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Summary

A Radio 4 Book Club Selection.

The year is 1964, and it's a week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Nazi Germany won the Second World War, Churchill is living in exile in Canada, Joseph Kennedy is President of the United States, and King Edward and Queen Wallis are puppet monarchs of the United Kingdom. In this dimension, history took a very different turn in 1942 to the one we are familiar with.

Berlin detective Xavier March is called in to investigate the suspicious death of a retired German senior civil servant. His enquiries lead him to inadvertently uncover a terrifying secret that has so far been hidden from the world, a secret so shocking that it must never be revealed.

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©2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

Critic reviews

"Riveting adaptation...the drama is compelling from its opening sequence." (The Times)

What listeners say about Fatherland (Dramatised)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good - but lacks the depth of book. However good for a couple of hours in car

Good - but too abridged since some the real scene setting in the book has been lost. Does not really capture what a Germany in 1960 still under the third Reich and after holding territory won early in the war might have looked like which comes over so clearly in book. There in the background but you really have to be concentrating to pick it up. Also depends on many sound effects which can be distracting since not always clear what they are meant to represent. However, good precis of original and chilling glimpse of what might have been.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece of radio

This is an atmospheric and brooding adaptation of a good novel by Robert Harris and I would highly recommend it.

Anton Lesser is superb in the role of March, switching from the gentle, loving and violent and all points along the scale. The other characters also play their parts well too but I think he is key.

It is quite clear that the crew making this went for atmosphere and it shows. The use of real background noises and music managed to create something that sounds naturalisic but was the result of effort. From the opening scenes when the phone call which starts the whole story off chimes in with the music, there is such attention to detail.

The final moments are genuinely chilling.

It's an interesting take on "what might have been" if Hitler had won WWII and how America would have reacted. If you like a good thriller, I would recommend this.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

great play

I heard this play when it was first broadcast on the Radio, and thought then that it was one of the best I'd heard. Anton Lesser has a great radio presence, as in the Falco series he has more recently starred in. A good listen, tho an expensive use of a book credit!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

What if...

What if Hitler's Germany won the Second World War...it is a chilling scenario for this dramatisation of this book by Robert Harris. How close was the victory of the allies?

The pace is fast and frightening because this is a future world under a different dominant regime; a world where thought is controlled and speech is not free.

The plot is simple but grippping. The actors make it believable and the betrayals makes it heartbreaking. What does it take to make a world and to make a hero? This book gives one an idea of what a person will do for the things he believes are important.

This chilling tale is definitely worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Not as good as Harris' later works

We're always fascinated by the prospect of alternative history, and in this story, the Germans have won the war and are occupying Britain in 1963.
The first scene presents a chilling picture as to how that may have been, but the subsequent story line is somewhat flawed

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating!

Evil as banal. How would a society based on Nazi principles operate? This story I think gives a good idea.

Anton Lesser is brilliant.

I read the book and enjoyed it but this dramatized audio version is great.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Packs a punch

An inventive radio adaptation that chills and engages from the first moment. Anton Lesser is exceptional in the lead role.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

So as a dramatisation this is pretty good. But if you want the full story then buy the book. An awful lot of the plot, characters and the suspense of the novel are lost in this. but if you haven't read the book before then I think you will enjoy this.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Difficult to hear but good story

Was very difficult to hear a lot of it as too much background noise . Made it very annoying.

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Brilliant

A Fabulous alternative to our history, very thought provoking. I really loved it 10/10 !

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Howie
  • 28-10-06

butchered beyond comprehension

Pass this one by. I read the book a few years ago and thought it was great but this is a 2 hour hatchet job radio play. There are too many voices that come and go with no identification and the whole production is incomprehensible. Whoever did this should have listened to some old radio shows to see how it should be done. But the most annoying aspect of this production is the constant rise and fall in the audio level. If you turn up the volume to be able to hear the many whispered conversations then the normal tones that jump in are deafing. Read the book and forget about this botched attempt at dramatization.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Marvin Friedman
  • 02-09-07

Poor Quality

This appears to be a recording of a stage play. The characters are diffucult to understand and it is difficult to tell which character is talking. The plot is very interesting but the format is not appropriate for audio books. This book appears best read in hard copy or presented differently. Frankly, this is the worst presentation I have gotten from Audible.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • brian
  • 27-06-19

As good as the book.

A well done radio drama of a great book. Anton Lesser is the only cast member I recognized, but the others were all excellent, especially the actor playing Globus, I think that was his nickname.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Guy Ivie
  • 27-01-16

Excellent story and performances to match

An excellent alternate history story, with equally good performances by the cast. They really brought the story to life. Highly recommended.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Carroll
  • 18-04-15

An interesting adaptation of a long novel

The novel was quite long, but I enjoyed the BBC radio adaptation. The use of radio news in the background of some scenes allowed the pace to go much faster than the novel.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • SGC-Northern CA
  • 19-02-15

Difficult to hear/understand

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you're not mobile, and you have a good at-home system in a quiet room, this recording might work.

What was most disappointing about Robert Harris’s story?

Never got far enough into the story to comment. I like the premise, but could not get past the production

Any additional comments?

I think a play is a very difficult thing to listen to, with added background sounds for 'ambience' competing with the dialog. I much prefer a single narrator reading.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dermot
  • 05-04-15

Counter factual history fictionalised

Counter factual history fictionalised to great effect, while the moral that nothing stays buried forever is a moment of hope in a bleak retelling of 'what if' around WWII and Hitler's Germany