The package is vital – it’s a mission that could have a profound bearing on the course of the war.'” – Cashbone to Tom Wilde


We seem to be reading a lot of interesting historical fiction, but Rory Clements’ Hitler’s Secret is our first foray this year into the National Socialist Party and World War II – and also our introduction to protagonist Professor Tom Wilde, even though this is his fourth outing.

Set in the autumn of 1941, Hitler’s Germany is waging a war on two fronts and the bloody conflict is at a crucial stage, America not yet involved. Cambridge-based Wilde, an expert on Elizabethan spycraft, is asked by British and American intelligence services to retrieve a package, contents undisclosed, in Germany, and bring it back to England. The mission is off the books.

After Wilde, posing as an American businessman with German heritage and Fascist leanings, manages to get the package, he finds his life in peril and his journey back to England fraught with danger. But what can be so important? And now he must question if turning it over to the powers that be is really in everyone’s best interest.

Clements seamlessly blends fact with fiction, real-life historic characters interwoven with the made-up. The result is a tense, complex and highly readable thriller, reminiscent of such masters as Forsyth, Harris and MacLean.

Terribly Boys Own. Terribly good stuff.


Rory Clements | Hitler’s Secret  | Zaffre | hardback | £12.99 | 23 January 2020 |

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Acknowledgements: Opening quote from Hitler’s Secret © Rory Clements 2020.This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers and to the publisher for sending a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: ‘Killing Beauties: there ain’t nothin’ like a she-spy’;  ‘Doug Johnstone’s A Dark Matter’;Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Rememembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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