Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “SS-GB” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Len Deighton
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,800 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
It is 1941. England has surrendered to the Nazi's. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the Tower and the SS are in Whitehall. For nine months Britain has been occupied and it's now a blitzed, depressed and dingy country. But in Hitler's Britain, although detection is a little different, murder is still murder...
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Chivers Audio Books (first published August 24th 1978)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about SS-GB, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Mark Adkins No unfortunately this is a stand-alone novel. As interesting as it would be to see what happens to Superintendent Douglas Archer and Sergeant Harry…moreNo unfortunately this is a stand-alone novel. As interesting as it would be to see what happens to Superintendent Douglas Archer and Sergeant Harry Woods especially after the revelations at the end of the book, we never get to.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 12, 2015 Checkman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alternative History buffs, WWII buffs
In 2012 we are swamped with alternative history novels and/or series. In my opinion what was once an fun little genre has become overloaded and overdone. It's become commercialized and much of the fun has been sucked out as a result. Of course the other possibility is that I've just gotten older and my tastes have changed.

Whatever the reason for my feelings regarding the AH genre I do still enjoy the occasional foray into the field. SS-GB was one of the first AH novels that I ever read and it w
Jan 26, 2016 Marijan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
majstor ostaje majstor, ma o čemu pisao. Deighton je maestralno spojio svoju vještinu pisanja političkih trilera i svoje znanje povijesti drugog svjetskog rata u uzbudljivu knjigu iz žanra 'kako je moglo biti', i kako u posebnim okolnostima nešto tako banalno kao što je istraga ubojstva može posati...posebno. Kraj me pomalo iznenadio, i zbog osjećaja koji ostavlja smanjio ocjenu za jednu zvjezdicu.
vidjet ćemo što će BBC napraviti od toga svega...
Kris McCracken
Jun 13, 2016 Kris McCracken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting premise: police procedural set during an alternative timeline in which Nazi Germany had succeeded in invading the UK and avoided war with the Soviet Union. Deighton builds a plausible world in which the UK faces a military occupation à la France, and our central character struggles to maintain his day to day existence as homicide detective in Scotland Yard serving under SS commanders.

While Deighton struggles with his female characters - really, they seem to exist as empty c
Michael Burnam-fink
Dec 27, 2014 Michael Burnam-fink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, 2014
I picked this up on a whim, having head Deighton described as a master of the understated spy thriller. This is that, and more. Even in Nazi occupied Germany, peopled are shot and murderers have to be investigated. But this being a novel, nothing is simple, and our protagonist, Douglas Archer, finds himself drawn into a deadly web of intrigue between factions in the SS, Wehrmacht, and the struggling British Resistance.

The characters and plot are nothing that stands out, but that's all part of t
Dimitrije Vojnov
Pročitao sam SS-GB Lena Deightona, izvorno podstaknut vešću da BBC sprema ekranizaciju ali i dodatno inspirisan Ratkovim preporukama. I zbilja, uživao sam u ovom romanu. SS-GB kreće kao klasičan whodunit krimić i vremenom se transformiše u špijunski roman, ali zapravo, kada se podvuče crta, formalno od početka do kraja ostaje dosledno baziran na detektivskoj formi sa nadovezivanjem na “povratnu strukturu” krimića u više navrata.

Međutim, taj spoj detektivskog romana i špijunca nije jedino osvežen
Deighton does a great job in describing a Nazi-occupied Great Britain. Well thought-out, the occupation structure and details could well be real, and this makes this book a very interesting book.

The plot itself is nothing spectacular, but does hold and is entertaining to say the least.

All in all, a page-turner and probably quite better than Jo Walton's Ha'penny and farthing.
May 13, 2015 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fictional tale about a Scotland Yard detective caught up in German intrigue in Nazi occupied London. Book was very good in describing what daily life in London may have been like under German rule, the actual detective story line was less interesting.
This is a Cold War espionage thriller transported into an alternative history world. Nazi Germany had invaded Britain; in February 1941 British armed forces surrendered. By November 1941 Britain is completely occupied by the Germans; life there is as pathetic as in occupied France in our timeline. The King is under house arrest at the Tower of London; Winston Churchill has been shot; a Royal Navy Rear Admiral declared himself the leader of Free Britain in Halifax, the way Charles de Gaulle decla ...more
Elliott Cross
Aug 06, 2013 Elliott Cross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 13, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
It's fun to find yourself getting indignant at Deighton's imagined Second World War. Took a bit of Churchill to help me calm down:

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to
Pedro Fragoso
Oct 28, 2014 Pedro Fragoso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finished Jo Walton's Small Change Trilogy, about a Britain appeased and at peace with Germany in an imaginary, alternate, aftermath of World War II, and having enjoyed it enormously, I decided to explore more on the subject and identified 3 more books, these with Britain under German occupation. Len Deighton's SS-GB was first in line. I found it surprisingly good. It is an espionage thriller by an author that clearly excels in the genre; but it also has a depth, a gravitas, and a love of ...more
Apr 22, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favs, wwg, classics, 100, hist
So me an my great grandmother would trade books and she really loves books about WWII and the era. I was watching a show on the History Channel about what would have been different if the Nazi's won the war and so on. I explained to her that they had shows and books such as The Man in the High Castle she thought this was an amazing idea and couldn't wait to read about. I hadn't heard about SS-GB until I went looking for good alt-fictions books I saw a couple blogs and listopia's recommend it. An ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of Deighton's third person novels, an alternate history that assumes Britain surrendered in February 1941 and is now occupied by Nazi Germany. Our protagonist is Douglas Archer, "Archer of the Yard," a brilliant homicide detective with London's Metropolitan Police. Archer is in his thirties, a widower with a young son who is doing the best he can given the circumstances. Archer's immediate boss is a genial SS Gruppenfuhrer, Fritz Kellermann, who is very sympathetic on the surface ...more
Mark Adkins
SS-GB by Len Deighton is an alternative history novel that takes place in 1941's England. But this is not the England you are used to, in this timeline Germany was successful in Operation Sea Lion (the German invasion of Great Britain) and now occupies the country and King George VI is held captive in the Tower of London.

Besides being an alternative history novel this is a detective/espionage novel as is starts off with the protagonist Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer being assigned what
May 27, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Len Deighton — very enjoyable, though feels a division below my favourite, John Le Carré (even in his weaker works). The setting is occupied London, in the aftermath of a shorter World War Two where the Nazis won, and the protagonist is a conflicted but professional Scotland Yard detective. It starts as a normal-enough murder investigation, but with inevitably more significant implications and repercussions. The story is solid, and enjoyable, though slightly overly convoluted at times, ...more
This book turned out better than I thought it would be. My youngest brother had it on his shelf, which inspired me to read it. That, and my finding out it was an 'alternate history' tale about what happens after Germany wins its invasion of the British Isles in 1940. Although it moved at a 'slower pace' than many novels due to today, it still held my interest throughout the entire book. Having said that, I did not have any problems putting the book down until toward the end.

The story starts out
Oct 02, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what Britain could have been like under German occupation in 1940-41 - & it would not have been pretty! Len Deighton marshals all his skills as a story-teller & his deep knowledge of the arcane aspects of the Nazi hierarchy & internecine feuds to thrilling effect.His hero Detective Inspector Douglas Archer of Scotland Yard has to negotiate his way through the minefields & booby-traps of a complex political situation to save the world from evil-minded Germans with atomic w ...more
This is a cracking alternate history novel about a British policeman working for the occupiers in a world where the Germans successfully invaded Britain in 1940. It is good at evoking the grim realities and moral compromises of life under occupation. As a thriller writer Deighton is also able to keep the plot trotting along and avoid dull exposition.

One key plot element of this book (the female US journalist) recurs in Fatherland by Robert Harris, a similar alternate history novel about a cop wh
Jan 06, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this "alternative history" of WWII. England is invaded by Germany early in the war and capitulates without American help or intervention. Within a few months, Scotland Yard is turned into a branch of the SS. The story revolves around four main characters, with Douglas "Archer of the Yard" the main protagonist and detective for the Yard. He still goes about his normal civilian business, solving murders and thefts. His side-kick, a more-experienced and street-wise Harry Wo ...more
Frank Jacobs
Jul 15, 2014 Frank Jacobs rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
As an alternate history classic, SS-GB demonstrates both the genre's strengths and weaknesses: Len Deighton overcomplicates the plot - a mysterious murder, a royal kidnap, transatlantic war strategies and intra-German rivalries - while undercomplicating the story's protagonist, Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, who is carried along by events he neither understands nor seems to care deeply about; the book's saving grace is its great success at bringing the what ifs of Nazi-occupied London ...more
David Lowther
I first read SS GB thirty years ago and couldn't remember much about it. It belongs in the genre what if ... the Nazis won, rather like Robert Harris' Fatherland and CJ Sansom's Dominion but is not a good as either.

Len Deighton, who is a terrific writer, lets the plotting slip so that the ending is neither altogether clear and less than satisfactory. Otherwise the atmosphere is menacing and depressing as it should be in a book of this nature. The characters too are varied and interesting but, s
Graeme Stuart Waymark
The plot attracted me, even tho I had already noted the novel as a 'want to read' because of my love of the writing style of the author. To jump ahead in time and find myself, historically still in the past; a past that is a deliberately 'revised' history, intrigued me. I did not get used to the characterization of the Royal Family, particularly the King. Talking of them as wax figures in a museum may have given them more life or at least respect or dignity.

Under this substitution of cultural n
Jul 27, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens when one's commitment to their duty conflicts with the loyalty to their country? That is the dilemma facing Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer in Len Deighton's alternate history thriller. 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. Th ...more
Stefan Percy
I have wanted to read this book for some time now. Even more so after I had read C.J. Sansom's Dominion, Robert Harris' Fatherland and to some extent E.R. Everett's Stormfuhrer. So I tracked down a copy, thinking that when the time was right, I would read it. I didn't have to wait long.

In late November 2014, I read on the website that BBC One had commissioned a five part series based on the SS-GB novel, so I took that as my cue to read it. I wanted to make sure I read it before the se
Mar 01, 2014 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is late 1941. The war in Europe is over. Nazi Germany has defeated Great Britain and France, and an occupying force managed by the SS is headquartered in London. The British people eke out a bleak existence and dream of better days. In this setting, we meet homicide detective Douglas Archer, who has retained his job at Scotland Yard in the new regime due to his professional focus and lack of partisan sentiments. Archer is tasked to team up with a ruthless party official from Berlin to solve a ...more
Indah Threez Lestari
Dec 02, 2014 Indah Threez Lestari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, punya
1035 - 2014

Aku suka berandai-andai.

Karena itu, aku termasuk yang menyukai cerita dengan setting What-If, atau alternate history.

Serial TV Sliders (1995-2000) yang bercerita tentang parallel universes, di mana sejarah di dunia-dunia lain berjalan ke arah yang berbeda-beda dengan dunia kita, juga salah satu serial TV favoritku. Untuk komik, serial Elseworlds-nya DC atau manga Zipang juga jadi bacaan favoritku.

Bagaimana dengan novel?

Sejauh ini Fatherland-nya Robert Harris, yang bersetting di Jerman
Sean E.
Jun 08, 2011 Sean E. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“SS-GB” Is a book about Englishman and detective Douglas Archer. The book picks up in England after an unfortunate twist of events where the U.S. stays out of WWII and the Soviets join with Hitler. England has been captured by the Germans but that is the least of the “Archer of the yard”, Douglas Archer, Who is wrapped up in one of the largest murder cases he has ever been assigned. One day Douglas comes across the murder of a mystery man who deals weapons to the underground resistance who fight ...more
Simon Mcleish
Feb 16, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in July 2004.

Because of Deighton's long history as a successful thriller writer before the appearance of SS-GB, it is packaged as a thriller; but in fact it is science fiction dealing with a classic theme of that genre, and would doubtless have been classified as such if it had been a first novel. For this is alternative history, set in a Britain occupied by the Third Reich after a successful 1941 German invasion. Central character Douglas Archer is a senior
Entertaining alternate history from a time before alternate history scenarios (of WWII in particular) were overdone. Deighton actually lived in Britain during WWII and has the integrity to do his homework before writing, so this actually is a fairly plausible idea of what would have happened to Britain if the Nazis had successfully conquered it - needless to say, it ends very (but not universally) badly for the British. A few plot points were obviously conflated for the sake of drama, but the ma ...more
Sep 09, 2013 Speesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-world-war
I think reading a classic Len Deighton must be like watching one of the old master painters in action. There's the preparation, the background, the deft brushstrokes, building up layer on layer of colours and nuance in perfect harmony. And then you finally take a step back, reveals a masterpiece.

Or maybe it's like watching a master magician? There's slight of hand, deception, concealment and finally slapping of the forehead 'oh, you got me!'

That apart...

SS-GB is set in 1941 and the book opens wi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Books 1 6 Oct 18, 2014 11:17PM  
  • Fox on the Rhine (Fox on the Rhine, #1)
  • The Night of the Generals
  • 1945
  • In the Presence of Mine Enemies
  • Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War
  • Resurrection Day
  • Back in the USSA
  • Hitler Victorious: Eleven Stories of the German Victory in World War II
  • Jackboot Britain
  • Hitler's Peace
  • Cross of Iron
  • 1945
  • A Small Town in Germany
  • The Proteus Operation
  • Wolf Hunt: The Burning Ages
  • For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne had won at Saratoga
Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook.After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1949 ...more
More about Len Deighton...

Share This Book