Nemesis

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Intricate threads weave the tapestry of this historical thriller as we are transported to the shadow of World War II and a vast conspiracy. Your curiosity is piqued from the very beginning. How does Wilde's former student Marcus Marfield, who is rescued, fit into all of this?

Events unfold in a steady rhythm of foreboding and Clements gives us just enough detail to set the picture of the surroundings, but also the characters' status. He guides our imagination into conspiracy mode. We get a great feel of the era and what Europe was like then.

The different POVs make the landscape of the story even bigger and more intriguing. Wilde, who is in the forefront, is an intelligent, inquisitive character asking the questions you would, and some you may not have thought of. Marfield and the events surrounding him keep getting more and more mysterious.

I like how Clements believes in his readers' intelligence and doesn't coddle them, giving the events straightforward, honest and sometimes brutal. We are solving the mystery alongside the protagonist.

You can easily read this without having read the previous Tom Wilde thrillers, which is something I did. If you like intelligent, no frills, but full of intrigue and quite a few surprises thriller, then this is certainly for you.
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I find it really amazing how Rory Clements keeps writing books that are so even better than his previous ones.  I really enjoyed his previous series from his ‘John Shakespeare’ series set in Elizabethan England.  I really enjoyed "Corpus", the first in his ‘Tom Wilde’ series set in the run-up to World War 2, and also the second book, "Nucleus". However, his latest one "Nemesis" is the best so far.  I am sure he will be writing many more in this series and I keenly look forward to reading them.

The early chapters introduce a number of different characters and plot devices, which include some real public figures.  Those readers who enjoyed the previous books won’t be surprised to learn that the various layers are expertly knitted together before the very dramatic conclusion.

The author has done some really detailed research into the general life and times of the period just before the Second World War and as his previous books have demonstrated his historical research is so rigorous that there is no doubt in the mind of the reader of it's authenticity and this makes the story so easy to read.

I am really looking forward to reading the next instalment and I strongly recommend the book to all possible readers.
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Set in August and September 1939, the opening days of World War II, this story reunites us with Professor Tom Wilde and his partner Lydia Morris. They are on holiday in France after Lydia had called off their wedding at the last minute. Wilde is approached by a man called Honore who tells him that one of his former students, Marcus Marfield, is being held in a French camp for refugees from  the Spanish Civil War. The latter has ended in victory for Franco and his fascist army, aided by Hitler and Mussolini who backed the military rebellion against Spain's elected government. Marfield went to Spain to fight against Franco with the International Brigade. 
As Wilde and his French host arrive at the camp, they discover that Marfield has been wounded - shot in the arm by someone outside the camp fence. They are allowed to take him back to Britain where they learn that on the day they arrived Marfield's father had committed suicide. Back in Cambridge, Lydia takes Marcus to hospital to have his wounds treated and gets him to talk with a psychiatrist who hypnotises him. Shortly afterwards, the psychiatrist is found dead, seemingly another suicide.

Tom Wilde is suspicious of Marfield's strange behaviour. Marcus is a very handsome man with a beautiful singing voice, and was known as "the golden boy", but he hides a dark secret. Wilde believes he is suffering from psychological scars from his time in war torn Spain and is determined to discover what happened there. 
Meanwhile, there is a parallel story about Jim Vanderberg, Wilde's friend at the American Embassy in London. Vanderberg's wife Juliet and their two young sons are on board the liner Athenia when it is torpedoed by a German U-boat. Vanderberg leaves for Glasgow to search for his wife and sons, frantic with worry that they may be among the victims of the U-boat attack. In Paris, there is a failed attempt on the life of the American ambassador while back in London, the USA's ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph Kennedy is winning no friends by saying that he thinks Germany will win the war. Winston Churchill appears in the story, telling his inner circle that victory will depend on whether the USA will enter the war.

As Germany and the Soviet Union divide up defeated Poland and the British and French prepare for invasion, Wilde pursues his inquiries. Soon, he is reunited with Philip Eaton, an MI6 agent who seems to know a great deal about Marcus Marfield's time in Spain, as does Eaton's colleague, Guy Rowlands.

As the body count rises, Wilde discovers a piece of film which casts new light on Marfield's time in Spain. Wilde realises he has been duped and that everything he knows about Marfield is a lie. But who can he trust? Almost everyone involved seems to have a secret agenda.

Although this is the 3rd book in the Tom Wilde series it can easily be read as a standalone since author Rory Clements often refers back to the previous history of Wilde, Lydia and other characters in the story. As usual, the author provides a wealth of detail about real events and real people in this gripping thriller. In the book's Afterword, he provides fascinating excerpts from the diaries of various famous men and women, writing about the opening weeks of World War II and their hopes and fears for the future of Europe.
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‘Nemesis’ by Rory Clements is the third in his Tom Wilde series which sees the American-born Cambridge professor tangle with more spies as Britain enters the Second World War. It is a page-turning read that I galloped through despite a few moments of confusion about who was double-crossing who; to the point where I started to distrust everyone except Tom.
It is September 1939 and a strange time, the pause before war starts when sandbags are filled and the propaganda starts. Wilde, on holiday in southern France with girlfriend Lydia, negotiates the release of a former student, a brilliant chorister, from an internment camp. Marcus Marfield fought for the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War and seems to be suffering from PTSD. Wilde returns him to Cambridge though feeling uneasy about the circumstances of Marcus’s release. Marcus’s behaviour is worrying. Clements includes many of the characters featured in the earlier two books, including British spy Philip Eaton, doctor Rupert Weir and fellow don Horace Dill. 
Critical at this stage of the war was America joining the Allies but two unrelated incidents spread bad PR in the US; the ambassador in Paris escapes assassination and a British ship The Athenia, carrying American civilians, is sunk. On board are the wife and children of Jim Vandenberg, Tom’s contact at the US Embassy. As Jim waits for news of his wife and sons, strange things start to happen around Marcus Marfield and Tom is pulled into the investigation. Though unqualified, he has a skill for spying and takes to it eagerly, always riding his distinctive Rudge motorcycle.
This is a fun, gripping series set at a fascinating time in Britain’s history when each side was plotting to win the propaganda war and influence America. It tempts me to start reading Clements’ Elizabethan spy novels.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/
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I didn’t realise that a central character, Tom Wilde, has featured in earlier books. That said, Nemesis works very well as a stand-alone. 

This is essentially a wartime thriller and the plotting is complex. I enjoyed the various settings including Cambridge, France and Ireland and there’s a real sense of time and place.  I could picture the Cambridge academic background with descriptions of buildings and university life and in France, the aftermath of the Spanish Civil war and impending work war is well created.

The pace is fast with numerous threads to an intricately woven tale. It’s difficult to know where the story is going next as various layers are revealed. It’s a page turner that kept me engrossed and I found it totally convincing.  

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.
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Tom Wilde is not on honeymoon as his wedding did not happen but in France in August 1939 his marital status is not important.  Contacted by a stranger Wilde is asked to rescue a former student who is in an internment camp following a stint in the Spanish Civil War.  Wilde does this but finds, on his return to England, that all is not as it seems.  As the country is plunged into World War II people are politicking and Wilde's birth nation, the USA, is a crucial ally and enemies will do anything to prevent them joining in the conflict.
As with the previous Tom Wilde novels this outing never lets up the pace.  However there is also a clever and complex plot involving fascists and communists and double agents.  The sense of time and place is palpable, Clements always manages to really evoke the era in which he writes, be it the 16th Century for the Shakespeare novels or Europe on the edge of war.  This is a terrific book for those who like historical thrillers or those who like espionage - for me it is just a fast-paced and entertaining thriller.
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Thankyou to NetGalley,  Bonnier Zaffre and the author, Rory Clements, for the opportunity to read a digital copy of Nemesis in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
I  enjoyed reading this book. The storyline was well written and gripping with characters that were more than what they seemed.
Worth a read.
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Nemesis is the third novel in the Professor Tim Wilde series, and it's the best yet! Although the plot is self-contained it's advisable to have read the previous two to get a feel of the recurring or continuing characters. What I love about these books, in particular, is that the plot is intense, action-packed and full of suspense, intrigue and deception, but these are never focused on to the detriment of the historical fact; you can tell Clements has undertaken a lot of research of the time period, and this comes across as wonderfully authentic. The high-octane thrills of the first two books pick up even more steam in Nemesis with a plethora of twists, turns, misdirection and red herrings which blindside you catching you off guard. There's no doubt in my mind that Clements is a master of the spy thriller.

Set at the beginning of World War II, the story is precipitated by multiple murders committed in Cambridge, UK. It's fast pace and immersive writing makes this superb espionage fiction. Tom, our main protagonist, is a real hero and most likeable, as is his love interest Lydia. They work together as a successful amateur investigative team and are tenacious and intelligent in their thinking. The series of complex yarns are woven together seamlessly and challenges the reader to stay on their toes, which all leads to a satisfying climax and end to a truly gripping and exciting trilogy. I eagerly anticipate whatever Mr Clements does next; if it's as nail-bitingly tense as these three novels were then we're in for a treat. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Zaffre for an ARC.
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I really don’t know how Rory Clements keeps turning out books that are more brilliantly enjoyable than the last.  I was already a fan of the author’s books from his ‘John Shakespeare’ series set in Elizabethan England.  I greatly enjoyed Corpus, the first in his ‘Tom Wilde’ series set in the run-up to World War 2, and loved the second book, Nucleus. However, to my mind, Nemesis is the best yet.  I can’t even begin to bring myself to think about the possibility this might be the last in the series...

The opening chapters of the book introduce a number of different characters and plot strands, including some real-life public figures.  Those familiar with previous books won’t be surprised to know that the various strands are skilfully woven together with one or two surprises delivered among the way, all building to a breathless climax and some memorable closing scenes.

The book takes the reader on a journey from the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, to France, the west coast of Ireland, the streets and colleges of Cambridge and its surrounding countryside.  Mistaken identity, bluff and double bluff, high speed chases, sticky situations and a character who is the embodiment of pure evil – the story has it all.  And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Rory Clements book without someone completely off your radar turning out to be not quite who you thought they were.   As one character remarks to Tom Wilde, ‘You’ve studied Walsingham.  When someone goes undercover, they must adopt a convincing persona.’

Behind the micro detail of the plot is the macro of the wider political situation as factions manoeuvre behind the scenes to try to influence their countries’ response to Germany’s aggression.   As a friend reminds Tom, ‘This is a propaganda war.’  There are tender moments as well.  I don’t suppose I’ll be the only reader hoping that the prayers of one character are answered: ‘Dear God, he thought, bring this woman through, and I’ll never doubt you again’.     

I was so glad to see Tom and Lydia maintaining their formidable partnership.  OK, so I have a bit of a crush on Tom.  Perhaps it’s that combination of a historian’s analytical brain and the well-honed boxer’s body trained to react quickly that does it.  But I also absolutely love the character of Lydia: intelligent, brave, resourceful and independent-minded.  In Nemesis, change is on the horizon for both of them.  How will they respond given events of the past?

Never one to waste a good line, I’ll steal from own review of Nucleus and say that when it comes to historical thrillers Nemesis has ‘more thrills than a 100mph burn-up on Tom Wilde’s trusty Rudge Special’.  You’ve worked out I loved it, right? 

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Bonnier Zaffre, and NetGalley.
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6.5/10

Based in Cambridge at the dawn of WW2, this was an entertaining enough thriller without ever really drawing me in for more. It’s the second novel I’ve read by this author in this setting and he’s consistent in what’s on offer. 

The mystery is interesting enough early on and I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen and where things were going. But, as with the other novel I read, the main draw for me is the place and setting. I could happily read just about the dawn of the war and how it effected the lives of people and this is the standout aspect of this novel for me. 

Things descend into the usual twisty tale and people aren’t what they seem and soon it walks the fine line of implausibility without fully crossing it. It was enjoyable enough without being memorable. As with the last book I read in this series, I’d be happy to continue reading more without jumping at the chance.
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Nemesis by Rory Clements

It’s August 1939 and the world is keeping more than one nervous eye on the aggression of Germany. Tom Wilde, an American Professor of History at Cambridge University, is on holiday in sunny France with his lover, Lydia. It’s almost as if everyone is taking a breath while they wait to see what will happen next. But the holiday comes to a sudden and difficult end when Tom is contacted by a stranger who tells him that Tom’s brilliant student Marcus Marfield, who is also a chorister with the voice of an angel, is imprisoned in a camp near the Pyrenees. Marcus had left England to join the fight against fascism in Spain but his idealism has ended in disaster. It’s a race against time for Wilde to get Marcus out of France before war is declared.

Meanwhile, the Americans are hedging their bets over whether to get involved in the conflict or not. Joe Kennedy is American ambassador to the UK. His allegiance is suspect. Spies are busier than ever, getting into position, moving their pieces, manipulating events, exposing themselves to deadly danger. The stakes have never been higher. And when a U-boat sinks a liner, full of European and American civilian passengers, in the Atlantic, the war of words explodes. The Nazis claim that Churchill blew up the ship to lure America into the war. But for those who must endure the agony of waiting to discover if their missing loved ones are drowned or saved, there is a terrible human cost to this tragedy. As for Tom Wilde, he is now in great personal danger. Keeping Marcus Mayfield safe may prove the death of him.

Nemesis completes Rory Clements’ stunning historical spy trilogy. Beginning with Corpus and continuing with Nucleus, this series is extraordinary. Although linked through the characters of Tom Wilde and Lydia, the books are each distinct and reflect on another aspect of the tense progress to war, illuminating such topics as the abdication of Edward VII and the race to achieve nuclear weapons first. Tom Wilde is a sometime reluctant spy for British and American intelligence. He knows the personal cost. Murder invariably follows. In Nemesis, Wilde once again finds himself caught up in international intrigue. Its focus this time is the devastatingly handsome, charismatic and talented Marcus Marfield – he attracts trouble. But why?

Wilde and Lydia unite all three books. If you’ve followed them from the beginning, then you’ll know how difficult their relationship has been, not to mention dangerous at times. They’re so easy to like. In these difficult days in the lead up to war, when motives exist to be distrusted, Wilde and Lydia are two people we can hang on to. We know they’re decent, caring and courageous human beings. They’re also extremely likeable as well as fascinating. Tom is an expert on the Elizabethan spymaster, Walsingham, which gives him real insight into contemporary spies. Lydia is a poet and, in many ways, at odds with the world around her. Their privileged Cambridge academic environment is a striking contrast to the rise of Nazi Germany but, as Tom Wilde knows only to well, there are many places to hide in Cambridge.

I love Rory Clements’ Elizabethan spy novels and I really like how he continues themes and ideas into this 1930s’ series. The plot of Nemesis, and the others, is complex, compelling and genius. We’re used to enigmatic figures in this series and Marcus Marfield continues the tradition. It’s difficult to tear your eyes away from the page as Tom is led on a lethal dance during some of the most tense days of the 20th century.

There’s also a personal story here and one of the most poignant threads is that to do with the sinking of the Athenia. This story alone had me on the edge of my seat. Also, one of the spymasters continues to pay a high price for his actions following an assassination attempt. And then there are those whose deaths Tom must investigate. Were they suicide or murder? If suicide, what could have driven them to such desperation? As the tanks roll into Poland, we’re shown war’s intimate, personal cost.

Rory Clements is a superb writer. His plots are second to none while his understanding of character and motive is exemplary. Nemesis is such an exciting thriller! It grips and intrigues from the very beginning, not least because the very future of the world is at stake. I can’t praise these books enough. They’re always among my top books of the year. I cannot wait to see where Rory Clements takes us next. Whether we go back to the 16th century or 20th century, or any other period of history, it will be essential reading.

Other reviews
Corpus
Nucleus
Holy Spy
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I always look forward to the publishing of a new Rory Clements book and Nemesis definitely didn't let me down.

This is the latest book in the Professor Wilde series and is set just before and in the early days of World War 2.

The story starts in France but the main setting is the city of Cambridge, its University and the surrounding area and which is well captured by the author. The inclusion of having to carry a gas mask and using blackout curtains all help to add realism.  

The author's research shines throughout this very readable and enjoyable book as Wilde is faced with decisions that may change both his and his friends lives.

This book is an excellent example of historical fiction and is highly recommended
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It was great to get back to this wonderful series set in 1930s Cambridge, with two of my favourite amateur detectives, Professor Tom Wilde and his girlfriend Lydia Morris.

This book opens just before the start of World War Two, whilst Tom and Lydia are on holiday in the south of France. Tom is approached by a stranger who lets him know that Marcus Marfield, one of his Cambridge students, is in a concentration camp and needs help to get back to England. Tom being a true gentleman visits the camp and brings the student back to England with Lydia. What starts off as an act of kindness, soon turns into something far more sinister that Tom and Lydia could ever imagine.

This was a super book that I read in 24 hours, with so many twists, turns and an international conspiracy, that I really didn’t know what to expect next. Even though I read this just before Christmas, I still get the shivers thinking about the villain and the things that happened. This is definitely the best in the series so far, and I can’t wait for the next book, even though I have to wait another year!

I thoroughly recommend this book and series if you enjoy historical crime fiction.
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This is the third in the Professor Tom Wilde series, following, “Corpus, “ and “Nucleus,” both of which I enjoyed.  We begin with a flashback to 1931, where we are briefly introduced to a talented thirteen year old chorister, Marcus Marfield, singing a solo at Kings College Chapel, Cambridge.  

Fast forward to 1939 and Wilde, and his partner, Lydia, are travelling in France.   War is days away and their holiday is winding down, when Wilde has a strange visitor.   He informs him that a young English man, previously fighting in the Spanish Civil War, is in an internment camp and needs his help.   Wilde was the supervisor of Marcus Marfield at Cambridge and immediately does all he can to obtain his release and return him to England. 

Back in Cambridge, it soon appears that things are more complicated than they first appeared.    There are odd deaths, strange reactions to the reappearance of Marcus and Tom spots a woman who he believes has followed them back to Cambridge.  This whole novel is wrapped around the opening weeks of the war and of America’s role in the forthcoming conflict.  This includes, as do other books in the series, cameos of real life characters – including Joe Kennedy, who famously was against American involvement in WWII, including providing military and economic aid to England, and Winston Churchill.  

One thread of the plot reminded me of, “Rendezvouz at the Russian Tea Rooms,” by Paul Willetts, and those real-life events were obviously an inspiration.  If you enjoyed this novel, you might want to give some of the real life history of the time a look, and will probably enjoy Willetts book.  However, that is not to say that this novel is not something entirely fictional, and very different.    Author Rory Clements combines history with characters that we have come to care for, as well as introducing new ones.  This is a fast moving and great addition to the series.  I hope there will be more in the series.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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Fascinating story that had me hooked from start to finish. Definitely recommended to those readers who enjoy reading this this genre.
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This is the 3rd in the wonderful American History Professor Tom Wilde series by Rory Clements and it is a real humdinger set around the beginning of WW2 as Britain declares war on Hitler's Germany. It is a time of tremendous turbulence and as they say the first casualty of war is the truth as a propaganda war takes off. The US has chosen to remain neutral despite Roosevelt not liking the Germans, the American public are hostile to the war and the Germans wish to keep it that way. However, Britain with Churchill and France are doing all they can to secure American support, particularly supplies, and are convinced it is vital that the USA enters the conflict to secure victory. It is 1939, Tom and Lydia's wedding is aborted, she just cannot bring herself to buy into the concept of marriage, but the pair have gone ahead with their honeymoon in France. 

Tom is approached by a man calling himself Honore, informing him that a charming Cambridge student of his, Marcus Marfield, who had left university to fight for the Republican International Brigade in Spain is being held in a French concentration camp, Le Vernet. Marcus is a handsome man, endowed with the most beautifully angelic of voices as a chorister. Tom goes on to secure Marcus's release, he is suffering PTSD and has been shot. They return to Britain on the day war is declared, going back to Cambridge. Marcus's behaviour and actions make Tom feel uneasy, Marcus's parents and brother have disowned him and on their arrival back to Cambridge, the father commits suicide. This is soon followed by another unexpected apparent suicide that makes little sense and arouses suspicions. The Intelligence Services are stretched thin, but MI5 and old friend, Philip Eaden, show interest in Marcus and want Tom Wilde to look into him and keep a close eye on him. The British liner, The Athenia, with many Americans aboard, is torpedoed by the Germans. This is a story of thrilling derring do, desperate dangers, spies, double agents, betrayal, treason and espionage, all aimed at swaying the US.

Rory Clements writes a thrilling account of the beginning of WW2, the essential need to win the bitterly fought propaganda war, as important if not more so, than planning for the actual war at home and in Europe. The Germans endeavour to pass off the sinking of The Athenia as perpetrated by the British to manoevre the Americans into siding with the Allies by blaming the Germans. The author focuses on this importance of the US with the multiple threads in the narrative to show just how far the Germans, and those who support Nazism in other countries will go to ensure the US remains out of the war. This is a well plotted story of our hero, Tom, going over and above in his efforts to support the British war effort, putting himself on the line with deadly killers on the loose that threaten those close to him and threaten to damage British and US relations irrevocably. This is a brilliantly entertaining novel in what is a stellar historical series. I look forward to reading the next in this series with great anticipation. Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for an ARC.
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This is a well researched historical spy thriller set at the outbreak of World War 2. The lead protagonist is Professor Tom Wilde an American History Don at Cambridge University who becomes entangled in a complicated investigation into various murders in the University town.
It became apparent early on that Nemesis was part of a series but this in no way detracted from reading it as a stand alone novel.
Tom and his girlfriend Lydia are on holiday in France in August 1939 when  they are mysteriously approached by a man claiming that one of Tom’s old students, Marcus Marfield, is being held in a French internment camp.
Marcus, a choral scholar with an amazing voice,  had last been seen a couple of years earlier before he went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War in the International Brigade- on the side of the anti fascists.
Tom agrees to find Marcus in the camp and escort him home to England.
Marcus is shell shocked and injured when Tom traces him and he will say little about his experiences.
However all is not as it seems and Tom is forced to investigate Marcus’s background when his father commits suicide and his own mother wants nothing to do with him.
There are lots of twists and turns in this excellent espionage thriller and Tom is a great hero- he reminded me a bit of Indiana Jones or Richard Hannay- very derring do!
I powered through the novel in a few days and when I got to the end I resolved to read the first two books in the Tom Wilde series.
The historical research was thorough  as was the detail about Cambridge at the beginning of the war.
Tom’s girlfriend, Lydia, was also a great character- obviously an early feminist , she refuses to marry Tom as it would go against her principles.
If you like fast paced spy thrillers you will enjoy this book. I will certainly keep my eyes open for any future novels by Rory Clements.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Splendid tale of dark deeds and murders set in the early days of World War 11. The action is set around Cambridge University and the fens with an American professor as our hero the action moves from France at the end of the Spanish Civil War to 1939 England. Beautifully described Cambridge is at the heart of the clever plotline with preparations for air raids in the script the atmosphere of a time gone by is excellent! Plenty of graphic action to ensure attention is kept make this a rollicking good yarn . Look forward to more tales of Professor Wilde!
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I love this series and was so delighted to be approved to review this new title. Thank you. It is another twisting and turning journey through a complex time with a deliciously complicated cast of main characters. Clements is a master of this kind of story, whatever period he is focusing on.
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"Nemesis" is an impressive thrill of a read with an unsettling core. The blackout curtains have been drawn, but this can provide little protection against the rapid darkness that has already crept onto our own little island.

So, this may be book three of the series yet it remains as fully-fuelled as the first to provide outrageous manoeuvres. These are not only politically damaging but a genuine threat to an entire nation’s survival. The plot seizes the decisive moments of a people steeling themselves to confront a known enemy and tackles the dreadful, unexpected consequences as a stealthier one emerges.

Once again the narration is superb and assuredly defines the circles inhabited by Tom Wilde, an American professor wrestling with the ugly, beautiful, and treacherous faces surrounding him. One thing’s for sure, this author has a gift for writing characters whose successes or failures are determined simply by how much they can trust the next person. 

What I found exceptional is how seamlessly the brave operatives who covertly guard an entire country (and beyond) integrate into society, and how their decisions are not black and white, as there’s often some murkier shade bleeding around the edges, patiently waiting to seep into the cracks that are starting to form. 

Sickening betrayals, conflicting truths, and formidable adversaries with highly effective tactics – "Nemesis" captures all of this, and more. Mightily convincing, as always.
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