Book Review: Nucleus (Tom Wilde #2) by Rory Clements

NucleusAbout the Book

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready…but the good times won’t last. The Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, in Germany Jewish persecution is widespread and, closer to home, the IRA has embarked on a bombing campaign.  But perhaps the most far-reaching event goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced man-made fission.  An atomic bomb is now possible. German High Command knows that Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is also close; they must discover its secrets before it is safe to wage war.  When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is drawn into the investigation.  In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin, from the US to Ireland, the fate of the world comes to depend on the recovery of a kidnapped child.  Can Tom Wilde discover the truth before it is too late?

Format: Hardcover, eBook (352 pp.)    Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Published: 25th January 2018                Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller

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My Review

It’s 1939 and Britain is beset by enemies at home and abroad.  In Europe, the Nazis are spreading their malign influence across Europe and gearing up for war. Across the Atlantic there are those who would wield their influence to prevent the United States coming to Britain’s aid in the event of war with Germany.   At home, the IRA is waging a surprisingly well-funded bombing campaign in pursuit of their aim of a united Ireland, seeking to terrorise the domestic population of Britain.  And then there are those who live their lives in the shadows – can they ever really be trusted?

Add to the equation recent developments in atomic science that open up the possibility of great benefit to mankind but also unimaginable destruction in the wrong hands and one begins to understand how rival powers might be utterly ruthless in their desire to control those who possess the requisite knowledge.   Tom Wilde is about to find out just how ruthless.  There are people out there who will stop at nothing.

Once again, Tom is called upon to use his deductive powers as a historian to unravel the mystery of a missing child, a murdered scientist and the suspicious reappearance of a childhood friend.  But it’s not only brain power that will be needed – better dust off those boxing gloves again, Tom.

It was great to see the return of Lydia, Tom’s friend, neighbour and potentially something more, who makes a plucky and worthy ally.  Now don’t tell Lydia, but I confess finding myself slightly beguiled by the mention of Tom Wilde’s ‘bare, tanned chest’ as he practices his sparring and his ‘earthy, manly scent’ in altogether more intimate circumstances.  No wonder then that, amongst other dangerous enemies, he finds himself the target of a femme fatale.

The author knows how to write a killer final paragraph of a chapter and the whole things zips along leaving this reader slightly breathless at the end.  I dislike the word ‘unputdownable’ and I’ll be honest I did put this book down…but only for the time it took to make a cup of tea and then I was rushing back to pick it up again.  With more thrills than a 100mph burn-up on Tom Wilde’s trusty Rudge Special, Rory Clements has produced another cracking historical thriller.  If you thought Corpus was brilliant, wait until you read Nucleus.  Sign me up for Tom Wilde #3!

I received an uncorrected proof copy courtesy of publishers Bonnier Zaffre, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Compelling, thrilling, gripping

Try something similar…Mr Standfast by John Buchan (plucky female ally, enemies at home and abroad, those who are not what they seem…)

RoryClementsAbout the Author

Rory Clements has had a long and successful newspaper career including being features editor and associate editor of Today, editor of the Daily Mail‘s Good Health Pages, and editor of the health section at the Evening Standard. He now writes full-time in an idyllic corner of Norfolk, England.

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