Nucleus (Tom Wilde #2)
By Rory Clements
Publication Date : January 24, 2018
Pages : 352
Synopsis from Publisher:
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 Kinder-transport. 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 super bomb. 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.
In 2017, I learned to expand my genre palette. I read two books from genres other than crime fiction, action thriller and historical fiction. I was pretty sure I would enjoy action thrillers (since I consider action thrillers to be a sub-genre of crime fiction) but I was hesitant to read a historical fiction story; I thought it would be too far out of my comfort zone. I now know after reading Nucleus, I was very much mistaken. Nucleus is an exhilarating page turner which tells the story of a brave and clever man who follows his instincts no matter where they lead him.
In the summer of 1939, the eyes of the world are on Europe. Hitler has occupied Czechoslovakia and in Germany, atrocities targeting the Jewish population are escalating. Many Jewish people are fleeing Germany to Britain for safety. Germany, The United States, and Britain are in a race to create a nuclear bomb in anticipation of war. The Irish Republican Army is setting off bombs in Cambridge near the celebrated Cavendish Laboratory. When a Cavendish scientist is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde begins an investigation into the murder and is soon drawn into a plot filled with danger which threatens not only him but the world.
Much of the subject matter in Nucleus is based on science. I am not a science person at all. Luckily for me, the main character, Tom Wilde is not a science person either. Clements does not use complicated terms to explain the science behind bombs. I was surprised by how well I was able to understand and follow along with the scientific content in Nucleus. I did not have my usual feelings of angst and frustration when the story took a turn towards science.
I enjoyed the mentions of historical figures throughout Nucleus. Names like Joe Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, and Neville Chamberlain made the story more relatable and realistic. Although Nucleus is a story of fiction, I am sure many of the situations the characters faced were based in facts. Nucleus read like a fictional tale based on factual events.
Clements captures the anxiety and fear felt by the people of Britain, they know a war is coming. Common phrases throughout Nucleus are “this may be the last time” or “while I have the chance”. Clements created a sense of foreboding which I felt throughout the entire story.
Although I was extremely hesitant when I started Nucleus; I am so glad I took a chance and expanded my reading horizons. I enjoyed Nucleus and I found Tom Wilde to be an endearing and compelling protagonist. Although Nucleus is the second book in the Tom Wilde series, I did not feel like I was missing any key elements from the first book. Readers who are looking for an introduction into historical fiction should add Nucleus to their lists of must reads.
Murder and Moore Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars