The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements
Germany, late summer 1945 – The war is over but the country is in ruins. Millions of refugees and holocaust survivors strive to rebuild their lives in displaced persons camps. Millions of German soldiers and SS men are held captive in primitive conditions in open-air detention centres. Everywhere, civilians are desperate for food and shelter. No one admits to having voted Nazi, yet many are unrepentant.
Adolf Hitler is said to have killed himself in his Berlin bunker. But no body was found – and many people believe he is alive. Newspapers are full of stories reporting sightings and theories. Even Stalin, whose own troops captured the bunker, has told President Truman he believes the former Führer is not dead. Day by day, American and British intelligence officers subject senior members of the Nazi regime to gruelling interrogation in their quest for their truth.
Enter Tom Wilde – the Cambridge professor and spy sent in to find out the truth…
Dramatic, intelligent, and brilliantly compelling, THE MAN IN THE BUNKER is Rory’s best WWII thriller yet – perfect for readers of Robert Harris, C J Sansom and Joseph Kanon.
First things first, this is the first book by Rory Clements that I have read, and I have to say it is a brilliant read from the first page through to the last. The Man in the Bunker (Zaffre) is a gripping World War II novel. The cover gives that away but even if like me you have not read any of the previous novels this does not in anyway spoil the read.
It is late summer, 1945 and the war is over, and the world can slowly begin the path to recovery, and for Cambridge Professor Tom Wilde now he can get back to the life he had before the war. Tom Wilde’s role in WWII was as a spy and now he can put this behind him or so he thinks. The allies are now rounding up senior Nazis to face trial for the atrocities during the war. But the leader of the Nazis Adolf Hitler spent the final weeks of the war in the bunker in Berlin as Berlin was being pounded by the Soviets. Hitler was said he would commit suicide in the bunker rather than being taken alive by the Soviet army and taken back to Moscow. Now the story is that Hitler did not commit suicide and somehow managed to escape the bunker and get out of Berlin.
Just to add to the mystery two British agents that were investigating whether Hitler was alive or not have been found murdered. Now Professor Tom Wilde who was just looking forward to getting back to normality is sent for to take up the investigations and is joined by Lieutenant Mozes Heck. Heck clearly has very personal reasons for hating any Nazis he comes across and his ways of extracting information is brutal and would rather kill everyone one of them and this puts both in real danger at times, but this does not stop Heck one bit, far from it. The pair will travel and track down anyone who they think will have information as to the whereabouts of senior officials with information about Hitler.
This is a really tense and pulsating read mixing both fact and fiction to create a powerful novel, there are times when some of the information about what really took place is distressing but what Rory Clements has created is a story at just under 500 pages that takes you not just into the heart of Germany just after the war but across Europe as both Wilde and Heck track down those they seek. What is described is the hell that was parts of Germany and parts of Europe as those misplaced people searched the ruins for loved ones.
No spoilers as to what happens as this is a must read and I for one now must read the previous novels that featured Professor Tom Wilde as a spy in the war. The Man in the Bunker is a stunning spy novel and is highly recommended.
The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements is Published by Zaffre and was released on 20th January 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org