The Great Smog. London. A dense, choking fog engulfs the city and beneath it, history is re-written...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.
Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London's Great Smog; as David's wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men... At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with Dominion C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.
©2012 C. J. Samson (P)2012 Macmillan Digital Audio
"An absorbing, thoughtful, spy-politico thriller set in the fog-ridden London of 1952. Not, however, the year as it is usually remembered . . . What if, in 1940, Lord Halifax became prime minister instead of Churchill? Part adventure, part espionage, all encompassed by terrific atmosphere." (Marcel Berlins, The Times)
"Every note of this smoggy hell rings true. Yet this switched history also shows how hope might dawn to end the rule of 'blood and fear'." (The Independent, Boyd Tonkin)
"Haunting, vividly imagined novel...You will find few better historical novels, even if much of the history it uses never really happened." (Sunday Times Culture, Nick Rennison)
"What would have happened had Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk? CJ Sansom's latest historical novel gives a gripping answer, featuring a 1952 England rife with oppression, rumour and defiant rebellion." (Sunday Telegraph Seven)
Just wanted to say, this is my first C.J Sansom book and certainly not my last. What a great listen and very well narrated by Daniel Weyman, who's dulcet voice and diverse range of accents, settles you perfectly into the mood of the story. Set in an alternative historical Post-WWII 1950s period, Great Britain by then had made a truce with Nazi Germany. This ended the war prematurely by 1940, turning the British government into a anti-Semitic, fascist regime under the German 3rd Reich control. Yet somehow the novel doesn't come across as a yawnful 'Period' piece novel. It has a modern contemporary flow about it which is so much easier on the ear. Dominion is certainly one of my favourite, and most exciting books i've listened to in a long time and recommend this to anyone who likes a good atmospheric spy thriller! Should be made into a film in my opinion! Good job C.J Sansom!
I was really sorry when this ended. While it is a bit slow to get started, when it does it's completely absorbing. It's a 'what if' book based on the UK losing the war in 1940 and the Nazis encroaching into the UK. The story relates the effects this has on a civil servant-turned-spy and his wife; and the people they come across in the Resistance and the German security police.
The narrator is excellent.
A man with a child in his ears.
Dominion, such an apt title. A cleverly crafted "What if" scenario that came so close to coming to pass. This is a genuinely intelligent book that pits known characters from history into this alternate reality alongside the main protaganists. It's a supremely atmospheric book that very quickly draws you into its rather uncomfortable world.
It's also a very decent thriller once you make the shift to the altered state of history. with good narration from Daniel Weyman to complete the package.
A thoroughly recommended departure from the norm. A book that will make you think because only by a small margin was this seemingly unthinkable scenario in Britain avoided.
I only knew C.J.Sansom's historical detective novels so this one was a big surprise. It is very clever and perfectly read, dark, truthful and an excellent listen.
A fantastic novel that is well written with slowly building tension. It draws you into an England that just might have been, if the cards had fallen just a little differently. C J Sansom always writes entertaining books, but I think this is his best yet.
I usually dont like mid way reviews, but as this audiobook has non yet, I wanted to throw my 2 cents on.
It is deep and excellently written, the characters are believable, the setting, although fictional, feels exceptionally realistic and tangeable.
It draws you in from the start and within 1 day I have already listened to a half of it!
Brilliantly read and with superb accents that really seperate the characters, (even a cracking Winston Churchill impression!).
Another 'Must Read' from C J Sansom
I have enjoyed the author's Shardrake novels set in Tudor England and was surprised by this novel set in the late in the nineteen forties and early fifties. Dominion speculates about a Britain that has made peace with Hitler soon after the outbreak of war and is a pacy thriller as an underground of resistance strives to undermine German domination. There are many historical characters in this "what if" scenario, such as Oswald Mosley, Beaverbrook and Enoch Powell, supporting the Nazis opposed by the likes of Churchill and Attlee as the underdogs. It is certainly a though-provoking book, but also a great listen that kept me rapt from start to finish. The reader does a superb job of bringing the characters to life as he switches back and forth with different accents.
If anyone ever doubts the debt we owe to our forefathers who fought facism this book should be compulsory reading.
Unlike some reviewers I have no problem with the alternate history - it is just that, so applying events from our 50's doesn't work, much of our timeline particularly technology was war driven so a short 1939-40 war and no pacific war would explain the disparities.
What it does show is the creeping evil that spread through many occupied and satellite states of Nazi Germany where regimes competed to out do each other to follow the master race. The distinctly British twist of Star of David lapel badges, the repatriation of German Jewish refugees, the disappearance of "undesirable" authors from library shelves. Like an avalanche starting with the merest movement of a snowflake.
Gripping from beginning to end I would thoroughly recommend it.
Painter, jeweller, teacher. Passionate listener to audiobooks and reader of print books.
Don't miss this brilliant book. This is certainly the most exciting listen I've had from Audible for a long time. Some of it is very bleak in a Sansom-ish sort of way, but the story soon picks up and you just can't stop listening - I won't give away any of the plot but stick with it for the first hour or so and you will not be disappointed.
I very rarely bother to review my two listens a month - but this one really stands out. I've just finished it and can scarcely bear to leave the characters and location. Superb - I'm just off to see what other CJ Sansom I can download.
"Worth a listen"
Good scene setting and thoughtful character development. Good fictional account of an alternative ending to the second World War.
"Believable and well researched"
Sonorific voice that suited the main character
In May 1940 the meeting between Halifax Chamberlain and Churchill really did have a slightly surprising outcome - Churchill formed the government - despite the King and much of the Conservative party favouring Halifax - this what if book looks at what would have happened if the meeting had gone the other way.My real life great uncle (a member of the war cabinet) is killed in this book!
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