Fatherland is set in an alternative world where Hitler has won the Second World War. It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday.
Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich.
And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth - a truth that could topple governments and change history.
©1992 Robert Harris (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This is an excellent novel which is gripping from beginning to end. Each of the twists and turns draws you further into the story.
It is enhanced further by the way that it is interweaved with real historical events and characters, creating a convincing and compelling alternative historical scenario.
The narration is also excellent and complements the book well.
All in all, highly recommended.
'Fatherland' is a fantastic 'what-if' novel. It posits the frequently asked question, 'what would have happened had Germany won the Second World War?'
In Robert Harris' novel, it is fast approaching Hitler's 75th birthday, and Germany is completely in control of the European continent, and Britain is very much a vassal state. Only America remains free - and they have been undergoing the same kind of Cold War relationship with Germany which they had with the USSR in real life.
Harris focusses his novel on Detective March, who works for the Berlin police. March is called to investigate the discovery of a body floating in a river, and the investigation leads him to the awful truth about the Holocaust. In Harris' imagined Germany, the average German has chosen to believe the lies about 'resettlement' propagated by the Nazis (or at least don't question them too much). There has never been any investigation, and certainly no facts to back up all the rumours. Yet it is exactly these facts which March discovers - indisputable documentary evidence about the Holocaust, which he is determined to smuggle to America so that the truth can be announced to the world. He is aided in this by a female American journalist (who is a somewhat uninteresting and uninspired character). March is far more interesting: a police officer who has devoted years of his life to catching criminals and bringing them to justice, who is now coming to the realisation that in fact the state he serves is the most guilty and criminal of all.
The novel is fast-paced, and the narration is excellent, creating a real sense of characterisation. Harris has obviously done his research - his descriptions of Berlin are superb, doing a good job of describing the over-the-top architecture envisaged by Hitler and his chief architect, Speer. Harris intersperses genuine history (including quotations from Hitler and Himmler) with all too believable alternate history.
Good book, very interesting set up in the Third Reich. But it would have been nice, if the narrator had a better knowledge of the German language and it’s pronounciation, in order not to bellow out all German words in a very inappropriate way.
I consider this one of Robert Harris' very best books. Having read it as a book some years ago, I wanted to get reaquainted, this time as an audiobook.
Narrator Michael Jayston never gets in the way between author and listener. In fact I am impressed that all the German expressions and names are handled that accurately - not perfectly, but nevertheless admirably.
Recommended without any reservation.
Very intrequing and believable scenario. Michael Jayston has the perfect voice for this tale. Hard to believe I could like an SS officer but Mr Harris brings it off!
I am really surprised that some people criticize this book or the narrator. I don't usually like fiction but this book was really a great listen...
Excellent storyline and an interesting twist on the ?what if? scenario had the allies succumbed to Hitler?s tyranny.
Also an excellent alternative to 1984 without so much of the deep discussions within that (also excellent) novel. Well worth a listen.
As long as you don't approach this book expecting a rhetoric masterpiece, it is a well written, very thrilling and exciting book.
It is very much a cliff-hanger type book, but you will struggle to put it down. It is nerve-wrecking throughout as the Gestapo become more interested in the protagonists anti-social activities. The feeling of terror as the tyrannical government seeps into every aspect of life is present throughout. It is deeply reminiscent of the time but with an modern spin.
Interesting, exciting and, above all, an easy listen!
This truly is a gripping story, well-written and plausible, but as has been said, why, oh why did the narrator not get some instruction in how to pronounce German words? For anyone who speaks German, it is extremely grating to hear the strange attempts made.
Otherwise great, though...sorry to sound pedantic.
Have long been a fan of Robert Harris and Fatherland is up to his normal excellent standard. The claustrophobia of the Fatherland is brought vividly to life and the story detail is as rich as ever. The book is superbly read by Michael Jayston who brings depth to all the characters, indeed Globotchnik is terrific. If you liked Archangel you'll love this, if you haven't heard either, buy them both!
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