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Darkest Hour (Jack Tanner 2) [Hardcover]

James Holland
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Jun 2009 Jack Tanner 2
May 1940. Sergeant Jack Tanner has been posted to a training company on the south-east coast of England. But all is not well in the camp. The mysterious death of two Polish refugees leads Tanner to believe there has been foul play. When he and his corporal, Stan Sykes, are nearly killed, Tanner finds his suspicions directed at an old comrade from his early days in the army. As the Germans launch their Blitzkrieg in Europe, training is abandoned and the entire company are sent to join the battle to stop Hitler’s drive across the Low Countries. Almost immediately, they are thrust into the thick of the action and cut off from the rest of the battalion.Trapped behind the enemy advance, Tanner must use all his ingenuity to get his men back to Allied lines. Soon enmeshed in the long withdrawal to the French coast, Tanner, Sykes and his new platoon commander, Lieutenant John Peploe, find themselves pitted against not only the die-hard Nazis of the SS ‘Death’s Head’ Division but also the great panzer commander himself, General Rommel. Even then, in the chaos of retreat, Tanner must deal with the corrosive treachery bubbling within the company’s ranks – and an enemy more deadly than the Germans – if he and his men are to have any hope of surviving the mayhem of Dunkirk . . .

Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; First Edition edition (4 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593058364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593058367
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 600,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Holland was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and studied history at Durham University. A member of the British Commission for Military History and the Guild of Battlefield Guides, he also regularly contributes reviews and articles in national newspapers and magazines and appears on national radio. His many books include Fortress Malta, Italy's Sorrow, The Battle of Britain and his fictional WW2 series featuring Sergeant Jack Tanner.

His interviews with veterans of the Second World War are available at the Imperial War Museum and are also archived on www.secondworldwarforum.com. He lives near Salisbury with his wife, son and daughter.

Product Description


"Holland is a superb historian who knows his stuff, and his descriptions of the action are terrific." --"Daily Telegraph""Old-fashioned, testosterone-fuelled escapism and Tanner is a chiselled protagonist straight out of the pages of the old Commando comics.... Destined to be a series that will run and run." --"Mail on Sunday""From the Trade Paperback edition."

Book Description

The second novel in the highly commercial series featuring Sergeant Jack Tanner.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest Hour 4 Sep 2009
James Holland is a fantastic writer of action WW2 adventure. In this book, he continues Tanner's struggle to win the war both at home and abroad. The book does not disappoint fans and I eagerly await the next installment of the likeable central characters. Will satisfy the adventure reader as well as the lovers of Commando comics. Thumbs up from me!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Darkest Hour' by James Hollamd 17 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great read for those interested in the history of WWII and adventure story lovers alike. Historically accurate, right down to the problems experienced by British soldiers with their equipment and the language used of the day.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good novel on Dunkirk. 6 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thought the Odin Mission was a 'cracking' book and Segeant Jack Tanner is our 20th century Richard Sharpe. The second book follows on and cover the BEF in France and the subsequent retreat to Dunkirk. I liked Hollands' view of the French and he explained the almost impossible situation Gort found himself in. We still know very little about Tanner and I think after Norway he would have had a DCM next to his Military Medal (but perhaps this will happen in book three, with a bar to his DCM for France and the evacuation?). Tanner is the right material for promotion, a field commission after Dunkirk certainly and as a junior officer he could certainly maintain his adventures with Sykes as his Sergeant? I've grown to like Tanner very much and with all heroes I want him to do well in his profession.
The beginning of the book dragged a bit, but the descriptions of the battles was especially good, the last twenty pages the best part of all. I very much look forward to the next book in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sergeant Jack Tanner returns in the second of James Holland's enjoyable series. Jack Tanner has to cope with holding the Jerries at bay on the approaches to Dunkirk while also dealing with some less than savory characters within the BEF who are upto no good. The plot races along thick and fast as do the bullets and shrapnel.

Although a work of fiction, the framework of the story is based on fact, and the more important persons were real and had their characters researched for inclusion. Also the area of operations of the BEF and the individual units are recreated according to historical records as explained by the author at the end of the book.

Having read a lot of Simon Scarrow "Eagle" series and Bernard Cornwell books I find storyline is similar to the books by these authors (as mentioned already by others) though set during WW2. And yes - Commando, Battle and Victor stories also. A great read!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get into it 27 Aug 2011
By Mr. Ross Maynard VINE VOICE
I like the Sharpe books and I'm interested in World War II, so this book, described on the cover as "Sharpe meets the blitz years", would seem right up my street. Unfortunately I struggled, and ultimately failed, to get into it. There are two main problems with the book. Firstly the dialogue is clunky and unnatural and kept distracting me. More serious, however, is the background story of the wicked Sergeant Major which moves from the vaguely far-fetched to the frankly preposterous as the body count mounts. The story is so unbelievable that I just couldn't take the book seriously. That's a shame because the history is interesting and the battle scenes are very well done. The author takes the trouble to build up some satisfyingly nasty Nazi's but then does nothing with them - there is no great showdown - instead we flap around with the ridiculous storyline about the mad Sergeant Major which, in the end, just fizzles out. I might try another in the series just to see, but I'm not sure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boys Own Adventures 28 Jun 2011
This is the classic war story brought to the readers of today, for some reason many readers are put off going and picking up some of the classic war stories and thrillers by great writers like Mclean and Higgins, and there has been a sad lacking in the market of new writers until recently.

James Holland brings a classic squaddie hero to the fore, and thrusts him into dark and dangerous situations and brings the war to life in all its dark gory glory, War should be a distasteful tale it should be grim and it should also be heroic and full of adventure, and these books give you all that, for some its a little too close and a little to real given that its still in living memory for so many and so many releatives, but that should not mean we lose the pride we can gain from tales, even fictional ones, because i hope they lead readers to go read the true stories.

This latest offering by Holland is great fun to read, the same paced plot, well rounded characters and well thought out plot.

well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining WW2 action 4 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The return of Sergeant Jack Tanner in the second of author James Holland's Tanner series. Fresh from his exploits in Norway, Tanner is now sent to France and ends up fighting his way back to the Dunkirk beaches in the retreat of the BEF. Tanner has a lot to cope with, Nazis, incompetent officers and skulduggery within his own forces.....

Other reviewers have remarked that this is like a WW2 Richard Sharpe and the style is very much like Bernard Cornwall's, a fast moving story set within an accurate historical background. A historian that knows how to write fiction. And it is a good as the Sharpe stories, Tanner is a strong central character and Holland's story has the perfect balance of character, pace and history.

Excellent stuff.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great WW2 Book
Enjoyed the first book, really like the second one. Just Started the third. I would really recommend this, If you like WW2 Stories this should be up your street.
Published 1 month ago by Phillip
5.0 out of 5 stars Must for all 40 something men!
Great read. Great series. Waiting with anticipation for the next book in the series, as every word just takes a little deeper into the war being fought by Tanner and his band of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gary Vance
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
If you like a good read about the Second World War these stories by James holland are brilliant , more of the same please james.
Published 3 months ago by peter butcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkest Hour
An excellent book just can't wait for more books in the Jack Tanner series. I'm currently half way through No4 and have already downloaded No 5
Published 9 months ago by Rocky
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent gift for Fathers day
Bought as a gift for my dad, who is a big fan of this genre of fiction, he greatly enjoyed the book, so I bought him the rest of the series.
Published 10 months ago by H. Lofthouse
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD SERVICE
Published 10 months ago by schofied
5.0 out of 5 stars A great war adventure, fast asction ,working class man. very good read
Jack Tanner is a man who has been in the army for 8years a true wrking class hero the best
Published 11 months ago by colin righini
5.0 out of 5 stars men need real heros
In a world that seems to think hero's are karaoke singers on x factor thank g there's Jack tanner a hero that does the right thing in terrible situations, takes on the evil Nazi... Read more
Published 11 months ago by JimmyG
3.0 out of 5 stars Why did I buy two books from this series?
Well, buying good second hand is actually quite cheap - and you get a book - not an electronic Kindle download which you can't do anything with - eg light a fire - pass on to... Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. Stowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkest Hour
Great book filled with history and dark gripping back stories. Well written leaving you wanting the sub characters and the main character to pull through.
Published 15 months ago by Smally
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