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SS-GB

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  3,010 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
1941, and England invaded – and defeated – by the Germans...

The King is a hostage in the tower, the Queen and Princesses have fled to Australia, Churchill has been executed by a firing squad, Englishmen are being deported to work in German factories and the dreaded SS is in charge of Scotland Yard. London is in shock. The very look of daily life is a walking nightmare of G
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Mass Market Paperback, 375 pages
Published April 12th 1980 by Ballantine Books (first published August 24th 1978)
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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)
Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickFatherland by Robert   HarrisThe Eyre Affair by Jasper FfordeThe Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove
Best Alternate History Novels and Stories
27th out of 402 books — 791 voters
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Espionage
105th out of 718 books — 849 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Checkman
Sep 01, 2016 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
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Marijan
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
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
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Themistocles
Jun 16, 2009 Themistocles rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii, lit
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.
Elliott Cross
Aug 06, 2013 Elliott Cross rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dimitrije Vojnov
Aug 28, 2015 Dimitrije Vojnov rated it it was amazing
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
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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 ...more
David
Oct 13, 2013 David rated it liked it
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
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Michael Burnam-Fink
Dec 27, 2014 Michael Burnam-Fink rated it really liked it
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
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Pedro Fragoso
Oct 28, 2014 Pedro Fragoso rated it really liked it
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
Neil
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
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Nick Green
Nov 20, 2016 Nick Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years, after reading Fatherland, my Dad had recommended me this book. It took me years until the book was re-published recently that I actually bought it. I had previously read Bomber so I knew of Deighton's writing style. I found this a very enjoyable read -- perhaps the greatest 'what if' I can think of -- with the plot absolutely sublime. I'm sure I'll re-read this book again at some point, so perhaps further re-reads will give me greater insight into the book. Still, I absolutely loved t ...more
Chris Meigh
Whilst I enjoyed the alternative history set up of SS-GB, I feel Deighton failed to capitalise on it and instead created a look-warm and frankly humdrum account of a Nazi Britain. The story is at times, very good, but the majority of the book is boring, full of needless talking and jargon. In SS-GB Deighton has managed to create one of the least thrilling thrillers I've read in a long time. The original murder that Archer is trying to solve is mostly forgotten amongst bureaucratic jargon and a ...more
Cuppa' Books
Nov 04, 2016 Cuppa' Books rated it it was ok
Whilst the general idea of Deightons novel for interesting they failed to deliver on making it work. The novel was boring, to put it bluntly. Neither the characters or writing was engaging, and I never really felt as though characters were introduced but rather that they just appeared. Things seemed to happen so suddenly in a way that didn't work for this text and could often be confusing.

Overal, I didn't enjoy this text. However, what doesn't work for me could work for you! Just don't expect t
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christa
Oct 18, 2016 christa rated it really liked it
The story itself is well thought out and written, albeit not too challenging.

I found the first third of the book a joy to read but for about 100 pages in the middle thought it was a bit of a drag. The inclusion of romance provides a nice breath of fresh air in what is otherwise a dark view over occupied Britain.

The final hundred pages are an absolute joy to read and nothing short of a masterpiece. The pace seems to pick up and the story kicks in full blast - you are taken on a literary rollerc
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Faye Elliott
Very confusing and hard to follow in some places, but apart from that an interesting alternative history story.
David Butterworth
Nov 01, 2016 David Butterworth rated it really liked it
Excellent. A fine writer.
Speesh
Sep 09, 2013 Speesh rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Maureen
Oct 05, 2016 Maureen rated it liked it
An intriguing premise (life in the UK under Nazi rule after a successful invasion), and a complex plot. However, although there were some memorable moments, the characters were two-dimensional. He can't write women, and the 'love interest' thread was laughably unconvincing. OK, but not great.
Graeme Stuart Waymark
Feb 01, 2016 Graeme Stuart Waymark rated it really liked it
Shelves: len-deighton, 9-2016
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
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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
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Keith Johnstone
Sep 27, 2016 Keith Johnstone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable book, some good twists and turns, I'd assumed it would be more detailed about the Nazi win and occupation but actually this was quite subtlety done and perhaps more realistic than some parts of the story
Jay
Sep 28, 2016 Jay rated it liked it
Really good alternate history detective thriller.
Tim Mitchell
Sep 08, 2016 Tim Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the earliest (and by far the best) of alternative history novels taking German victory in 1940/41 as their starting point. CJ Sansom's 'Dominion' or 'The Windsor Faction' by DJ Taylor are similar in theme but not nearly as good; the only one that comes close is Robert Harris' 'Fatherland.'

In this version, the German invasion (Operation Sea Lion) was successful; although the Queen and her daughters escaped and there is a government in exile in the US, the King is a prisoner in the
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S.
Jan 27, 2013 S. rated it liked it
Shelves: cheshire
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
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Rod Hunt
Sep 21, 2016 Rod Hunt rated it really liked it
Fascinating rivalries amongst the occupying force and an insight into what might have been, through the vehicle of a who Dunnit.
Sean E.
Jun 08, 2011 Sean E. rated it it was amazing
“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 ...more
Steve Cunningham
A really good premise and convincing depiction of London under German occupation founders on the pivotal plot device that the different branches of the German military and intelligence organisations hold each other in such antipathy that they are prepared to work in a semi-official capacity with members of the British resistance simply to one-up one another. The story rather peters out with some perfunctory and unsatisfyingly neat tying up of loose ends.
Mark
Jul 27, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
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. ...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 ...more
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