#BookReview Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements @ZaffreBooks @ReadersFirst1

Hitlers SecretAbout the Book

In the Autumn of 1941, the war is going badly for Britain and its allies. If the tide is going to be turned against Hitler, a new weapon is desperately needed.

In Cambridge, brilliant history professor Tom Wilde is asked by an American intelligence officer to help smuggle a mysterious package out of Nazi Germany – something so secret, even Hitler himself doesn’t know of its existence.

Posing as a German-American industrialist, Wilde soon discovers the shocking truth about the ‘package’, and why the Nazis will stop at nothing to prevent it leaving Germany. With ruthless killers loyal to Martin Bormann hunting him down, Wilde makes a desperate gamble on an unlikely escape route. But even if he reaches England alive, that will not be the end of his ordeal. Wilde is now convinced that the truth he has discovered must remain hidden, even if it means betraying the country he loves

Format: Hardcover (432 pages)           Publisher: Zaffre
Publication date: 23rd January 2020 Genre: Historical fiction, thriller

Find Hitler’s Secret (Tom Wilde #4) on Goodreads

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My Review

To my mind, it’s always cause for celebration when a new book by Rory Clements is published, especially when it’s an addition to his terrific spy thriller series set in World War 2 and featuring Cambridge history professor, Tom Wilde. (Links from the titles will take you to my reviews of the previous three books in the series – Corpus, Nucleus and Nemesis.)

Hitler’s Secret sees Tom transported from his usual Cambridge haunts to unfamiliar – in fact, enemy – territory in order to carry out a dangerous task that will see him become involved in political and personal intrigue that goes to the very top of the Third Reich.

The atmosphere of suspicion amongst the population of Germany is vividly evoked – informants everywhere, fear of denunciation or falling foul of the petty bureaucracy of permits. Words you definitely don’t want to hear – “Papers, please” and “Trust me”. And if that isn’t terrifying enough, the bad guys in the book are really bad (and they’re not all guys).

OK, the secret’s not a secret for very long and there are quite a few convenient coincidences and lucky escapes. However, as John Buchan wrote about his own spy thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps, it’s a genre ‘where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible’. And the plot of Hitler’s Secret progresses at such pace you don’t have time to ponder on the probabilities, you just get carried along wondering what’s going to happen next. Among the best bits of the book are when the action switches swiftly between the parallel storylines of different characters. Come to think of it, Tom Wilde is a rather Buchanesque hero with his facility for languages, for adopting disguises and operating deep undercover. His boxing training comes in useful as well.

Just when Tom believes he’s achieved his mission troubles – and further danger – await closer to home, sometimes from the most unlikely of sources. Plus he’s faced with a moral dilemma made more difficult by his own position as a new father. Is, as the saying goes, all’s fair in love and war?

I was missing the involvement of Tom’s partner, Lydia, up to this point but was pleased to see her play more of a role as the book builds to its nail-biting climax. And it wouldn’t be a Tom Wilde book without an appearance by his beloved Rudge Special motorcycle.

Hitler’s Secret is another terrific addition to the series and a thrilling and immersive read. Thanks to Zaffre and Readers First for my review copy.

In three words: Gripping, tense, atmospheric

Try something similar: Smiley’s People by John le Carré

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RoryClementsAbout the Author

Rory Clements is a Sunday Times bestselling author. He is twice winner of the CWA Historical Dagger Award, most recently in 2018 for Nucleus, the second Tom Wilde novel. A TV series of Rory’s previous series, the John Shakespeare novels, is currently in development. Rory lives in Norfolk with his family

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