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Dominion (2012)

de C. J. Sansom

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1,0695419,473 (3.64)107
C.J. SANSOM REWRITES HISTORY IN A THRILLING NOVEL THAT DARES TO IMAGINE BRITAIN UNDER THE THUMB OF NAZI GERMANY. 1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany. The global economy strains against the weight of the long German war against Russia still raging in the east. The British people find themselves under increasingly authoritarian rule--the press, radio, and television tightly controlled, the British Jews facing ever greater constraints. But Churchill's Resistance soldiers on. As defiance grows, whispers circulate of a secret that could forever alter the balance of the global struggle. The keeper of that secret? Scientist Frank Muncaster, who languishes in a Birmingham mental hospital. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, a spy for the Resistance and University friend of Frank's, is given the mission to rescue Frank and get him out of the country. Hard on his heels is Gestapo agent Gunther Hoth, a brilliant, implacable hunter of men, who soon has Frank and David's innocent wife, Sarah, directly in his sights. C.J. Sansom's literary thriller Winter in Madrid earned Sansom comparisons to Graham Greene, Sebastian Faulks, and Ernest Hemingway. Now, in his first alternative history epic, Sansom doesn't just recreate the past--he reinvents it. In a spellbinding tale of suspense, oppression and poignant love, DOMINION dares to explore how, in moments of crisis, history can turn on the decisions of a few brave men and women--the secrets they choose to keep and the bonds they share.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, brads104, CJForrest, kfitz, JaneDickerson, kwagnerroberts, JoeB1934, coldspur, JFBCore
  1. 70
    Fatherland de Robert Harris (johnny_merc)
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  3. 10
    SS-GB de Len Deighton (Sr_Moreno)
    Sr_Moreno: A better executed version of the same idea.
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British author C J Sansom is best known for his lawyer Matthew Shardlake series, set during the reign of Henry VIII. He's also written one "stand-alone", "Winter in Madrid", which is set in 1940's Spain.

With "Dominion", his latest stand-alone, Sansom returns with an alternative-history novel. What if Britain had sued for peace in May 1940 and a fascist-friendly government had taken over in London? What if the Brits had chaffed under the rule of Germany? What-if, what-if, WHAT-IF? As Sansom states in his afterword, he owes a nod to fellow British author Robert Harris for his counter-factual police procedural "Fatherland", published about 20 years ago.

"Dominion" is a very good read for the arm-chair historian, interested in the 1940s and 1950s. It's less successful as a thriller/procedural. For one thing, the book is simply too long and has too many characters and plot points. And one of the plot points - a secret that both British and German security services are trying to track down - is simply illogical.

But is "Dominion" worth reading? Yup, and part of the reason is the fact that it is a long book with too many characters and plot points. While that sounds counter-intuitive, the reality is that the book challenges the reader to look at history as it might have happened, rather than how it did happen. It also challenged the author to take the facts - real and made-up - and weave them into a narrative that encourages the reader to continue. And I think C J Sansom succeeds.

I am, though, rating the book at 4 stars instead of 5 because of the illogical plot point. ( )
  Jawin | Jun 3, 2024 |
Londres, 1952. La Segunda Guerra Mundial no ha ocurrido. Inglaterra se rindió a los nazis y así comenzó una de las épocas más oscuras de su historia. Mientras en el frente ruso prosigue la larga y encarnizada guerra, el pueblo británico vive sometido a un gobierno siniestro y autoritario. Sin embargo, el número de los que desafían dicha situación va en aumento. La Resistencia, encabezada por el propio Churchill, representa una espina cada vez más dolorosa para el gobierno.
  Natt90 | Nov 8, 2022 |
This is my first, no, second encounter with alternative history. At least, that I'm aware of.
I liked the book a whole lot. Not that I'm very familiar with British politics in general and of the '50's in particular, but the plot sounded plausible and it made me think about what could have happened if.... What would have been different, how would things have turned out.
We'll never know, of course, but it was nice to think about it.
Liked the epilogue as well, shed some more light on the historical background (the real one). ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 27, 2021 |
Just not working for me. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
It is 1952 and in the UK the people are ruled by a puppet government that submitted to the Nazi government in 1940 after the disaster of Dunkirk. Churchill is in hiding, and the anti German feeling and the boldness of the UK resistance is growing week on week. Germany is fighting Russia, still, a long and protracted war that seems to have no end. Hitler is still in charge of most of Europe, but is suffering from health issues and hasn’t been seen for a long time. As his power wains, the jostle between the Army and the SS starts for control. The puppet government in Britain finally cedes to the Germans request and starts rounding up Jewish people with prior to deportation to the east.

David is a minor civil servant working in the Dominion department, with a secret that not even his wife knows. He has anti German sympathies and he is approached by his university friend to work for the resistance by providing secret material to them. He befriends another lady in the same department, and surreptitiously obtains her key to the secret cabinet. He has a couple of close shaves whilst in copying secret documents, but one tiny error leaves him exposed. Following the tragic death of their child, his wife thinks he is having an affair, but when she finds out his real role, and is questioned by the authorities, she is drawn in to the activities of the resistance reluctantly.

Frank Muncaster is a scientist and a another university friend of David. His brother is now lives in America and is working on the atomic project, but is over to for their mother’s funeral. They have never got on, and they have a massive argument in Frank’s flat where Frank is told some of the secrets that xxx knows. He pushes him out the window, where he breaks his arm. Frank is deemed to be mad, and is sent to a mental hospital for treatment. Both the SS and the resistance realise that he holds the secret to the new weapons that America is developing, and both go to see him and visit his flat.

As David’s spying is exposed, he and his cell look at extracting Frank from the mental hospital and getting him to America with his secret. And so begins a tense race between the resistance cell moving Frank across the country and the authorities trying to track them down until the thrilling ending.

Sansom has done a reasonably good job here of a speculative future of a post WWII Britain where Churchill was never made PM and the fascists take over the running of the country. The elements of the plot are good too, from the gloomy despondent population that are slowly being oppressed, but have a glimmer of hope from the resistance under Churchill, to a Germany poised on the edge of civil war.

Well worth reading.
( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 54 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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.
adicionado por souloftherose | editarThe Guardian, Mark Lawson (Dec 6, 2012)
 
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.
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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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Whenever a party tells you national identity matters more than anything else in politics, that nationalism can sort out all the other problems, then watch out, because you're on a road that can end with fascism. Even if it doesn't, the idea that nationality's some sort of magic that can make other problems disappear, it's like believin' in fairies. And of course nationalists always have to have an enemy, the English or the French or the Jews, there always has tae be some other bugger that's caused all the problems.
There's a physicist in America who thinks the world we live in is only one of millions of parallel worlds, existing alongside each other, each different in tiny little ways. Maybe worlds where everyone is happy.
People dividing each other up according to nationality and religion, it's the worst thing, it causes nothing but misery and bloodshed.
Frank hated drink, it loosened people's inhibitions and inhibitions were the only things that kept them from savagery.
Didn't Gandhi say peaceful protest only works if those you're protesting against are capable of being shamed?
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C.J. SANSOM REWRITES HISTORY IN A THRILLING NOVEL THAT DARES TO IMAGINE BRITAIN UNDER THE THUMB OF NAZI GERMANY. 1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany. The global economy strains against the weight of the long German war against Russia still raging in the east. The British people find themselves under increasingly authoritarian rule--the press, radio, and television tightly controlled, the British Jews facing ever greater constraints. But Churchill's Resistance soldiers on. As defiance grows, whispers circulate of a secret that could forever alter the balance of the global struggle. The keeper of that secret? Scientist Frank Muncaster, who languishes in a Birmingham mental hospital. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, a spy for the Resistance and University friend of Frank's, is given the mission to rescue Frank and get him out of the country. Hard on his heels is Gestapo agent Gunther Hoth, a brilliant, implacable hunter of men, who soon has Frank and David's innocent wife, Sarah, directly in his sights. C.J. Sansom's literary thriller Winter in Madrid earned Sansom comparisons to Graham Greene, Sebastian Faulks, and Ernest Hemingway. Now, in his first alternative history epic, Sansom doesn't just recreate the past--he reinvents it. In a spellbinding tale of suspense, oppression and poignant love, DOMINION dares to explore how, in moments of crisis, history can turn on the decisions of a few brave men and women--the secrets they choose to keep and the bonds they share.

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