Review: Nemesis by Rory Clements

Nemesis by Rory Clements (UK edition)

In a great English house, a young woman offers herself to one of the most powerful and influential figures in the land – but this is no ordinary seduction. She plans to ensure his death . . .

On holiday in France, Professir Tom Wilde discovers his brilliant student Marcus Marfield, who disappeared two years earlier to fight in Spain, imprisoned in a camp near the Pyrenees. Wilde secures his release just as German tanks roll into Poland.

Meanwhile, a U-boat sinks the liner Athenia in the Atlantic. Many – including Americans – are drowned. The Nazis claim Churchill blew up the ship to blame Germany and lure America into the war.

As the various strands of an international conspiracy begin to unwind, Tom Wilde will find himself in great personal danger. For just who is Marcus Marfield? And where does his loyalty lie?

Series: Tom Wilde, 3
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Zaffre (24th January 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Nemesis is the third book in Rory Clements fantastic Tom Wilde series. I hadn’t realised this book was out until I stumbled across it during the London Bookshop Crawl back in January. The story begins with Tom Wilde on holiday in France, where he discovers an old student of his imprisoned in a camp near the Pyrenees.  Of course Wilde cannot leave him there, so he cuts his holiday short to return with his ex-student back to England just as things start to gear up for war. With the war looming ever closer on the horizon, Wilde starts to ask some very important questions.

I have been looking forward to devouring this book since I saw it on the shelf, and Mr Clements did not disappoint me. This book was everything I have come to expect from one of his novels in the Tom Wilde series. The tenseness of the read is definitely helped by the dates, as you know as the reader that World War II is looming ever closer despite the characters hopes that it will not come to pass. Nemesis is a quick read, and easy to devour even without having re-read the previous two books in a while.

I really enjoyed the way Clements built the tension of the coming war, the way we as a reader could see it start to creep into life at Cambridge. I also appreciated the way Clements uses Wilde’s dual nationality to highlight the different thoughts and attitudes between the UK and US at the time. It was really interesting. Although it wasn’t a main feature of this book, I really like how the relationship between Tom and Lydia is written.  And of course I enjoyed the return of a few familiar faces; it was nice to find out what had happened to them since the events of Nucleus.

There are three main threads to this story, all of which are closely interwoven: Tom and Lydia’s relationship, the mysterious Mr Marfield, and the looming war. As always in this series, Clements is a fantastic storyteller. He does a great job of entwining the narratives, and at the same time bringing alive the tension of the approaching war and all the questions that brings. As with previous books in this series, I enjoy the way Clements intermingles fact and fiction. The story’s conclusion is well done and very realistic. I’m curious to see where Mr Clements goes with future books in this series.

Review: Nucleus by Rory Clements

Nucleus by Rory Clements (UK edition)

Title: Nucleus (Tom Wilde, 2)
Author: Rory Clements
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre (25th January 2018)
Blurb:

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready . . . but the good times won’t last. In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany Jewish persecution is rife. Closer to home, the IRA has embarked in a bombing campaign throughout Britain.

But the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has made the atomic bomb possible. German High Command fears that Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory could be close behind; 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. He unveils a conspiracy in which the fate of the world rests on the discovery of a kidnapped child. Can Tom Wilde discover the truth before it is too late?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

NUCLEUS by Rory Clements is the second book in his wonderful Tom Wilde series. The story is set in Cambridge during the summer of 1939 and tensions are running high. War has not yet been declared, but the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, in Germany Jewish persecution is rife, and the IRA are active in Britain. Within this in Germany Otto Hahn has made the atomic bomb something possible, no longer relegated to the world of fiction. The German High Command fear that Britain might not be far behind and wants to know exactly what is going on in Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory; a world that Professor Tom Wilde finds himself drawn into.

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A Q & A with Rory Clements

Rory Clements is the author of Nucleus, published by Zaffre, hardback, £12.99. To celebrate the upcoming release of the second novel in the Tom Wilde series he has kindly agreed to stop by and do a Q & A. I have read the first book in the series  Corpus and you can find my thoughts on it here. To make it easier for you to follow, all my questions will be in blue and Rory Clements responses will be in bold. I’d just like to thank Rory for agreeing to doing this Q & A, and I’d also like to thank Emily for organising it. I hope you enjoy the Q & A.


Hi Rory, thank you for agreeing to do this Q & A with me.

I’ll jump straight into the questions:

NUCLEUS is your ninth novel, the second book in your Tom Wilde series, how do you feel with the publication date so close? Are you doing anything to celebrate?

I think I’ll have a glass or two of red wine.

This is probably quite a difficult question for me to ask but, how would you describe NUCLEUS in ten words?

Tom Wilde must save a child to protect the world.

Both of your series are historical novels, what drew you to writing a series set in Elizabethan England and the late 1930s?

They are set at times of extreme peril, when enemies send agents in to England and threaten invasion. They both feature the world’s oldest secret service, founded by Sir Francis Walsingham in Elizabeth’s reign and continued by MI5 and MI6 in more recent days. The perfect canvas for a series of thrillers.

Who or what was your inspiration for Professor Thomas Wilde?

I wanted an outsider – someone not impressed by the rather effete university types found in Brideshead Revisited. So Tom Wilde is half American, half Irish. He is inspired by two specific Americans: Conyers Read, an American historian who studied at Oxford and wrote the definitive biography of Sir Francis Walsingham and was later involved in setting up the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA, and James Jesus Angleton, also American but a survivor of an English public school and later chief of CIA counter-intelligence. He was a friend of Kim Philby and, like everyone else, was betrayed by him. But Tom Wilde is neither of these two men, nor an amalgam of them. He is very much his own man.

Was there a particular reason that you chose Cambridge as the main setting for this series?

Cambridge in the 1930s was a political cauldron – and the breeding ground of the spies Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt. It also produced the men who split the atom, developed radar, broke the Enigma code and started the computer age. And it just happens to be a gorgeous place within easy reach of my Norfolk home.

You worked for several newspapers; do you think that background has helped you with your writing?

Undoubtedly. In newspapers you quickly learn what makes a good story, because if you don’t you won’t last long. And then, of course, you have to tell that story well or face the editor’s wrath. It’s a shame so many modern ‘literary’ authors have lost the plot and forgotten their poor readers.

If you could give your younger self any writing tips what would they be?

Write, write, write…read, read, read. Expecting your debut novel to be brilliant is like someone picking up a tennis racket for the first time and going out to face Federer on Centre Court. Tennis isn’t easy, nor is writing. You need thousands of hours of practice. Stick with it and never stop trying to improve yourself.

Typically how much research do you do before you start writing?

Half a year of reading, travelling, experimenting and talking to the experts.

And to end on a lighter note what, if anything, are you currently reading?

I’m reading a mass of history books to help me with No.3 in the Tom Wilde series. The most recent novel I enjoyed was The Binding Song by Elodie Harper. It’s a very atmospheric thriller set in Norfolk. Highly recommended.

Nucleus by Rory Clements is out in hardback on the 25th January 2018. If you want to you can pre-order a copy on Waterstones, Foyles, Amazon UK, and The Book Depository.

Nucleus by Rory Clements

From the award-winning Sunday Times bestselling author of CORPUS

The eve of war: a secret so deadly, nothing and no one is safe

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready. In Cambridge the May Balls are played out with a frantic intensity – but the good times won’t last… In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany he persecution of the Jews is now so widespread that desperate Jewish parents send their children to safety in Britain aboard the Kindertransport. Closer to home, the IRA’s S-Plan bombing campaign has resulted in more than 100 terrorist outrages around England.

But perhaps the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced the first man-made fission and an atomic device is now a very real possibility. The Nazis set up the Uranverein group of physicists: its task is to build a superbomb. The German High Command is aware that British and US scientists are working on similar line. Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is where the atom was split in 1932. Might the Cambridge men now win the race for a nuclear bomb? Hitler’s generals need to be sure they know all the Cavendish’s secrets. Only then will it be safe for Germany to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is once more drawn into an intrigue from which there seems no escape. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington DC to the west coast of Ireland, he faces deadly forces that threaten the fate of the world.

Review: Corpus by Rory Clements (Blog Tour)

This review is part of the Corpus blog tour.

Corpus by Rory Clements

Corpus by Rory Clements

Title: Corpus
Author: Rory Clements
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre (26th January 2017)
Blurb:

1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland; in Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror; Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within a week, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson . . .

Professor Wilde’s specialist subject is the Elizabethan secret service. As the scope of the conspiracy is revealed, he must use all the skills he has learnt to save the woman he loves and prevent a massacre.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

CORPUS by Rory Clements is the first book in a new spy thriller series. The story is set in late 1936, and tells the story of Cambridge history professor Thomas Wilde whose life gets caught up in a series of murders. The story is set during a period of great political turmoil within the UK as King Edward VIII is being forced to decide between Mrs Wallis Simpson and abdicating the throne. Something more than a few people are not happy about. Alongside this, Britain is split between the growing powers of Communism and Fascism, creating a huge powder keg about to explode.

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Review: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

Gallagher Girl's 1

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

Title: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: Spy, Young Adult
Publisher: Orchard Books (6th May 2010)
Blurb:

“Do you ever feel like you’re invisible? I know I do – just call me Cammie the Chameleon. But at my [blank] school, that’s seen as cool. Why? Because Gallagher Academy might say it’s for geniuses, but it’s really a school for spies.”

Cammie Morgan might be capable of killing a man in seven different ways, but she’s about to begin her most dangerous mission yet: falling in love.

Rating: ** (2 stars)
Review:

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You is the first book in Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series. The series is about a group of girls who go to an all-girl boarding school, where they just happen to learn how to be spies. The series stars, and is narrated, by Cammie Morgan.

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