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Very different from the TV Series
on 24 March 2017
If, like me, you came to this book having seen the TV series, of the same name, this is quite different. So a little explanation to start with.
Though many of the characters share the same names; Frank Frink, Mr Tagomi, Juliana, Joe and others, most are a little different from their TV counterpart. Robert Childan, the Americana salesman longing to be socially accepted by his high class Japanese clientele, is most like the TV character. Absent from the story in the original book are Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith, head of the American Nazis, (in fact we never visit the Nazi part of America) and the American resistance movement. That said, if you want an interesting read this book is certainly that!
This is an alternate history of America. The Nazis and Japanese won World War Two and America is split between the two powers. Japan runs the Pacific coast and the east of America is run by the Nazis. Between these two areas is a kind of neutral zone formed by the Rocky Mountains.
For much of the first half of the book the characters are introduced and the New world order, and how it came about, is explained. We learn of a book banned by the Nazis, called "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" in which Japan and Germany lose the war. The Author is known as "The man in the high castle", as he apparently lives in a well guarded hide out.
The plot really starts to pan out in the second half as Juliana, having met Joe in the neutral states, sets out to find the book's author. Joe says he'll take her, claiming to have fought in North Africa with the Italian army during the war. As they travel Juliana starts to doubt him.
Back in San Francisco Mr Tagomi becomes involved in an attempt by peaceful factions from Japan and Germany to prevent a war between the two powers.
In the Reich a power struggle is taking place that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.
To say more would spoil the book. It is interesting and thoughtful, but if you are expecting a written version of the TV series be prepared for a different experience.