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SS-GB [Kindle Edition]

Len Deighton
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Review

‘A brilliant picture of Britain under German rule’ Sunday Telegraph

‘One of Deighton’s best. Apart from his virtues as a storyteller, his passion for researching his backgrounds gives his work a remarkable factual authority. With Bomber and Fighter he established himself as an expert on a period… the authority of these books seem absolute.’ The Observer

‘Len Deighton is the Flaubert of the contemporary thriller writers… there can be little doubt that this is much the way things would have turned out if the Germans had won the war.’ Michael Howard, Times Literary Supplement

‘Deighton is a tremendous weaver of tales… action is all, and splendidly done.’

‘A master of fictional espionage.’ Daily Mail

‘The poet of the spy story.’ Sunday Times

‘For sheer readability he has no peer’ The Standard

Product Description

In February 1941 British Command surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the Tower and the SS are in Whitehall…

For nine months Britain has been occupied - a blitzed, depressed and dingy country. However, it’s ‘business as usual’ at Scotland Yard run by the SS when Detective Inspector Archer is assigned to a routine murder case. Life must go on.

But when SS Standartenfuhrer Huth arrives from Berlin with orders from the great Himmler himself to supervise the investigation, the resourceful Archer finds himself caught up in a high level, all action, espionage battle.

This is a spy story quite different from any other. Only Deighton, with his flair for historical research and his narrative genius, could have written it.


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More About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite Deighton books 11 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback
This book does not feature pitched battles between the resistance and the Germans, but a real "what if" scenario. Life under Nazi rule, as experienced in many European countries, was oppressive, dull and dangerous. The central character, a police detective, has to work with the new masters, and make the best of it. The petty rivalry between the German army and the SS is exposed, and is a central factor in the story. And the machinations of the British politicians as they try to avoid being suspected by the Germans is as frustrating as it is realistic. A really great and underrated novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SS-GB 27 Nov 2011
By pat
Format:Paperback
Intriguing story which you probably need to read twice to understand fully. A glossary for the German officer titles would have been very helpful. I preferred Bomber but still enjoyed this.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By T. D. Welsh TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's November 1941 in Nazi-occupied Britain, and Detective Inspector Archer of Scotland Yard finds himself reporting to SS Gruppenfuehrer Fritz Kellermann. The King is a prisoner in the Tower of London; Churchill has been shot after a brief trial in Berlin; Germany and the USSR are still the best of friends; and the USA is reluctant to intervene. Austerity holds Britain in its icy grip, with luxuries more or less limited to the German occupying forces and those who succeed in ingratiating themselves.

The successful invasion left swathes of ruin and destruction that have not yet been repaired. The blackened shell of a Panzer IV tank still sits halfway up Wimbledon high street. Anyone violating curfew, or breaking regulations, is likely to be shot or sent to a concentration camp. Yet there is no point in rebellion - that would just get more people killed. Apparently, the only way forward is to cooperate with the Germans. Kellermann hints to Archer that his young son might possibly attend the good German school in Highgate... On the other hand, perhaps he should be sent to a training school for young Nazis in Germany.

While developing one of his usual opaque plots, Deighton cleverly shows the dilemma facing Archer and others in positions of responsibility. We see the British resistance as more like the present-day Iraqi insurgency ("terrorists, thugs and diehards") than in the heroic light that has retrospectively fallen on those who fought the Nazis after their countries had surrendered.

As usual in a Deighton story, it is no use trying to work out which side anyone is on. Mostly, each of the leading players is on his (or her) own side. The question is: who can profit most by cooperating with whom? The answers turn out to be surprising indeed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternate history of World War 2 30 Oct 2009
By Mark Shackelford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In this complex reworking of history, the Germans won the second world war in 1941 and now rule Britain. The story line weaves several layers - a murder story seen through the eyes of a British Scotland Yard Superintendent, a plot to rescue the King from the Tower of London, and a desparate race of the main nations (US, USSR and Germany) to be the first to create the atomic bomb - and rule the world.

With many Deighton books it is hard to determine who are the good guys and who are the bad guys - and this is no exception. We have an English Resistance "army" who are not as good as they ought to be, some "good" coppers, a variety of upper class Brits (up to no good), a beautiful American reporter, and so many different flavours of SS, SA, SP, SIPO each of who are trying to outdo the others that it all gets a bit confusing, and one needs a bit of a lie down.

After a slowish start the pace picks up and gets pretty exciting towards the end. Highly recommended for alternate history fans.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Fatherland' it ain't! 4 Jan 2011
By Mme DLR
Format:Paperback
I'm a big fan of alternate history especially ones where the Nazis win the WW2 - but somehow SS-GB managed to slip beneath my radar till someone bought it for me for Christmas.

I have to say I was disappointed. Maybe it was because I was hoping it to be like 'Fatherland' too much but my expectations were dashed. It begins well but lost me about half-way through for several reasons. The characters aren't strong enough (Douglas just isn't sufficiently engaging to carry the book; I didn't care about him), the plot is overly complicated with too many strands (is it about the Bomb or rescuing the king?), the tone... well, all a bit depressing. The love story also failed to convince and seemed to fizzle out in the last quarter. I was expecting some kind of twist with Barbara. I won't give away what happens but it's certainly anti-climatic. Maybe it's the girlie-romantic in me, but if you're going to put a love strand in it should go somewhere (compare March and Charlie in 'Fatherland').

On the plus side I liked Len Deighton's version of Nazi-occupied Britain and it certainly seems well researched and authentic. It's quite well written and the prose is engaging enough. There are some good jokes too amongst all the doom and gloom.

Perhaps it just got me on a bad day. Or maybe 'Fatherland' has raised the bar too high on these kinds of book. SS-GB = good but not great.

PS - great cover though!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it as much as I did when I first read it 22 July 2011
Format:Paperback
I am quite fond of "what if" novels.This one is really well thought out and to my mind and that of of my late father,who was a young army officer at that time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
interesting read
Published 1 month ago by M. Ball
2.0 out of 5 stars Up to where I'd read it gave little idea of what the author expected...
Little depth of characterisation with whole host of characters seemingly just thrown in. The introduction says it is written form the point of view of he policeman but it's not... Read more
Published 2 months ago by JPW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An extremely enjoyable read.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Bit of a hard read and hard to follow
Published 2 months ago by Alan W
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced and Believable
A book for those who enjoy ripping good yarns, with an added dose of history and deception. A good introduction to the author.
Published 2 months ago by Miss B Cummings
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for fogs.
To me, Len Deighton can do no wrong. I feel as if his books are written specifically for me.SS-GB is no exception. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tony Hip
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
to much about grades of officer a very bleak book kept waiting for something to happen and it didn't
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. M. Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written What-If Story
A good what-if story well executed with surprising twists and turns: a good rad.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Stephen F. Male
4.0 out of 5 stars Great action from the author of the impress file
a well researched thriller giving a realistic backdrop to a great story.Britain under german rule trying to come to terms with losing the war and how to carry on with day to day... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Steven
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite the literary journey I imagined.
One can't doubt Len Deighton status has an established author. Found the story rather fanciful and drawn out. Probably because I am of the age that can challenge the story line.
Published 5 months ago by David Whild
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