The book is based in an alternative history where Winston Churchill gives up his claim to become the British Prime Minister when Neville Chamberlain steps down from the position in 1940. Because Churchill was not there to push the war effort, Britain surrenders to Germany after the failed Dunkirk campaign and becomes a close ally to the Germans. Also, because of politics in America, the U.S. does not enter the war with Germany, leaving the Germans to sure up their Western front and focus all of their military forces against the Russians.
Twelve years after the defeat at Dunkirk, Britain looks a very different place. Churchill and his anti-fascist supporters have gone into hiding forming ‘The Resistance’, which aims to remove the German hands that are poised around Britain’s throat. Meanwhile, with the support of the Nazis, a fascist government is set up in Britain which aims to copy the totalitarian state of Germany. In amongst this political and social turmoil there is David, a civil service worker who works in the Dominions office. After the death of his son and the ever growing presence of the Nazis in British politics, David becomes a member of The Resistance and passes information onto the Resistance from the Dominions office. However, David’s position in The Resistance becomes much more important. News arrives that one of his old University friends my hold information which could aid the Nazis. David is tasked with getting his friend (Frank) out of the mental hospital he is currently living in and has to transport him safely out of the UK.
However, the task is made much harder by a German policeman called Gunther Hoth. Gunther is on the tail of Frank and suspects that his secret may be about the American Nuclear Program, which the Germans are desperate to get their hands on! The chase and flight of Frank and David is gripping! But who will succeed? Will the Germans gain the A-Bomb and finish their war with Russia or will David and Frank get away?
As you could probably guess from above; I thought this book was amazing. I love C. J. Sansom and am so glad he released this book because I love these alternative history novels. I would suggest this book to anyone who liked Sansom’s other 20th century novel; Winter in Madrid or to anyone who is a fan of Robert Harris’s book Fatherland (which I’m giving away btw). Also, if you have any interest in this period of history, I think you’d really enjoy this book!
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