Synopsis: 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 weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.
In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?
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…
Me: I enjoyed this far more than I expected. I’m not a big fan of spies and I really didn’t like Tinker Tailor and the others in that series. But this one I read quite quickly and found myself wanting to know what happened next. I think some of it is the era. It’s pre-WW2 rather than post war. Sides had still not officially been taken. Many Brits were joining communist parties or agreeing with Nazis (although I’m sure some of that has been wiped from the history books) and even King Edward was friends with Hitler.
I know about WW2 – my grandfather fought in the war and we have many stories from that time but the years leading up to the declaration of war isn’t something I know huge amounts of. History (certainly for me) has focused on during and post battles. I know it’s a fictional book and isn’t historically accurate but there’s enough real life history to add to an already intelligent thriller.
The author is new to me and I picked the book on description and cover so I had no preconceptions going into it. I loved the characters and especially hero Professor Thomas Wilde. Our heroine, Lydia is well rounded and has opinions even if I don’t particularly agree with them. I liked the fact that she has something to do although I do think the author forgot about her at the end a bit. Wilde is a cool hero. He has a motorbike, doesn’t suffer fools and for some reason I want him to look like Steve McQueen.
The books is released on January 26th, 2017 – I highly recommend buying it