Newest Review: ... and chillingly plausible. What makes it so convincing is that Sansom doesn't just change big historical "facts". So, whilst t... more
England as a German puppet state
Dominion - C. J. Sansom
Member Name: darren55
Dominion - C. J. Sansom
Advantages: First class thriller
Disadvantages: Lost its way a tough in the middle
Dominion is an alternate history novel by English writer CJ Sansom, it depicts a post second world war where England made peace with Nazi Germany in 1940 and now in 1952 is a satellite state of the larger German empire. Germany is still at war with Russia and America is neutral, there is a general acceptance of German rule by the majority of the British however the resistance is led by Churchill who disagreed with the peace treaty in 1940.
CJ Sansom is one of my favourite authors, famous for his Matthew Shardlack series set in Henry VIII's time he is one of the better historical writers and here enters the world of alternate history. This book tells the story of David Fitzgerald, a middle class clerk who works for the government, he is married and a secretly a half Jew on his mother's side. He is also working for the resistance copying sensitive papers and generally keeping them informed over the government's decisions concerning British overseas countries and their acceptance of German influence. The book also begins with one of David's old university friend going a bit crazy attacking his influential American based brother and is sent to the asylum talking about ending the world.
The great skill in this novel is writing a thriller set in an alternate 50's Britain; many of the features are the same but slightly altered. We have a country ruled as a puppet state by Lord Beaverbrook who gives up the nations Jews for increased trade with Germany, resistance to German rule is increasing and there is a sense of how Britain would have turned out if it was controlled by Nazi Germany.
The book starts off using the steady and solid lives of David to look at Britain controlled by Germany, it soon moves into a standard thriller David and a resistance team break Frank out of the insane asylum and now the book becomes a chase between the British and the German SS. Each turn used by the resistance is slowly cracked by the SS and we have a classic cat and mouse tale, all coming together on a beach on the south coast.
I enjoyed this novel, it had the classic CJ Sansom traits of complexity but readability, and there were enough plot twists and believable action to make the story come alive. It could perhaps have done with a little editing as I felt is dragged in the middle third a little and became a bolt hole survival story for a while. However, the ending was dramatic and exciting and the author had clearly researched how an alternate Britain could have come about so we have the rise of nationalism, a restricted press and a sense of oppression. The Jewish question is used as a plot strand but not over exploited for reasons of shocking the reader, this aspect was used cleverly and David's Jewish ancestry was well used.
This once again confirmed in my mind that CJ Sansom is one of the better writers around, he consistently produces superb novels and I can't recommend him highly enough.
Summary: CJ Sansom maintains his high standards