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 . . .
Title: Hitler’s Secret | Author: Rory Clements | Series: Tom Wilde #4 |Publisher: Zaffre | Pages: 432 | ISBN: 9781838770273 | Publication date: 23rd. January 2020 | Source: NetGalley
‘Hitler’s Secret’ is the fourth of Rory Clements’ Tom Wilde novels, but the first that I’ve read. It’s a gripping and enjoyable World War 2 thriller with a good blend of espionage and historical detail. On the strength of this entry in the series I can see myself picking up the first three books.
The story is set in 1942 and sees Wilde, an Irish-American teaching at Cambridge University, going to Nazi Germany masquerading as a businessman wanting to do a deal with the German government. In fact he is there to rescue a young girl and bring her back to Britain. The first third or so of the book switches between Wilde’s attempts to find that girl and that of two of Martin Boorman’s thugs who are also on her trail.
The basic premise is somewhat far-fetched and the plot relies on coincidence and deluxe ex machina events a little too often, but that doesn’t stop it being a very entertaining read. Wilde is a likeable hero, resourceful and determined rather than blessed with the near superhuman abilities of some thriller protagonists. The supporting cast are solid too. There are vicious Nazis, sympathetic Germans who oppose the regime, wily American spies and stiff-upper lip British operatives. None of them will win awards for originality, but they’re all fun to read and convincing within the universe of the book.
It’s an easy read, packed with intrigue, twists and action. The plot contains gun fights, car chases, torture, and other thriller staples, all used to good effect. The writing is good and Rory Clements throws in loads of well researched detail, which makes the book overall feel believable, even if the events of the plot stretch credibility at times.
That attention to detail lifts this above some other thrillers I’ve read and makes for a read that’s informative as well as thrilling. Despite not being the first in the series I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, but it did wet my appetite for the other books.