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The Tom Wilde books




Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller

Autumn 1945: Off the east coast of England, a Japanese submarine surfaces, unloads its mysterious cargo, then blows itself to pieces. Former spy Professor Tom Wilde is enjoying peacetime in Cambridge, settling back into teaching and family life. But then a call from MI5 brings him out of retirement. A nearby village has been locked down by the military, its residents blighted by a deadly illness. There are rumours the Nazi machine is still operational, with links to a notorious Japanese biological warfare laboratory. And when Wilde's name is discovered on a hitlist he begins to wonder - could an Englishman be behind a plot against the state?

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'Master of the wartime spy thriller' - Financial Times

1945: A few days before the end of the war in Europe it is reported that Adolf Hitler and his bride Eva Braun have committed suicide in the Berlin bunker. But no body is ever found and many people - including Soviet leader Stalin - believe the Führer is alive and hiding out, probably protected by diehard Nazis. Cambridge professor Tom Wilde, working as an agent for Allied intelligence, is sent into the ruins of Germany to interrogate those who knew Hitler best. Following a trail of blood and deceit, he realises that there are fanatics who will murder and murder again to prevent him discovering the truth.
'Outstanding' - starred review, Publishers Weekly, USA

1942: The King's brother, Prince George, Duke of Kent, is killed in a mysterious plane crash in the far north of Scotland. The official story is that it was an accident caused by pilot error, but not everyone is convinced. Cambridge spy Tom Wilde is sent north to investigate. What he discovers will have grave consequences for the entire world.

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Another triumph - Crime Review

1941. The war is going badly for Britain and its allies. If Hitler is to be stopped, a new weapon is badly needed. In Cambridge, Professor Tom Wilde is approached by an American intelligence officer who claims to know of such a weapon - one so secret even Hitler isn't aware of its existence. If Wilde can smuggle the package out of Germany, the Third Reich will surely fall. But it is only when he is deep behind enemy lines that Wilde discovers why the Nazis are so desperate to prevent the 'package' falling into Allied hands. And as ruthless killers hunt him through Europe, a treacherous question mark hangs over the mission: if Hitler's secret will win the war for the Allies, why is Wilde convinced it must remain hidden?

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'Masterpiece of spies'- Sunday Express

1939 (August). As war looms, Cambridge professor Tom Wilde is enjoying a last holiday in France before the conflagration. But when a stranger informs him that a former student named Marcus Marfield is incarcerated in a French internment camp Wilde feels compelled tosecure his release and return to England.  Marfield, a brilliant chorister and history undergraduate had gone off to join the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War and was feared dead. But not everyone welcomes him home.

As an international intrigue unwinds, the destiny of Europe and the world lies in the blood-stained hands of ruthless plotters. Only Wilde can destroy the conspiracy - but he finds himself in grave personal danger.

Winner of the CWA Historical Dagger 2018

1939. In a summer of crisis and fear, England is partying like there is no tomorrow. Meanwhile the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, Jewish persecution intensifies in Germany and, closer to home, the IRA has embarked on a major bombing campaign in mainland Britain.

But perhaps the most far-reaching event goes largely unreported: in Germany Otto Hahn has produced fission, which means an atomic bomb is now possible. German High Command has set up its so-called Uranverein, a team of scientists dedicated to producing a nuclear device. But they are concerned that Cambridge's Cavendish laboratory might also be getting close - and so they must discover its secrets before it is safe to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish's finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde discovers that the fate of the world depends on the recovery of a kidnapped child.

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'Pacy and assured' - Daily Mail

1936. 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. 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 Tom 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. Professor Wilde's specialist subject is the Elizabethan secret service. As the scope of the conspiracy is revealed, he must use all the skills he has learnt to save the woman he loves and prevent a massacre.

The John Shakespeare books


​'A bawdy, engaging romp of a book ' - The Times

1586. A group of wealthy young Catholic dissidents plot to topple the Queen and open England to Spanish invasion. But confident, brash and careless, the conspirators have been infiltrated by Sir Francis Walsingham's top intelligencer, John Shakespeare.

Shakespeare, however, is torn: the woman he loves stands accused of murder. In a desperate race against time he must battle to save her from the noose while simultanrously spinning a web of deception to ensnare the traitors. The odds seem impossible, until it dawns on him that the investigations are inextricably linked - by corruption close to the seat of power.


'Rip-roaring page turner' - Eastern Daily Press

1582. A young lawyer is plucked from his books and recruited to the secret service of Sir Francis Walsingham. John Shakespeare's first mission will take him to the heart of the Judas nest of conspirators that threatens to bring down the monarchy: those who would see Queen Elizabeth deposed or - worse - murdered and the 'true queen' Mary set on the throne in her place.

He will soon learn that traitors come in many forms. If he is truly to serve the realm, he can have no other loyalty. Before friends, before lovers, before family, he must be the Queen's Man.


'A world spiced with delicious characters' - Mail on Sunday

1595. When Spanish troops attack the Cornish coast in a daring raid, the Queen is speechless with rage. Is another Armada on the way? Is it revenge for the sacking of Spanish shipping? Or is there a more sinister motive?

As John Shakespeare desperately searches for answers, England's secret defences begin to crumble as, one by one, his network of spies is horribly murdered. But what has all this to do with Thomasyn Jade, driven to the edge of madness by the foul rituals of exorcism? And what is the link to a group of priests held prisoner in the bleak confines of Wisbech Castle?


'First-class mystery' - The Good Book Guide


1594. The Elizabethan navy has a secret weapon: an optical instrument so powerful it gives England unassailable superiority at sea. ​Spain will stop at nothing to steal it and seize the men who understand its secrets - its operative known as 'Mr Eye' and its inventor, the mercurial Dr Dee.

When a second Armada threatens, intelligencer John Shakespeare is sent north to protect Dr Dee. While there he stumbles on an even greater danger: a plot that points to treachery at the very heart of Elizabeth's court. But Shakespeare faces serious accusations far closer to home...


'Masterly style' - Sunday Express

1593. Elizabeth's golden age is well and truly tarnished. Meanwhile Spain watches and waits - and plots. And then a small cart clatters through the streets of London carrying a deadly load. The explosion that follows is the first in a wave of horrific bombing attacks that will change John Shakespeare's life for ever. Driven on by cold rage, his investigations will take him from magnificent horse races to opulent brothels, from the theatrical underworld of Marlowe and Kyd to the torture cells of priest-hunter Richard Topcliffe.


Winner - Ellis Peters CWA Historical Award 2010

1592. England and Spain are at war, yet an even greater threat lies closer to home. Robert Cecil, Elizabeth's cold but deadly young statesman, summons John Shakespeare. His mission: to find vital papers, now in the possession of the Earl of Essex. Essex is the brightest star in the firmament, the Queen's favourite. But when Shakespeare infiltrates his dissolute world he discovers not only that the Queen herself is in danger, but that he and his family are also a target.


'I could not tear myself away' - Daily Mail

1587. An assassin stalks the streets of London and tensions in Elizabeth's government are at breaking point. With Catholic Spain poised to invade, a plot to assassinate England's great sea warrior Francis Drake is uncovered. John Shakespeare must protect him at all costs. But when the mutilated body of a high-born young woman is found in an illicit printing house, it is political gunpowder - and he has no option but to investigate.


'One of the great historical sleuths' - Barry Forshaw

1594. When a reluctant John Shakespeare answers a plea from Searcher of the Dead Joshua Peace a few days before Christmas, he cannot know what terror lies ahead. A naked man has been found dead in a snowdrift, a wreath of holly crowning his head and a bullet in his back. But it is no ordinary corpse. Shakespeare recognises him as Giovanni Jesu, a black man from Venice, a close associate - and some say much more - of the disgraced Earl of Oxford. Who would kill such a man and why? As all around him prepare for the festive season, Shakespeare must unravel a complex plot  of passion and treachery.


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