Fatherland is set in an alternative world where Hitler has won the Second World War. It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler’s 75th birthday.
Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich.
And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth - a truth that could topple governments and change history.
©1992 Robert Harris (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This was the first Robert Harris book I read (in print) years ago and I was so impressed that I began buying and reading his other books. I enjoyed all of them that I read, but this was always my favorite and I have reread it several times over the years.
I also requested that Audible add this book and have been waiting for it for a long time. This book should not be confused with the TV movie soundtrack also available through Audible. I watched that TV movie and thought it was a terrible adaptation of the book. If you want the story as written by Robert Harris, stay away from the soundtrack.
When I saw that Audible had acquired the rights to the full book I downloaded it right away and listened. The reading is flawless. It grabbed me from the start and did not let go until the end. Having read it before I knew what was going to happen, but it is so well written and so well read that it was a wonderful experience. It is both a gripping mystery and an informative history of how the Nazis tried to hide what they were doing. Highly recommended for all those with an interest in World War II.
When I finished the book, The Ghost, I was excited about finding the author Robert Harris. I immediately looked at what else he had written and thought I would begin with his first novel, Fatherland. The premise was very interesting to me, and it became more interesting when I saw how he was tying real history to the imagined story. It was like the two were seamless. Although I really enjoyed The Ghost, I found this book even better. I will now be moving on to Harris' other books.
This was a nearly perfect thriller. Harris's writing style is, as always, evocative and descriptive while maintaining a certain succinctness. He expertly brings out his characters, and everything is more or less very believable. The plot draws you in.
I thought that Michael Jayston's performance was flawless. He narrates most of the book in his native British accent (including the characters), and enunciates German words with faithful accuracy.
this is an excellent alternate history type novel in which a "police procedural" type story set in the oppressive environment of a Nazi controlled Germany which "won" at least the European part of WW2 and ousted England's Churchill to hiding in Canada and controls much of western Europe although they still are in the 20+ year of war with Russia. Without belaboring certain issues, Harris's novel benefits from external baggage we bring to it's world concerning Nazi Germany. Many of the characters are real and simply have moved on an alternate timeline. The layout of the buildings etc is based upon Speer's actual designs for massive structures to be built in Berlin. though these are not vital to the plot, descriptions of them do point I think to the desperate grandeur Hitler and others yearned for to "legitimize" their political horrors. & many of the documents quoted are also real. A wonderful mystery. A friend suggested elements are rather analogous to the current NSA surveillance issues, which again, brings up 1984.
As a history and historical fiction buff, I was looking forward to this book. I thought of all the possibilities of a world where Nazi Germany won WWII. However, Robert Harris didn't.
This is basically a not very interesting murder mystery.There's one plot twist which isn't really fleshed out, and so isn't very compelling.
I would not recommend this book.
I loved this book. I saw the movie when I was younger. It was a made for TV movie of the same name, but doesn't touch the quality of the book. It was well written, well read, and well researched (most of the Nazi officials were based on REAL people who REALLY did what the author accused them of!)
Fatherland has many great elements rolled into one: It's a great police mystery; a riveting thriller; and a fantastically detailed alternative history. Anyone familiar with the social history of Nazi Germany or the city of Berlin will get kicks a-plenty from the detail in Rober Harris' creation of a 1960s Third Reich.
Also of great note is the narrator, Michael Jayston, who provides an excellent reading of the book as always. He seems particularly suited to these kinds of thrillers, and throws in great accents to help colour in particular characters alongside his straight reading of the text. A pleasure to listen to.
Gripping thriller set in post-WWI victorious Germany. Very clever re-visioning of history and yet also contains a real sense of "heart" at the core. It doesn't forget what was truly evil about that regime and two people's struggle to get the truth out.
I am a from Denmark and my interests are wide spread. Scary stories, Crime stories, Sci-fi, and more, you name it. One of my greater interests is historical fiction, and my favorite author are Jeff Shaara.
The book is an exe lent detective story set in an alternate Germany. It draws you in and you quickly accepts this new world. A lone detective in search of the truth behind a cruel murder despite risking all. Denounced by the world, with only a few friends to help he turns to an American journalist, and together they search for answers. With the GESTAPO on their heels, from Germany to Switzerland and back. The story takes you into a world, where corruption and lies fill the society. And where, truth is not always welcome or desired.
Never read it
March - an intelligent, thoughtful character with integrity and humanity.
The betrayals by those we love most.
Put it on your must-read list.
This is an excellent novel which is gripping from beginning to end. Each of the twists and turns draws you further into the story.
It is enhanced further by the way that it is interweaved with real historical events and characters, creating a convincing and compelling alternative historical scenario.
The narration is also excellent and complements the book well.
All in all, highly recommended.
"Marvellous 'what-if' novel"
'Fatherland' is a fantastic 'what-if' novel. It posits the frequently asked question, 'what would have happened had Germany won the Second World War?'
In Robert Harris' novel, it is fast approaching Hitler's 75th birthday, and Germany is completely in control of the European continent, and Britain is very much a vassal state. Only America remains free - and they have been undergoing the same kind of Cold War relationship with Germany which they had with the USSR in real life.
Harris focusses his novel on Detective March, who works for the Berlin police. March is called to investigate the discovery of a body floating in a river, and the investigation leads him to the awful truth about the Holocaust. In Harris' imagined Germany, the average German has chosen to believe the lies about 'resettlement' propagated by the Nazis (or at least don't question them too much). There has never been any investigation, and certainly no facts to back up all the rumours. Yet it is exactly these facts which March discovers - indisputable documentary evidence about the Holocaust, which he is determined to smuggle to America so that the truth can be announced to the world. He is aided in this by a female American journalist (who is a somewhat uninteresting and uninspired character). March is far more interesting: a police officer who has devoted years of his life to catching criminals and bringing them to justice, who is now coming to the realisation that in fact the state he serves is the most guilty and criminal of all.
The novel is fast-paced, and the narration is excellent, creating a real sense of characterisation. Harris has obviously done his research - his descriptions of Berlin are superb, doing a good job of describing the over-the-top architecture envisaged by Hitler and his chief architect, Speer. Harris intersperses genuine history (including quotations from Hitler and Himmler) with all too believable alternate history.
"interesting set up"
Good book, very interesting set up in the Third Reich. But it would have been nice, if the narrator had a better knowledge of the German language and it’s pronounciation, in order not to bellow out all German words in a very inappropriate way.
"Gripping, convincing, and thoughtprovoking"
I consider this one of Robert Harris' very best books. Having read it as a book some years ago, I wanted to get reaquainted, this time as an audiobook.
Narrator Michael Jayston never gets in the way between author and listener. In fact I am impressed that all the German expressions and names are handled that accurately - not perfectly, but nevertheless admirably.
Recommended without any reservation.
"Glad we won!"
Very intrequing and believable scenario. Michael Jayston has the perfect voice for this tale. Hard to believe I could like an SS officer but Mr Harris brings it off!
"i don't like fiction usually, but..."
I am really surprised that some people criticize this book or the narrator. I don't usually like fiction but this book was really a great listen...
Excellent storyline and an interesting twist on the ?what if? scenario had the allies succumbed to Hitler?s tyranny.
Also an excellent alternative to 1984 without so much of the deep discussions within that (also excellent) novel. Well worth a listen.
As long as you don't approach this book expecting a rhetoric masterpiece, it is a well written, very thrilling and exciting book.
It is very much a cliff-hanger type book, but you will struggle to put it down. It is nerve-wrecking throughout as the Gestapo become more interested in the protagonists anti-social activities. The feeling of terror as the tyrannical government seeps into every aspect of life is present throughout. It is deeply reminiscent of the time but with an modern spin.
Interesting, exciting and, above all, an easy listen!
"I was beaten to it"
This truly is a gripping story, well-written and plausible, but as has been said, why, oh why did the narrator not get some instruction in how to pronounce German words? For anyone who speaks German, it is extremely grating to hear the strange attempts made.
Otherwise great, though...sorry to sound pedantic.
Insightful, interesting, sad.
It was inevitable really but still made me emotional and sympathetic to the main character.
A good attempt.
I felt sad, like i wished the main character could catch a break but is that possible in Nazi Germany?
A good listen.
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