Book Jacket


rank  Editors Pick
word count 12668
date submitted 07.01.2010
date updated 02.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
classification: universal

How to Steal a Lion

Kirk Haggerty

Cool assignment for a journalist: Steal a lion statue in the middle of the Oktoberfest for a million euros. Do you accept?


Daniel is a journalism student at the University in Munich and is desperate for work. Against his better judgment he accepts a job from a mysterious investor, Herr Wolff, to do a simple task to build trust. Afterwards, Herr Wolff asks him to undertake a sensational publicity stunt: steal the Dompteur lion from the top of its thirty seven metre tower during the Oktoberfest for a reward of one million euros.

For the next few days, Daniel and three friends prepare for the most unusual and difficult feat of their lives, and the most audacious the city has ever seen - snatch a one-ton, four-metre high mechanical beast and replace it with a rubber dummy. But why is Wolff willing to pay so much, and what happens if Daniel and his friends get caught?

For Daniel it’s not just the money that motivates him. It’s the opportunity to write the story of a lifetime regardless of the outcome.

A good college romp and caper story about friendship, teamwork and a second chance in life.

PS: Now available on Amazon Paperback and Kindle

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beer, caper, comedy, coming of age, crane truck, crime, fun, germany, heist, journalism, lion, munich, nazi gold, oktoberfest, prank, reporters, statu...

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HarperCollins Wrote

The central motif of ‘How to Steal a Lion’ is a dangerous publicity stunt - the stealing of a giant mechanical lion from a podium at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Daniel Pries, a student journalist, is chosen by the mysterious Herr Wolff to plan and execute the heist. If he is successful he will be rewarded €1,000,000. But beneath the proposal lie mysteries that shadow the narrative: what does Herr Wolff want with this giant metal lion? And why did he pick Daniel?

This is a fast-paced novel, and exciting from the outset. One can easily see how this could translate into a Hollywood screenplay. I am happy to say that this book does, however, go deeper than that, particularly in the flashbacks to Herr Wolff’s past. These sections are well-written, and offer respite from the surrounding high-octane storyline, giving the reader a chance to catch their breath and gain some understanding of the background to present-day events. They also help to smudge the lines between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ which are otherwise quite clearly drawn in this text: e.g. Dominique’s boss Karl Lust is the source of trouble, and Dominique is the regretful, matured accomplice.

There is something almost 'comic-bookesque' about 'How to Steal a Lion'. Nothing is wrong with that when it is cultivated through strong characterisation, themes of good and bad, and a fast-paced plot, all of which, this title has. However, you should be wary of allowing this to seep into all aspects of the book. There is quite a lot of 'stereotyping', which is quite outdated. The stereotypes in 'How to Steal a Lion' are often crass and could be found insulting. An example of this is the two Swedes who are depicted as particularly boorish, gym-obsessed, computer literate Neanderthals who “pump chicks on Saturday night” - which would be fine if they weren’t both Swedish, and weren’t the only Swedes in the book.

I also found a few aspects of Lucielle’s character to be unconvincing. She is Italian, yet her name might be more commonly associated with France. Her father was a fascist assassin turned Mafioso, then she married a Mafia boss - it’s slightly incredulous. Be cautious of including too many criminal and political storylines as these require a significant amount of research and factual support, otherwise they can make the plot too far removed from reality.

Language is another footfall. It’s often unclear at present where people are speaking English, German, or another mother tongue, which can remove the reader from the immediacy of the story. The tone of language also changes dramatically between current day with Daniel and his team and flashbacks to Dominique’s younger days. Understandably, the language used by the university students is much more modern and colloquial. However, I would advise you against dumbing down these characters too much - it appears to be impossible for the young men to have a conversation without numerous beers and frequently passing gas. In the latter half of this submission, the language and themes take a turn for the more vulgar, for example when Mona asks, “…do you two want to gang-bang me?”

This brings me to a more notable issue: who is this novel for? In its current form, I don't feel it has the depth of narrative to work for a wide enough adult audience. The fast-paced Marvel feel could have broadest appeal to an older teenage male audience - to sit in the market between authors such as John Green and Bryan Lee O'Malley (which would certainly be an interesting niche). However, it would need to be cleaned up slightly in themes and language. Furthermore, a focus on making sure that Daniel is relatable to the right audience, will be key, whichever route you decide to go down.

All the same, 'How to Steal a Lion' is a very entertaining read, and the twists and turns keep the reader guessing at every stage. Moreover, your premise is enticing and original. A clearer consideration of market, as well as a tightening up of some of the areas referenced in this review, would help take this submission to a more publishable level.

Confessed Bibliophile wrote 753 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this! A friend of mine introduced me to this site and I have finally decided to become a member after reading your book. I think the fact that this is an entertaining read and has nothing to do with magic or vampires etc is brilliant! I loved the sheer insanity of the heist and the way in which it was carried out was brilliant. Bummer the gold wasn't there though. I like this. Good luck. I could certainly see this adapted to film, and how entertaining it would be!

Brittanee Zaitsoff wrote 890 days ago

This is one of the more enjoyable stories I have read on Authonomy. The pace is quick and the dialogue is great, which keeps me glued to the story waiting to see what else will happen. The elusive and confident qualities of Herr Wolff is brilliant to peak the readers interests. This is especially wonderful when combined with the ignorance and naivety of Daniel. There isn't much background to Daniel's character, but frankly...I don't care. The story is so gripping that i just want to move forward. And in any case, any struggling student can relate to the character. The lack of background allows the reader to place themselves in that character's place and live the endorphin high.

So far I have read up to chapter 3, but I will definately keep going. Thanks for the great read!
Brittanee - Sinful

sandy-1 wrote 960 days ago

Extremely different idea to say the least, but very unique, and in the pitch it sounds like it could be extremely humorous.
Everyone has heard about the pranks that students get up to, and this one is extreme, but I suppose that's what stories are for, to get the imagination flowing.
'How to steal a lion' is a great title. It brings up images of stealing a lion from a circus to me, and who knows what other people imagine when they read the title? The surprise came when I read the pitch, and I was not disappointed.
Its a very funny story, packed with adventures and filled with antics and humour, as college friends team up and steal the enormous statue of a lion.
There are lots of problems they have to face, and you describe their relationships with each other extremely well, while they blunder through their escapade.
Your writing skills are good, and you have no obvious sign of edits.
The dialogue between the characters really works and it allows the reader to picture the scenes brilliantly.
Overall this is an excellently written book, and one I would probably buy myself because of its unusual and funny storyline. I give it 6 stars
Ruby Middleton(Will Ryan)

Thomasina127 wrote 973 days ago

I found the ideas in this book to be unique. A well written story that has enough twists to keep me reading on. The narrative pace is fast moving and I can almost feel that I am there with Daniel and his friends. This is such an unusual story that I could see the author with a spin off film script from the novel. A fast paced movie about the heist could easily be a hit. Well done and thanks for a great read.

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 977 days ago

"How to Steal a Lion" began as my morning read and stayed that way all thoughout breakfast and coffee. The progression from college pranskters to Nazi hunters kept me engrossed, looking for the next endorphin rush with each surprise twist. You have a clipped and clear narrative style that keeps everything in sharp focus and moving at a brisk pace. Your dialogue is to the point and never rambling. Thank you so much for the compelling read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean

Morven James wrote 333 days ago

Hi Kirk, I was intrigued when you said Steam Punk in your message. No I realise that I've read the wrong story. However, I I thought "How to Steal a Lion" was great [up to chapter 3]. So I'm still curious about Steam Punk and will read when I get chance.
Best wishes, Morven
The Buck Stops Here.

My2Cents wrote 437 days ago

All I can say is "wow".

Seringapatam wrote 496 days ago

From College to hunting Nazis. Where did that come from. I should be working but loved this style of writing and couldnt stop reading. Well done.

Sanchez Lovers wrote 602 days ago

I love your book.
It has been few years since my last Octoerfest but your work gave it new meaning!
Thank you for sharing

BobGrape wrote 692 days ago

LOVE this book! Thanks for the enjoyable read!

lucidreamer wrote 700 days ago

This has the making of an exciting adventure. I look forward to reading on. Happy writing

shadowmounds wrote 718 days ago

I eat lions, that is all....

Chris 1 wrote 719 days ago

Strikes me as one of those quirky 'thrillers' where you have to read it right through to the end to work it all out. Enjoyed what I read - first four chapters. Storyline is unfolding fine and more characters being introduced. Good read.

Jeannette Maree wrote 728 days ago

Great stuff! Great story! Good luck! Jeannette Maree - Cafe After Closing

Grace_Gallagher wrote 730 days ago

Punchy, pacy and very enjoyable. Best of luck!

GG x

Emma_198181 wrote 737 days ago

Hello there,

After reading the first three chapters I am really hooked into this story - I like the style, the description of the characters and their contrasting natures, the insane-ness of the whole plot and the plot is really pacy - I can't wait to read the rest.
Has this had any interest from publishers or agents yet?

Check out my novel, 'The Perfect Catch'

Emma_198181 wrote 737 days ago

Hello there,

After reading the first three chapters I am really hooked into this story - I like the style, the description of the characters and their contrasting natures, the insane-ness of the whole plot and the plot is really pacy - I can't wait to read the rest.
Has this had any interest from publishers or agents yet?

Check out my novel, 'The Perfect Catch'

Clare B wrote 741 days ago

Well done, great stuff, just on chapter 2, has the roar of a lion and eye of a tiger, brilliant so far.

Clare "Be The Human Sunshine"

Clare B wrote 741 days ago

Well done, great stuff, just on chapter 2, has the roar of a lion and eye of a tiger, brilliant so far.

Clare "Be The Human Sunshine"

leyper wrote 743 days ago

Hi Kirk,

I've read this to the very end on Kindle, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a real page 'clicker'. Bloody marvellous, mate. It is confidently written and richly layered without being overly complicated. I very much enjoyed the way all threads of the story (and the time-shifts) interwove come the end into a cohesive whole. I did spot a few typos in the latter half of the book, so it could use another proof if you haven't done this recently. I would also have opted for a more aggressive cut at the end of the story - probably around the time Daniel and Kim finally declare their feelings for one another at the park. My feeling is that the rest of what followed wasn't really necessary, but this is a personal taste thing. All in all this was an enjoyable read. Oh, and well done on getting to the Ed's desk!

All the best,

- Leyland (Jon le Riche)

"Adam Runs"

The Crane and I wrote 745 days ago


C.Pilton wrote 750 days ago


For my first time read I'm utterly compelled by your story. I got in so deep that I felt at one point that I was watching a movie. As soon as Daniel got involved with Herr Wolff I was automatically sceaming in my head, 'Nooo, don't do it. He's trouble!' You're characters are realistic and I find myself attached to Daniel in way and I'm not to sure why, he's a very likeable character, although obviously smart, he seems incredibly gullible; I like that a lot. Be sure I've been hooked and will continue to read the rest of the chapters.

I'm happy that I've backed this book. I'm going to enjoy this read!


rajiv wrote 750 days ago

Hi Kirk. Congrats for this recognition. Having read How to steal a Lion, I am sure you have wonderful times ahead of you. Just keep the optimism high. I hope you found the time to read 'Almost an Ambassador'

Olga13 wrote 750 days ago

bit late but i have not forgotten..1/ well done that your book is now at editor desks. 2/ very enjoyable to read, very well done on dialogues, the story is very well tale. i could see it on screen with the right producer / director... so hope to see it soon on amazon...x

Brigitte_2 wrote 751 days ago

Hi Kirk,
well done.

Isoje David wrote 751 days ago

good story. i like it and enjoyed myself while reading it.

Isoje David wrote 751 days ago

A very good story with outstanding perspective.

Jeques wrote 752 days ago

Congratulations for a well-deserved achievement of your book making it to the desk and for the chance to reach more readers when published.

I wish you well.

~ Jeques

panos wrote 752 days ago

Well done.


iandsmith wrote 753 days ago

Another read for How to Steal.

Confessed Bibliophile wrote 753 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this! A friend of mine introduced me to this site and I have finally decided to become a member after reading your book. I think the fact that this is an entertaining read and has nothing to do with magic or vampires etc is brilliant! I loved the sheer insanity of the heist and the way in which it was carried out was brilliant. Bummer the gold wasn't there though. I like this. Good luck. I could certainly see this adapted to film, and how entertaining it would be!

Alecia Stone wrote 754 days ago

This is a fascinating start. I loved the tension in the opening few lines. You can feel the rage burning off Daniel. I love the title also. If I can just make an observation. The story opens with the line:

Daniel stormed out of the conference room, eyes bright with anger.

The way I see it, we're seeing everything from Daniel's perspective, so when you describe his eyes bright with anger, I immediately disconnect with the character for that moment. I would imagine he can't see his eyes burning with anger. Perhaps you could replace it with something equivalent.

Daniel stormed out of the conference room, his body trembling with rage.

It's just a thought.

One other thing I noticed.

"We're friends(,)" Daniel shrugged. "And don't mention girls."

I would replace the comma with a period as to shrug is an action and not a dialogue tag.

This is great start. I really enjoyed it. It's visual also, which I quite like. I seriously don't read enough crime thrillers, but I tend to like them when I do. The E.D., I believe, will have a ball with this one.

Alecia :)

leelah wrote 754 days ago

Kirk: six stars to you. Wonderful story. I hope it will become a movie too.
Leelah saachi

Kerrie Price wrote 755 days ago

OK Kirk. I wasn't going to read this at all, since I am only reading Christian books. Then I read one chapter and now I've read three, and if I had the time I would certainly keep reading. I can see why your book has reached its illustrious ranking. Congratulations. It is an intriguing tale, wonderfully well written, and should draw in anyone who has a spark of life in them. I think I'll have to put it on my bookshelf, even if only for a couple of days. Six stars.

High Tower wrote 755 days ago

This is some good shit.

Juliet Blaxland wrote 756 days ago

'How to Steal a Lion' is a funny, frolicsome and unfeasibly far-fetched escapade; if HC have a tame film buff anywhere near their 'desk', 'The German Italian Job' could be in cinemas countrywide by next Oktober, accompanied by lionised VW campervans full of amusing marketing and merchandising opportunies... including teetering tower-height piles of the book for sale, obviously. Best of luck, and don't let anyone else write the screenplay...

tinacox wrote 756 days ago

Hi Kirk, what an original idea and so well delivered. As requested I am very happy to support the book and hope it wil be selected at the end of the month. Would you like to return ther favour and read my own book 'Sanctuary?' It is very different from your own, but is doing reasonably well and had received many gratifying and positive comments. Thank you Tina Cox

RobRow wrote 757 days ago

Excellently written, Kirk, fast paced, intriguing story. I hope your book is "the" lucky one.


spitfire1969 wrote 758 days ago

I enjoyed reading this book. It is fun and easy to read.

jlbwye wrote 758 days ago

How to Steal a Lion. It's great to have some uncomplicated fun here for a change. Please dont fall of the ED!!
Here's some more stars...
Jane (Breath of Africa)

Brigitte_2 wrote 759 days ago

I don't know what I can say that hasn't been said already. The story is great, gripping, fast moving, entertaining. Read some more soon.
Good luck on the desk.

Jeques wrote 761 days ago

'Tis great to see your book staying on the top rank this month. My full support. It's inspiring to see your book making it to the desk.

Good Success!

I wish you well.

~ Jeques

Annette Russell wrote 761 days ago

What fun! A real page-turner, Kirk. I won't write a long comment for now, as I'd like to keep reading, but I wanted to let you know that I'm really enjoying this.


DaveR wrote 762 days ago

Not much more I can add to the comments you've already received. It's a good read and entertaining. I do think the opening paragraphs are a bit slow. Maybe it would be better starting with Daniel meeting Joseph in the beer garden, or trimming baclk on the paragraphs in the corporate offices to get to their meeting quicker. That is the true start of the story, I believe.

A disclaimer: I am obsessive about the opening pages of a book, believing they are the most important of all to attract an audience, agent, and publisher. So I tend to focus my remarks on the first chapter.

Good luck with your novel and good sales.

Dean Lombardo wrote 762 days ago

Hi Kirk,
I'm here as requested. A fun story so far and the comment about Mr. Wolff probably having read too many spy stories is a nice touch because I bet there's some dark scheming going on and all is not as simple as it seems. Highly starred. I caught a few very minor things which I can send to you via authonomy messaging if you like. I appreciate the way your write in short, terse prose, a style I long ago adopted myself. Please check out my SF/thriller "Space Games," when you get a chance. I hope you will find it equally fun.

Dean Lombardo
"Space Games"

Raven Paramour wrote 763 days ago

First of all, I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable stories that I have read. The storyline is quick yet fun. With great dialogue and memorable characters, How to Steal a Lion has best seller potential. There are many twists and turns.

jenniferkillby wrote 764 days ago


A nice start to your story. The chapter read well and the pacing was great. I enjoyed the read and curiosity drives the reader further - wondering what Herr Wolff wants or what he is. I can see why you book is highly rated. I wish you the best of luck with it. It appears to be a unique story.

Dulcinea wrote 765 days ago

I can't fairly ranke this book unless I read it all.

Yet, the narrative's good; the plot's original and has a clear funny touch, which I'm not sure if it's intentioned. I gte the feeling that this is a book for a young audience and in this moment in history the theme must be quite relevant. I still miss a more sensational or emotional touch - perhaps something even more personal, which helps me empathise with the main character at a much deeper level - personal or human...Most of us have been there, or are, or are expecting to be, or simply will be, there are endless fears, emotions and sensations we can all empathise with.

Pretzki wrote 766 days ago

I don't buy the gullibility of a journalist even if he is young and surely the bank could not issue a bank card as soon as you open an account. It would be sent to the postal address or be ready for collection after three days.

luvfiction wrote 768 days ago

Forgot to say that I'm backing your book.

luvfiction wrote 768 days ago

I usually read a couple or three chapters on here, but went to chapter 8 and didn't have time to continue. This is a great, smooth read. You've done a wonderful job. The dialogue keeps the story moving and the characters are interesting. I cheated and read the last chapter. I never do that. Hopefully, it will be published and I can read it in print. I see why it is highly rated. Wishing you the best.

Norma Davis, A Scorched Family

Cara Gold wrote 768 days ago

Just read the first three chapters and loving it! This genre isn't something I would normally pick up off the shelf, but your book is so fun and enjoyable, I'm so glad I started reading it! I can also really imagine it being turned into a movie.

Well done - I look forward to reading the rest :)

daylineaton1991 wrote 770 days ago

This is a really great start. I look forward to reading the rest. I will definitely back it.

fictionguy wrote 771 days ago

Great Title. It kept me interested and looking forward to the next chapter. I read three chapters and liked the voice of the book. You seem comfortable in the writing and the prose flows. No glaring stops. This should be a popular book. Good luck with it.

Tod Schneider wrote 773 days ago

Hey, this is a hoot! You launch us into this crazy story right out of the gate, stoking our curiosity. Your main character is fun to tag along with. I think you'll do well with this tale.
Tod Schneider
The Lost Wink