June 1939. England is partying like there’s no tomorrow… but the good times won’t last. The Nazis have invaded Czechoslavakia, in Germany the Jewish persecution is widespread and, closer to home, the IRA has embarked on a bombing campaign.
Most worryingly of all, in Germany Otto Hahn has made the atomic bomb possible. And German High Command knows Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory could be close behind. They must discover it’s 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. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington to Ireland, it seems as if the fate of the world rests on the discovery of a kidnapped child.
Can Wilde discover the truth before it’s too late?
This is going to be a short review, because I’m away for Christmas, so no laptop, and I hate typing on my phone!
Nucleus was a fast paced adventure, a proper spy thriller, which reminded me a little of a better-written Dan Brown (let’s face it, the plots Dan Brown puts together are great, but the writing sucks – but Nucleus gets that balance spot on) and had the hallmarks of an homage to Graham Greene.
The plot was carefully constructed to keep you guessing until the end. It was fast paced, full of twists and turns, and made full and excellent use of the author’s enviable knowledge of the period.
The characters are believable, to a point. A professor that carries a gun and outwits bad guys, which even a trained M16 officer seems unable to avoid being “got” by…? Maybe not. But its fun. And let’s face it, there is a tradition behind that particular type of character. I quite like it… And if you suspend disbelief on that part, the characters are wonderfully brave, flawed, clever, and deeply drawn. I liked the way their connection to one another was teased out. And the romantic angle was subtly used to develop the plot, which was a nice surprise.
This is the second book in the series, I haven’t read the first, but it wasn’t necessary because Nucleus could definitely standalone. The recapping didn’t feel heavy or forced.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Nucleus and am looking forward to reading more from this author.
I can cross my Book Bingo “historical fiction” off my list with this one.