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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.4 out of 5
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  • A Tale Of Derring-Do

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and for once didn't race through it to the end, I savoured it. Reading 50 or so pages and then setting it aside to let the themes percolate in the grey matter before picking it back up again an hour or two later. There is just so much going on between these covers that you run the risk of careening off the cliff edge if you don't take a step back. The telling is wonderfully evocative of the time and place without descending in to farce. It is both a very modern telling and a delicious throw back to a less technological age. The massing of heavy storm clouds of war is oppressive and you can feel the threat of war seeping in to personal and professional lives and yet the telling has a lightness of touch that shows people determined to wring every last scintilla of enjoyment from their lives before the storm breaks. Apparently, we have already met Tom Wilde in a previous novel about his exploits in Cambridge but having not read this previous outpouring is not a detriment to reading Nucleus. From the off Rory Clements allows us to inhabit the skin of his characters and this is never more apparent than with Tom Wilde and Lydia Morris. It is less easy to slip into the characters of Phillip Eaton and Frau Dr Haas but this is not due to "bad writing" but due to the twisty nature of their characters. Nobody here is who they appear to be and this is never more apparent than in the case of Henty O'Gara and Mrs Fanny Winch. A wonderful pair of side characters who very definitely deceive the reader in a completely plausible way. Even the glamorous Clarissa Lancing and her American "business partner" Milt. Hardiman are well fleshed out and not all they first appear. This is a finely honed thriller that actually keeps you guessing with espionage and counter-espionage running rampant you know about as much as out protagonist, Tom, about who he should and should not trust. Set against the peaceful River Cam we are constantly reminded that it is May Week, a time for fun and celebration and this is juxtaposed excellently against the German Threat. To start talking about the plot here would do a disservice to anyone reading this review. Simply put you need to buy this book and soak it up. With action taking us from the Quaker operated Kindertansport, to Dachau, through IRA terror attacks (as we would term them now) and on to eccentric physicists plying their trade in sleepy Cambridge it has a ton of action. Action that feels very fitting for the late 1930s. I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS NOVEL FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

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  • intrigue builds throughout

    Rory Clements certainly knows how to pack a novel with action and information. In Nucleus (I love a one word book title) he gives us a classic ‘Ripping Yarn’ with lots of action set among the academia of Cambridge. He also gives a detailed background into life in the UK in 1939 when war was seen as inevitable. Nucleus has many storylines which all weave together but Clements tells them in a clear and easy manner enabling the reader to be fully aware of what is happening. Tom Wilde makes a great all-action hero. I loved the mental image of him racing his motorcycle along the country lanes; no helmet or leathers and his shirtsleeves rolled up. He is supported by some wonderful characters, ranging from the glamorous Clarissa to a tough ex-jockey. My favourite was the hard working mother and tart-with-a-heart persona of Fanny. For authenticity the author also includes some real characters including Bertha Bracey and Frank Foley. One measure of a good historical novel is how much I learn from its story and how much it encourages me to research further. Yes, I already knew quite a lot about the Kindertransport but following Nucleus I found myself looking up the 1939 IRA S-Plan bombing campaign, the beautiful Rudge 1938 Special and biographies of Foley and Bracey. The story and intrigue builds throughout, culminating in an all action finish with a few surprises. No reader will be able to resist cheering on Tom and his fellow good-guys as they break the spy ring and ensure that our scientific secrets are kept safe. My paperback copy had a sticker marked “for fans of Robert Harris”. I can understand why but I look forward to a time when Rory Clements can market his books “for fans of Rory Clements”. I have awarded Nucleus a nearly perfect four and a half stars.

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  • Well-written and fast paced story

    Excellent fast paced story. Number of characters gets a bit confusing at times. The book certainly invokes the period in which it is set. Ending was a little limp but that didn't detract from the overall quality of the story and the writing.

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