If there’s any justice, Francis Clifford’s time will come again. Clifford was one of the most accomplished of British novelists working within the parameters of the adventure/espionage field; his métier was creating situations of extreme danger for his protagonists and freighting in moral choices that push them to the limit.
Clifford initially pursued a career in the rice industry in China before the Second World War. As a soldier, he undertook a gruelling odyssey of 1,000 miles through occupied Burma, transmuting into his book Desperate Journey in 1979. He worked in the Special Operations Executive and (like many other writers) was to utilise this experience in his writing.
Clifford was soon producing novels which showed an adroit mastery of plotting allied to a skill in the creation and manipulation of suspense worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. Time is An Ambush is vintage Clifford: a beautifully detailed, subtle (yet tense) piece in which a quintessential Englishman abroad, Stephen Tyler, becomes involved with the widow of a dead German in a small Spanish town. Originally published in 1962, Time is An Ambush reads as powerfully in the 21st century as the day it was written.