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Dominion by C. J. Sansom

Dominion (original 2012; edition 2012)

by C. J. Sansom

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4613522,528 (3.78)57
Authors:C. J. Sansom
Info:Mantle (2012), Edition: Open market ed, Paperback
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Dominion by C. J. Sansom (2012)


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This is an alternative history: what if Britain had surrendered to Germany in 1940? The story traces a group of resisters who are trying to restore Britain's independence.

As a "thriller", I found it a bit slow. And, I don't like the way the story of the characters was almost abandoned at the end in favour of showing Churchill's return to power.

As an alternative history, I found it strange that Germany won the war, but little else changed in the world.

What I did like was Mr. Sansom's ability to evoke a strong sense of setting...his use of the London fog to show how everyone was in the dark and no one could see the big picture was amazing. ( )
  LynnB | Apr 3, 2015 |
I love a "what if the course of history were changed" books, and this one was interesting and, at times, pretty gripping. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
I love a "what if the course of history were changed" books, and this one was interesting and, at times, pretty gripping. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
A closer call than we like to think

Dominion by C. J. Sansom (Mulholland Books, $9.99).

It’s not the newest premise on the alternate-history block, but C.J. Sansom uses it as an opportunity to explore British national character and turn Winston Churchill into a rebel leader.

In Dominion, it’s 1952, and following a Lloyd George-engineered truce to end the war much ealier than in our timeline, the British are reduced to a client-state of the Third Reich.

This isn’t a far-fetched possibility; serious students of history know that Britain was in much worse shape than publicly acknowledged prior to U.S. entry into the war, and without FDR’s assistance, might even have lost.

In this case, Sansom gives us a policeman hero: David Fitzgerald, who harbors a pretty big secret in a racially-segregated nation. He’s a half-Jew. And the Nazis are about to introduce their “Final Solution” to England.

First, it’s an astounding piece of world-building. But it’s also a fascinating look at how ordinary people respond to fascism, with those who prefer distinct lines of authority and hierarchy generally having much less trouble adapting than we might hope.

Fitzgerald gets involved in gathering intelligence for Churchill’s resistance movement (they graffiti “V” around London, among other, more important activities), which makes this novel technically a thriller. But at heart, it’s a painful and honest examination of just how well we—or someone like us—might stand up to a dictatorship.

We can only hope we’d do as well as Fitzgerald. In his world, people like E. M. Forster and W. H. Auden, who dared to speak out, simply disappeared.

Reviewed on Lit/Rant: www.litrant.tumblr.com ( )
1 vote KelMunger | Jan 9, 2015 |
As I have come to expect from C.J. Sansom this novel demonstrates his excellent imagination and in-depth research. Set in a dreary 1950s Britain, run by Nazis. I liked the detail, but didn't care for any of the characters who seemed to take their colouring from the grey, smoggy atmosphere. Perhaps unfairly, I longed for the colour, warmth, and historical detail of a Shardlake novel. ( )
  LARA335 | Oct 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
But, as in all the best war-related alternative fiction, the finger of suspicion also jabs uncomfortably at the reader. Sansom directly confronts the frequent, smug view in the UK that nazism and the Jewish Holocaust were inherently German perversions. The English, in this version, often prove just as susceptible to strong but psychotic leadership and the prospect of racist genocide. The song from Cabaret that poses the question "What Would You Do?" might be the theme tune to a tremendous novel that shakes historical preconceptions while also sending shivers down the spine.
Sansom has woven a thriller with the tale of a man's growth into moral courage, but he has done it with the compassion and richness that many literary writers should emulate. Every detail of this nightmare Britain rings true, from the way that morris dancing is televised as a cultural expression of nationalism to the absence of the name "Lyons" in Corner Houses. Cowardice and collaboration are everywhere.
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The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.  Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war.  If we can stand up to him all Europe may be free, and the life of the world will move forward into broad, sunlit uplands; but if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister,and perhaps more prolonged, by the lights of a perverted science. -- Winston Churchill, 18 June 1940.
To the memory of my parents, TREVOR SANSOM (1921-2000) and ANN SANSOM (1924-1990) who in 1939-45 endured the hardships and did their bit to defeat the Nazis.  And of ROSALITA, R.I.P. 19.2.2012
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Churchill was last to arrive.
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Spy novel set in
Nineteen fifties alternate
Fascist-ruled Britain.

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1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill's Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government's side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission by them to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country.… (more)

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