The latest instalment in the adventures of Professor Tom Wilde, and it’s a cracker!
Rory Clements is perhaps best known for his series of Elizabethan mysteries about John Shakespeare. Then, in 2016, he published Corpus the first of a new series about Professor Tom Wilde, set in England in 1936. It was a rip-roaring thriller and I’ve followed the series ever since.
Hitler’s Secret is Book 4, published in January this year. It’s now 1941 and Wilde is firmly settled in Cambridge, working as a history professor at the university and living with his girlfriend, Lydia, and their young son.
The novel starts in Germany, in the office of Martin Bormann, who is giving instructions to a thug called Kalt, ordering him to track down and dispose of a 10-year old girl.
At around the same time, back in England, Tom Wilde is being asked to travel to Germany to pick up a ‘package’ and bring it home. His orders have been delivered by Phillip Eaton, a senior MI6 agent (who has featured in the earlier books) and an American called Bodie Cashbone, who is the new military attaché at the American Embassy in London. Wilde must pose as a wealthy American/German industrialist and, as part of his cover, has meetings scheduled with various Nazi grandees to discuss engineering contracts.
The story is very well told. The tension ramps up slowly as Wilde arrives in Germany and has to navigate increasingly difficult encounters with the authorities. After a couple of days he’s given the final details of his mission by US diplomat, James Vanderberg (who also happens to be his best friend) and discovers that the mystery ‘package’ is a 10-year old girl.
Of course things don’t go smoothly. There are killings and chases, escapes and betrayals. Kalt is in hot pursuit and, in the background, Martin Bormann plots, plans and issues instructions.
The story is action-packed, very gritty, and has lots of twists and turns; and it would spoil it for you if I said much more. Just take it from me that this is a really enjoyable and atmospheric thriller with lots of tension. And the final twists (which take place back in England) are unexpected. I was upset when Clements finished his John Shakespeare series because I’d really enjoyed the books. But Tom Wilde’s adventures are just as good. I give this 4.5 Stars.
Review by: Cornish Eskimo