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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite Deighton books
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...
Published on 11 Jun. 2011 by Mr. A. J. KNEALE

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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Fatherland' it ain't!
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...
Published on 4 Jan. 2011 by Mme DLR


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite Deighton books, 11 Jun. 2011
This review is from: SS-GB (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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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant "altenative history" thriller - vintage Deighton, 16 July 2004
By 
T. D. Welsh (Basingstoke, Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: SS-GB (Paperback)
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. Tension starts to build with the abrupt arrival of SS Standartenfuehrer Huth from Berlin - a man who stands for no nonsense, works for Himmler, and has dauntingly direct methods. Can the Resistance exploit tensions between the German Army and the SS to rescue the King? What is the secret of the scientist who is found shot dead, apparently suffering from an extreme case of sunburn? Add a beautiful American journalist, a sinister British secret service officer, a US military expedition, sundry criminals, black-marketeers and collaborators, stir vigorously... and get ready for some stunning entertainment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SS-GB, 27 Nov. 2011
This review is from: SS-GB (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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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 "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: SS-GB (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 
This review is from: SS-GB (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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3.0 out of 5 stars At times implausible and contrived, 28 May 2012
This review is from: SS-GB (Paperback)
Set in a 1942 Britain where Germany has won and occupies Southern Britain, the well depicted background is the set for our hero, a Met superintendent, to investigate a murder, but a murder that is tied up with The resistance, plans for nuclear bombs and a feud between different elements of the German authorities. It is spoilt by some unlikely coincidences and the difficulty of believing that German interservices rivalries would be so deep that one side might collude with the Resistance against their countrymen. The Met superintendent seems also to have such a charmed life that you cease worrying what might happen to him. That said, the scenario is well described, the consequences of occupation realistic and the tale rattles along. The writing is good although not great literature.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful mystery set in Nazi-occupied Britain, 17 Dec. 2009
By 
MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: SS-GB (Paperback)
What happens when one's commitment to their duty conflicts with their loyalty to their country? That is the dilemma facing Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer in Len Deighton's alternate history scenario. A leading member of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, he finds himself working for the German occupation in the aftermath of their conquest of Great Britain. This tension becomes unavoidable when Archer is called upon to investigate the murder of a man found in an apartment in Shepherd Market. Though initially unremarkable, the case quickly draws attention from the highest circles of the German government, as Archer finds himself pulled into a dangerous world of political intrigue that forces him to resolve his priorities and take a side - no matter what the cost.

Deighton's book is an dramatic story of intrigue in a world that might have been. He does not explain how Britain was defeated or what the point of divergence was, leaving details to trickle out naturally as they would in a normal conversation, without any of the clunky exposition too many writers adopt when explaining the worlds they have constructed. Instead his focus is on the plot and characters, as he constructs a grim yet plausible world in which a depressed population is still coming to terms with their defeat. The mystery itself unfolds gradually, and while some readers may figure out the particulars fairly quickly Deighton still puts together an ending that is difficult to forecast before getting there. Taken together, it makes for one of the best alternate history novels ever written, as well as a suspenseful tale that readers who are not familiar with the genre will enjoy nonetheless.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So so..., 1 April 2015
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This review is from: SS-GB (Kindle Edition)
While I am a huge fan of Deighton's Samson books, this one let me down. It's a great idea that was also explored by Robert Harris but the central character in SS-GB has none of the charm and wit of Bernard Samson and he is somewhat reactive. There was a horrible story logic problem near the end where a character appeared at the beginning of a crucial scene and then was absent and I felt that the wonderfully detailed research of Nazi hierarchy and the 'what if' scenario of what would have happened if the UK had been invaded by the Nazis had taken over the narrative. I didn't hate this book and needed to get to the end but it pales next to the sheer magic of the Samson books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'We were all caught in the cross-fire.', 23 Jan. 2013
This review is from: SS-GB (Paperback)
Len Deighton's 'SS-GB' is a book full of twists and torment, It is based on a several dichotomies: 1941 Britain is split between those who profit from Britain's defeat and those who don't, suffering an existence which reminded me of Oceania in Orwell's '1984; political and military conflict exists between British resistance and German occupying forces; and German authority consists of rivalries and deceits between competing elements such as the Wehmacht, Abwehr, SS, and SD - having taught Nazism Germany at AL History level I know that such rivalries were largely encouraged by Hitler. It is this last dichotomy which provides my title.
The central character is Superintendent Douglas Archer who's investigating a murder. However, it soon appears that 'Archer of the Yard' is only sometimes on top of events and more often behind. I far prefer the enigmatic figures of Standartenfuerher Oskar Huth ( the cold SS agent of Himmler) and Gruppenfuehrer/ General Fritz Keller, the avuncular boss of police who hate each other but are they also rivals for political reasons? Sergeant Harry Woodswho hates the 'Herberts' but is he something else? The shadowy Mayhew appears the manipulator but is he really?.
Of course, the confusion / mystery dominating the book depends on the reader seeing events through Archer's eyes. This produces distortion of personalities and half-truths in analysis. By the end I was OVER-adjusting for this approach. So full marks to Len Deighton. It may well require serious adjustment by the reader when the solutions are produced.
One possible spin-off for those interested in the period arises from the excellent creation of a Britain defeated in 1940 is to challenge oneself with what MIGHT have happened if had that happened. Would Hitler have attacked the USSR in June 1941 (probably yes) and, if so, would the Russians have collapsed by December 1941 (POSSIBLY yes)and, if so, would Hitler declared war on America - if not, would America have fought Hitler. And..... the list is endless and reminds one just how crucial was the time when Britain stood alone vs. Nazism and survived.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worhwhile read, 13 May 2012
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This review is from: SS-GB (Kindle Edition)
Having read a few of Deighton's books, I knew what I was getting myself into. It was heavy going to start with, London, post Nazi victory, but more a combination of detective and spy, plenty of intrigue & twists, and far less political than I expected. Deighton is a meticulous narrator, and his description of life under Nazi rule is chilling. The book reads better than my review, it was hard to put in down in places, and that makes a great book in my mind
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SS-GB
SS-GB by Len Deighton (Paperback - 28 May 2009)
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