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Glenn Dyer
The Unquiet Genius
Glenn Dyer, author
A scientist in hiding. A race to the ultimate weapon. Can a bold operative crush Nazi plans before he’s taken out by a Nazi bullet? December, 1942. Conor Thorn will stop at nothing to end Hitler’s terror. So when a brilliant nuclear physicist is discovered holed up in Italy, the elite OSS agent reunites with his MI6 counterpart and slips behind enemy lines on a recruitment mission. Now pitted against rival forces also on the hunt, Thorn is hell-bent on preventing the key to an atomic weapon from falling into ruthless Nazi hands. With the clock ticking on the escalating war, his operation falls under threat when his objective proves elusive. And as Russia, a double-dealing Italian monsignor, and the Vatican all converge on the reluctant theoretician’s hideaway, Thorn struggles to keep clear of an ever-tightening deadly trap. Can he deliver victory to the Allies before the world goes up in flames? The Unquiet Genius is the third book in the pulse-pounding Conor Thorn spy series. If you like resolute heroes, nail-biting action, and genocidal global stakes, then you’ll love Glenn Dyer’s historically inspired thrill-ride.
Nazi-stomping spy Conor Thorn returns in Dyer’s The Unquiet Genius, the third book in the series, in another World War II mission. Accompanied by his lover Emily Bright, a cunning MI6 agent, and priest Sean Sullivan, Thorn must stop Hitler and company from securing the atomic weapon that could win the war for the Reich. Filled with gunfights, clandestine operations, and shocking family secrets coming to surface, The Unquiet Genius finds Thorn on the Western front in Italy, on a desperate race to locate a supposedly dead scientist.

Dyer excels at capturing this thriller’s pastoral backdrop, with farmers riding their livestock on the rural roads, cafes filled with colorful townspeople and enticing food, and a monastery housing secrets behind its ancient walls and between its men of God. Whether the action takes place out in the open or in a poorly lit backroom, readers will feel the tension as Conor and company try to locate the missing physicist before the Nazis do, even when, in the cloisters, intriguing conversations arise about humanity’s capacity to wield godlike power in the form of atomic weapons… and whether or not we have a right to such power.

From beginning to end the story enthralls with its crisp action, high stakes, and clever twists and turns. Dyer’s like a puppeteer pulling the strings of readers’ imaginations. The cast offers a welcome range of personalities, and each gets their fifteen minutes of fame. While some action/espionage tales fall short on their character development, Dyer does a fantastic job at keeping his spies, monks, and heroes well rounded without becoming Mary Sues. (Committed to getting the job done, Conor’s not above punching an assailant in the groin.) His people are sometimes flawed but not without their redeeming qualities, and they always rise compellingly to the challenge in whatever history-shaking danger they face.

Takeaway: This rip-roaring, Nazi-punching World War II thriller will keep spy fans on the edge of their seats.

Great for fans of: Alan Furst’s Under Occupation, Greg Iles’s Black Cross.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A