authors without hesitation.”

Gateway Monthly – October 2007 (Book of the Month)

“The plod should be twitching at Twining’s latest, about a £100 million da Vinci theft. If you follow the news you’ll soon see why. Hyper dapper art-blagger Tom Kirk returns to hunt down the painting, quickly finding himself in the middle of an even bigger mystery. Glamour is supplied to the intricate, interwining ploys by a sexy FBI agent, Jennifer Browne. As the corpses pile up, the pair’s destinies merge with Paris and Napoleonic secrets that need unearthing.

Ripping stuff.”

Daily Sport – October 2007