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SS-GB

Narrated by: James Lailey
Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
4 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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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 members say

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Profile Image for catsatcastle
  • 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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Gavin
  • 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 of 3 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Derfel C
  • Derfel C
  • 01-15-17

Fantastic

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Mr. E. A. Shanks
  • Mr. E. A. Shanks
  • 02-20-15

Fantastic book

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Graeme from Preston
  • Graeme from Preston
  • 03-02-15

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 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.

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Profile Image for Taffi01
  • 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.

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Profile Image for aaron
  • aaron
  • 12-15-18

Wish there was more

I loved the series and the book but I wish we got an ending , the book seems unfinished and the characters have more to tell.

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Profile Image for liz
  • liz
  • 12-04-18

gripping

once I got in to it I just couldn't stop listening . It's well worth a listen

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Profile Image for Barry
  • 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 of 1 people found this review helpful