SS-GB
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SS-GB

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,957 ratings  ·  73 reviews
It is November 1941, nine months after the British surrender. Douglas Archer is a British homicide detective assigned to Scotland Yard. He is torn between loyalty to his country and his professional commitment to law enforcement. He begins investigating what seems to be a typical murder case in London, but which finally involves him in the highest levels of the Nazi occupa...more
Mass Market Paperback, 375 pages
Published April 12th 1984 by Ballantine Books (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,918)
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Elliott Cross
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
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...more
Checkman
Dec 05, 2012 Checkman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Ilya
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
Themistocles
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.
John
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
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
Roderick Baxter
This is one that I have previously read and second time round it was just as good as the first.
The plot is a bit unthinkable. We find the famous Archer of the yard a 1940's Sherlock Holmes in a Brittan that is occupied by The Nazis after loosing the Battle of Brittan. Meanwhile, Archer has to solve a murder. The murder of a top scientist working on building the Atomic Bomb. That is where it all starts and between the discovery of the body and the end of the book there is a complex plot with a f...more
Kyle
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
Sean E.
“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
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...more
Nathaniel
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
Speesh
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...more
Michael
reads like Agatha Christie imagines a Great Britain under Nazi rule. in other words, a police procedural/ detective story set against a German victory over Great Britain. Overall Len Deighton's work is fairly unimpressive, although not without merit, containing twists, drama, and a measure of plausibility.

In a rainy, perpetually night-time UK, the German invasion has come, and the population, mostly, is cowed and obedient. America remain neutral and although poised against Japan; Germany and the...more
Andrew
this review first appeared on [http://intraspace.blogspot.com]

and now, for something completely different. in need of a little light relief, i read this novel that anna picked up at an op-shop for a few cents.

len deighton is actually quite an established author and is known for meticulous research.

anyway, the interesting thing about this book is that it is set in great britain after it has fallen to the nazis in ww2. it is the story of a scotland yard detective who finds himself working for the...more
David
Having enjoyed Robert Harris’s Fatherland, I decided to check out SS-GB on the basis of Harris’s recommendation. Harris’s debt (which he has acknowledged) is obvious – in a sense Fatherland is merely a retelling of SS-GB, with key elements (premise, characters) transposed from early-1940s London to early-1960s Berlin. But aided by the shift in setting and (or so I would judge) Harris’s greater imagination, Fatherland portrays a world both more vivid world and more horrifying.

That’s not to say SS...more
Iain
Typical Deighton 60's thriller where Britain is under Nazi occupation after defeat in World War 2.

The main character Douglas Archer is a British Scotland Yard detective working under German supervision. As a murder detective he's called to investigate the death of a man in a squalid flat in London and quickly becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving both the British resistance and German organisations struggling for supremacy in post-war Britain.

The plot is easy to follow with the twists quit...more
Ian
This is the granddaddy of alternate history stories: Hitler wins World War II. In this case, Britain surrenders after the farce that was the BEF, and the UK is now an occupied country. The protagonist of SS-GB is a Scotland Yard detective, working under the SS, but still solving the sort of crimes he solved before the war. The plot kicks off when the body of a dead scientist is found in a flat above an antique shop in London, and goes on to take in the German Army's secret research in atom bombs...more
James
A superb police thriller set in post-war London - but in this timeline, the Nazis won the war and occupied Britain. As the SS work hand in hand with the Metropolitan Police to solve a politically-charged murder, we are treated to a brilliantly imaginative view of what might have been. Think of it as a London version of Robert Harris's Fatherland.
Tim Owen
This was the first book of Deighton's that I read. It was a first class read and very very thought provoking. What would happen if the Nazis had of invaded and taken over the UK and then forced a peace with the USA? From this novel I then went on to read many Deighton books.
Paul Hebron
Reasonably good detective story set in an alternate universe Britain where the Nazis invaded in the 40s. Characters aren't too convincing, or at least the main character isn't: the Nazi superiors with departmental rivalries come across as more interesting. The atmosphere of Nazi London, with deprivation, curfews, and spivs, isn't as detailed or involving as it could be. The main plot is faintly ludicrous, but that's not really a big problem except when it becomes difficult to remember who's moti...more
Dr. Stanley
An outstanding alternate history novel in which Germany occupies Great Britain in 1941 and hope is lost until... I've read it three or four times over the years and own both print and digital copies. What makes this book so good is that it's a combination of history and mystery and romance with psychologically well-detailed characters and an ending which will stun you. Not to be missed if you're into the alternate history genre, and maybe even if you're not. I first read this book in 1979 when b...more
Rick Boardman
Scary stuff! England beaten by Germany. Swastikas over Whitehall. Buckingham Palace in ruins ... Excellent thriller set in this bleak landscape
Jean
this is a really interesting twist on a murder mystery, so gets 4 starts in that genre, not 4 starts when compared to real literature.
Tim
In the pattern of ' what would have happened if? ' in this case if the Germans had achieved an early defeat on the British.
Would there be collaboration by some with the victors as in France. Yes, by some according to Deighton. Would their be a resistance, again as in France, again yes.
Deighton explores the fine line between collaboration and assisting to uphold law and order of the old school with the more onerous requirements of the victors.
A mixture of detective novel and war story. It provoke...more
Rob Adey
An entertaining 'what if?', made all the more so by the impossibility of picturing the main Nazi characters as anyone other than Colonel Von Strohm and Herr Flick from 'Allo, 'Allo.

Deighton is good on the 'occupied London' mood; he should never have been allowed to attempt 'poignant' or 'sexy', however.

It's a bit disappointing that the plot ends up hinging on complex rivalries between different parts of the German administration, rather than on a King with an atom bomb up his ass, which would...more
Andrew
I don't normally go for crime thrillers, but this one had the added twist of being set in an alternate history Great Britain after it's defeat at the hands of an alliance of Nazi Germany and the USSR. It is very well written, intriguing, and the alternative history is fascinating and well developed (despite a couple of unrealistic elements such as fudging the Nazi's intense hatred of "Jewish Bolshevism" in order to justify the alliance with the USSR). This book will be especially enjoyable for t...more
Peter
This is an oldie but a goodie...Deighton's SS GB was one of the first major contribution to the sub-genre of alternative histories...ie the Germans win...this novel is set in 1942 and the British have surrendered to the Nazis and there is a struggle among the German conquers and the British resistance as to what direction the future will take. Told through the eyes of a British Detective, Douglas Archer, there is a missing monarch, looted billions and the possibility of an atomic bomb...it is a...more
Robin
Fascinating portrait of what might have happened had Britain lost the war in 1941. If Britain was in a poor state after winning the war, you can imagine how badly it fared in defeat. Archer of Scotland Yard is Len Deighton's focus here, caught between the SS, the army and the British resistance. Deighton's research is used masterfully to create a convincing, if nightmarish, vision of Britain under the jackboot. The plot is a bit convoluted, but it all ties up in the end. One of those novels that...more
Dick Edwards
I misunderstood what the novel was going to be about. I thought that we were going to read Deighton’s idea of how the Nazi strategy was different (from that which they actually followed in 1940-41 – which was terrible) and how the invasion took place and how they succeeded. Instead, the Nazi conquest was a fait accompli, and all we have is a run of the mill murder mystery with a plan to rescue the King and destroy the Nazi nuclear weapons plant (why is it in England, anyway?). I was very disappo...more
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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
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