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.
©2009 Len Deighton (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"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)
There are no reviews for this title yet.
"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
Not my usual genre but I enjoyed every minute. Well worth a listen. Excellent story.
"What an Enjoyable Detective Novel"
GREY, TWIST, INTRIGUE
The story isn't really about Nazi's, atomic bombs, murder or resistance. There is a bigger game at stake.
Beautifully done. Sounds a little like Michael Caine. Got the German accents down perfectly.
I was hooked.
The US and female accents are not so good. You think you know where this book is headed and it surprises you. Not a big fan of detective novels but his one is good.
This is a well read story that grips you all the way. Len Deighton is a great author who knows how to get his readers/listeners attention from start to finish
"Complex and compelling"
Having an alternative universe where Germany wins WW2 is all too common these days. However this stylish early example has a superb plot, brilliantly realised characters and authoritative descriptions. Following a murder detective, Donald Archer, the politics and plots of the Nazis and British resistance convolute and intrigue. Brilliant.
"Forgot how good this was."
Great book, love a good old thriller. Shame the recent TV show changed the ending.
"a war story with s difference"
interesting concept from both the German as well as the British and the European perspectives.
Nothing, it was dull from beginning to nearly the end - couldn't be bothered to listen to the rest.
By having a decent script.
Not for me
"Well read, but the story didn't quite grab me"
Probably not. The story just didn't grab my attention, and while I listened to the end, I wasn't enthralled. I like Frederick Forsyth & Craig Thomas and hoped this would be similar, but police thrillers aren't my thing it seems.
Only if I knew they liked police whodunnits. In that respect it's good, but only if you like that genre.
Can't comment - this is the first.
Not really, which is the whole point if this review. Well written and competent, but nothing outstanding. I suppose the King's rescue and subsequent condition were something of a twist, but not overly so.
It was quite annoying to have nothing clarified until the last chapter where Huth outlines everything and explains the entire plot to Archer, all for the benefit of the reader - who by this time has no idea who's on whose side, or even if there are sides anymore. And I kept imagining that Kellerman looked like Colonel Kurt von Strohm from 'Allo 'Allo!
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