In February 1941 British Command surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the Tower and the SS are in Whitehall….
For nine months Britain has been occupied - a blitzed, depressed and dingy country. However, it's business as usual at Scotland Yard, run by the SS, when Detective Inspector Archer is assigned to a routine murder case. Life must go on.
But when SS Standartenfuhrer Huth arrives from Berlin with orders from the great Himmler himself to supervise the investigation, the resourceful Archer finds himself caught up in a high-level, all-action espionage battle.
This is a spy story quite different from any other. Only Deighton, with his flair for historical research and his narrative genius, could have written it.
"A brilliant picture of Britain under German rule." (Sunday Telegraph)
"One of Deighton's best. Apart from his virtues as a storyteller, his passion for researching his backgrounds gives his work a remarkable factual authority. With Bomber and Fighter he established himself as an expert on a period...the authority of these books seem absolute." (The Observer)
"Len Deighton is the Flaubert of the contemporary thriller writers...there can be little doubt that this is much the way things would have turned out if the Germans had won the war." (Michael Howard, Times Literary Supplement)
"Deighton is a tremendous weaver of tales...action is all, and splendidly done. A master of fictional espionage." (Daily Mail)
"The poet of the spy story." (Sunday Times)
"For sheer readability he has no peer." (The Standard)
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Interesting but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed
James Lailey's reading. I also have his reading of The Ipcress File by the same author and he did such a good job with that so I felt sure he would do a good job with this one too. He did but this book gave him less scope as the characterisation is weaker and gave him less scope for the sardonic humour that he was able to bring to Ipcress.
The earlier sections were stronger as they were more atmospheric and Deighton did a very good job of recreating the mood of London under Nazi rule. It then rather tailed off as the lack of characterisation became more obvious as the book went on. It also became too embroiled with so much in-fighting between the various Nazi and resistance factions and police man just trying to do his job that I stopped trying to work out where we were and who was fighting against whom.
He has a lovely voice and gives distinct characterisation. His women's voices are just right and he did a good job with the accents.
I did find the ending unepxectedly moving but it was rather spoilt by being rather rushed. Deighton spent a lot of time setting up the various factions and then seemed suddenly to remember that the opening scene had involved a murder and the solution to that seemed rather tacked on.
This was, I believe, one of the earliest 'what if Hitler had won the war' novels. I had been curious about it for some time, I am glad to gave read it and I think it is worth my four stars. However, it has to be said that other writers have since improved on the genre by keeping it simpler. Robert Harris's Fatherland has some similarities (although it is set in Germany) and is much more involving. The main protagonist in SSGB is not terribly interesting or endearing and the obligatory love interest is not engaging. The machinations of the various factions are over-complicated and overwhelm any real human interest in the characters.
a cracking book
no - but just as enjoyable
fatherland - similar concept w and well researched
it was very disturbing and thought provoking
a well considered and well written book