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Dominion (2012)

av C. J. Sansom

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
8565318,550 (3.62)95
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.… (mer)
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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 |
An enjoyable counterfactual thriller - reminded me in parts of Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America", particularly in its depiction of how fascism and anti-semitism could've taken hold outside Nazi Germany given the right conditions. It's not without its flaws - for example, I felt that the characters sometimes spent too much time telling each other things about themselves, which occasionally made the narrative a bit clunky. On the other hand, the depiction of day-to-day life in a depressed, grey London under the thumb of an increasingly authoritarian police state is convincing and atmospheric - and it is a genuine page-turner.

It seems some reviewers have got a bit exercised over historical "accuracy" - and it may well be that if you have in-depth knowledge of the period, certain aspects of the book are bound to rankle (so perhaps a certain level of ignorance is bliss - I'm sure it was in my case!). But it's important to remember we're dealing with a counterfactual here - so who's to say how certain historical figures would've behaved given different circumstances/pressures. ( )
  Paul_Samael | Nov 9, 2019 |
Fieldnotes:
London/Birmingham, Alternate 1952

Alternate History
Nazi Infighting
Resistance Cells

1 Man Bizarrely Beloved of Every Woman he Meets (with a secret)
1 Painfully Socially Anxious Geologist (with a Secret)
1 Mysterious Artist Resistance Femme Fatale (with a secret)
1 Cheerfully Naive Communist (also with a secret)

1 Unfortunate Record-Keeper Not-So-Secretly in Love with David
1 Pacifist Wife Slowly Radicalised by the Violence around Her
1 Not-So-Safe House

1 Gestapo People-Hunter Struggling to Live up to his Idealized Dead Twin
1 Ambitious Torture-Happy British Special Branch Inspector
1 American Submarine
Cyanide Capsules

1 Excellently Employed Fire-Truck
Churchill

The Short Version:
In 1940, instead of Churchill, Lord Halifax became the Prime Minister after Chamberlain stepped down. Britain surrendered after the disaster at Dunkirk and the Norway campaign and became a steadfast ally of Nazi Germany, who have a military base on the Isle of Wight. Increasingly, Mosley's Blackshirts and similar authoritarian and fascist factions are gaining power and, much as was seen in Germany, the Auxiliary Police are becoming increasingly violent in their confrontations with Communists, "Jive Boys" and union leaders. Not to mention that anti-Semitism is on the rise; and seeking closer economic ties with Germany, the UK begins their own round-up of Jews.

Our hero, David Fitzgerald, is a civil servant in the Dominions Office, who keeps his politics close to his chest. David and his wife, Sarah (who is from a pacifist family) have been growing apart after the tragic death of their son, Charlie, and David struggles to find meaning in an increasingly futile position. So when an old school friend taps David for the Resistance to photograph secret documents, David joins a cell of Resistance workers including the lovely and mysterious Slovakian artist, Natalia.

And David's big chance comes when another old school friend of his, the chronically anxious Frank Muncaster, who was badly bullied at school and trusts no one, learns a secret the Gestapo (and the British equivalent) are eager to get their hands on. David must help break Frank out of the asylum where he is being held and spirit him out of the country (or ensure he dies trying). But Germany has sent Gunther Hoth, their best Gestapo hunter of people, to track them down.

I enjoyed the thriller aspects of this story and how Sansom painstakingly built up the plausability of his alternate universe. There was a great sense of dread underlying much of the first section of the novel, especially once Gunther and Syme begin tracking Frank. Unfortunately, after a raid of the Resistance safe-house (and perhaps a bit before to be honest), the book spends rather too much time with everyone being in love with David for no apparent reason & him simply not having to actually deal with the emotional fallout of any of his decisions. If we were going to make this a simple action-based thriller, fine. But we spend a lot of time trying to build up these characters' relationships and feelings, so not having a pay-off there was disappointing. (sorry if too vague - trying to avoid spoilers!)

For me, the novel ran out of steam in the last 100 pages or so when it should have been building to a climax - it felt a bit paint-by-numbers and I just wasn't invested in the characters any more...especially when everyone kept telling me how wonderful a man David was, and I just wasn't shown anything that made me believe it... ( )
2 rösta Caramellunacy | Jan 25, 2019 |
Well thought through alternate history. In my view a bit too long but worth the read. Pacey finish. ( )
  morusss | Jan 23, 2019 |
A long book in need of a good editing. I would have given 2.75 if that was an option. I enjoyed the general setting, and the main plot had potential. The getting to the end of the plot was a little ham fisted in my opinion. It's a shame as the general premise of the book should mean that I love this sort of novel, unfortunately it just wasn't particularly well executed. It did read reasonably quick though, despite the 700 pages. It really did not need to be this long.

Some of the characters felt a little unreal, and the dialogue was also a bit wooden and felt contrived. I appreciate the setting was historical, but I don't believe that people spoke like clichés back then either. One character in particular which I found ill conceived was Sarah Fitzgerald, she read a little bit like a cut out and keep character from a book of stereotypical women. In general I just didn't really care what happened to the majority of the characters.

The world was well imagined and the smog part of the final half was an interesting element to the story. I don't think I would be looking at any more books from this author. ( )
  fothpaul | Aug 12, 2018 |
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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.
 
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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Sansom, C. J.primär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Frydenlund, John ErikÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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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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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.

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