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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about SS-GB

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A GREAT ALT HISTORY NOVEL

Good plot and excellent characterizations that fit into a plausible and well told narrative of life in GB after Hitler won WW2. Only possible complaint was with the ending which didn't really live up fully to the potential of the tale but that might have just been comparing this work with Robert Harris' also fine and gripping Fatherland. Both great books and recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • catsatcastle
  • 05-03-15

Interesting but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed

What made the experience of listening to SS-GB the most enjoyable?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of SS-GB?

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.

What does James Lailey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Gavin
  • 07-23-15

a cracking book

Would you consider the audio edition of SS-GB to be better than the print version?

no - but just as enjoyable

What other book might you compare SS-GB to, and why?

fatherland - similar concept w and well researched

Have you listened to any of James Lailey’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

it was very disturbing and thought provoking

Any additional comments?

a well considered and well written book

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 06-22-19

alternative history fiction masterpiece

class conflicts, layers of bureaucracy and in-fighting and office politics are familiar in his spy fiction, but here the ante gets raised as it involves Nazis, SS, Gestapo, German military, English police, resistance organisations, civil servants and scientists. Cracking creation of an alternative world where Germany defeats the UK gives the reader an insight into what happens in invasions and occupation, with collaboration, black marketing, destitution and despair the order of the day. Fortunately these are generally things that most people who speak English as a first language will be unfamiliar with.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Taffi01
  • 03-17-19

good book, v well read, but not for tired listenin

Good book, v well read, but not for tired listening. As good as it was, I kept falling asleep and losing my place. Not one for bedtime "reading" but otherwise great. The narrator was brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Richard Syred
  • 09-20-18

Long Live the King!

I read this book when it first was printed. I loved it then and loved it being read to me by James Lailey. It's a great story - I could not disagree more with someone who wrote the book was "disappointing". I found it gripping to have to imagine life as if the UK had lost the War. It is almost too dreadful a prospect to imagine, but Len Deighton does it so seamlessly well. Again, from my perspective for what it's worth, a brilliant read and highly enjoyable! Thank you for publishing the book, Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • karl bartlett
  • 04-27-17

Forgot how good this was.

Great book, love a good old thriller. Shame the recent TV show changed the ending.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Duncan Barrett
  • 03-24-17

Great audiobook

This is much easier to follow than the recent BBC adaptation. The reader is excellent, and perfect for the main character as well as good with the various German accents. There are a few audio errors - repetitions, perhaps at page turns, that should have been edited out - but these aren't too distracting and overall the quality is very good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Derfel C
  • 01-15-17

Fantastic

Not my usual genre but I enjoyed every minute. Well worth a listen. Excellent story.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Drewdle
  • 09-17-15

Britain under the Nazi boot.

A very slow burn of a book that starts out as a traditional murder mystery but as you get into it, it starts to twist and turn like a fish on a line. Builds a very convincing picture of what this nation may have suffered had Germany managed to invade. It felt like it was going on a long time at some points but is worth sticking with.

1 person found this helpful

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  • R
  • 04-02-15

They never came

Where does SS-GB rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Its very good in terms of a what if story. It was confusing in parts with the relationships between the various parts of the German organisations.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ober Stumbahnfuhre Wroth - he always seemed to be ahead of the rest although in the end it did not help him from his eventual fate.

What does James Lailey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His performance was very good in bringing the individual characters alive and gave them a personality that was a strong part of the overall story

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me curious into what was the overall reasoning behind the actions of the various parts of the German occupation command.

Any additional comments?

Having read the Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich I cannot see why the treatment the book showed as being part of our occupation would have been any different from that the germans inflicted upon the rest of Europe but this a work of fiction so you cannot compare with real life. All in all a very good book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Barry
  • 09-18-16

Slow

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

More depth.

What was most disappointing about Len Deighton’s story?

The pace was very slow, and the story didn't seem to delve enough into the implications of a Nazi occupied GB.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom

1 person found this helpful