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SS-GB

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,622 ratings  ·  413 reviews
In February 1941 British Command surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the Tower and the SS are in Whitehall. For nine months Britain has been occupied - a blitzed, depressed and dingy country. However, its 'business as usual' at a Scotland Yard run by the SS when Detective Inspector Archer is assigned to a routine murder case. Life must go ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 28th 2009 by Harper (first published 1979)
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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 Wo…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)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  6,622 ratings  ·  413 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
***Now you can watch the series inspired by the book on Starz.***

”In England they’re filled with curiosity and keep asking, ‘Why doesn’t he come?’ Be calm. Be calm. He’s coming! He’s Coming!”
--ADOLF HITLER, September 4th, 1940


 photo Churchill V sign_zpsxi6honcz.jpg
The UP YOURS version of the V sign.

Even though I know Hitler never made it to the shores of Britain, I still get a chill just reading those words. Winston Churchill eloquently told the runt corporal in Berlin to bring it on and, when you do come, know that every inch of
...more
Checkman
Dec 05, 2012 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 a 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 wa ...more
Bettie
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC TV Watchers


Description: It’s 1941, the Luftwaffe have defeated the RAF in the Battle of Britain, and Hitler’s Wehrmacht have conquered Southern England. Winston Churchill has been executed, King George VI has been imprisoned in the Tower of London, and Swastika banners adorn the bombed out ruins of Buckingham Palace. Tyranny has triumphed. The Nazis have won.

That’s the fascinating premise of Len Deighton’s counterfactual novel, SS-GB, and now, some forty years since he wrote it, it’s been adapted for TV. A
...more
William
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been watching the new BBC series SS-GB (of this Len Deighton 1978 book). It's been almost 40 years since I read the book, but I do remember The Horror it engendered in me.

The TV series atmosphere is very claustrophobic, frightening and surreal. We came so close to this reality. "The Few" who repeatedly frustrated the Germans in the Battle of Britain were surely and forever recognized by Churchill's "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".

If any young
...more
Martin
What If?
Germany had won World War Two,
Great Britain occupied,
The King a prisoner,
America is only fighting Japan,
British police investigate murders,
And who has the plans for an atomic bomb!
Alternative history at its best.


Too close to the top
Douglas’s imagination raced ahead, to wonder if the crime might have been committed by some high-ranking Nazi, or a relative, associate or mistress of such a person. ‘Is there a theory about who the killer might be?’
‘You find the killer, that’s all,’ said Huth
...more
Chris
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf, suspense
An alternative history novel. The U.S. never became engaged in WWII, Great Britain has surrendered to Germany, the King is imprisoned , Churchill was executed and the English are learning to live under German occupation.

Douglas Archer is a Superintendent Detective in Scotland Yard and has found a way to keep his head down and keep working his job while reporting German authority. He and his Sergeant, Harry Woods, are a "murder team", have been together for years but don't quite see eye to eye a
...more
Mal Warwick
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the literature of alternate history, Nazi Germany often wins World War II. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Jo Walton’s Farthing Trilogy (Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half a Crown, all reviewed here) are prominent examples. There are many others, of which the one I’ve read most recently is SS-GB by the British thriller writer Len Deighton.

A favorite theme in alternate history

It’s November 1941. World War II ended in Europe on February 19 when Great Brit
...more
Berengaria di Rossi
2 stars (DNFed at 64%)

An oddly blurry, non-atmospheric and largely unsatisfying alternate history "thriller" written in the '70s on the premise of "What if Hitler had managed to take the UK?".

Interesting idea, but the dialogue is often opaque and tedious, the murder investigations difficult to follow, the action sometimes only sketchily described, and the sakes laughably low. Great, detailed descriptions of room interiors -- the rest of London might as well not exist.

As for characters, the Eng
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, fiction, mystery
I picked this up on a whim, having heard Deighton described as a master of the understated spy thriller. This is all that, and more. Even in alt-hist Nazi occupied England, people are shot and murders have to be investigated. But this being an espionage 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, bu
...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 n ...more
Laura
Drama series based on the novel by Len Deighton. It is 1941, and the Germans have won the Battle of Britain. Detective Douglas Archer finds himself working under the brutal SS in occupied London.

Episode 1 of 5
It is 1941 and the Germans have won the Battle of Britain. Detective Douglas Archer finds himself working under the brutal SS in occupied London. Archer investigates the murder of a black marketeer. When the glamorous US journalist Barbara Barga is spotted at the scene of the crime, Archer'
...more
Philip
UPDATE: Just finished the very good 2017 BBC "SS-GB" miniseries, available on Hoopla, which may or may not be available through your library. Don't remember how the book ends, so can't vouch for how closely this follows the original, but it was well worth the 4.5 hour investment, even if it did sometimes proceed at the slower pace of most all BBC productions.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: One of the earlier and still best examples of "alternate World War II fiction," and a direct predecessor of such later boo
...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
...more
Bogdan
This book was a delight to read!

After reading the insane (in a good way) novel, The Man in the High Castle by Dick and the United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas I`ve discovered that, in a way, all the three of them have similar things in the plot.

Ok, so the Nazis have won, the World is separated in two, Them and The Reds Soviets or the Japanese, and now the enemy comes within.

It`s very interesting to see the struggle for power inside the Nazi camp where we could find different parties with no
...more
christa
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
David Highton
A story set in 1941, when Britain has surrendered to Germany and is occupied with Churchill executed and the King in the Tower of London. A clever construct for Superintendent Archer to operate in and investigate a murder, with the German Army and the SS in different political camps and a secret Resistance in play. I have to say the espionage all got too complicated for me and I lost the plot!
Alex
May 13, 2015 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.
Bill Powers
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy alternative World War II History - you will love SS-GB; the historical detail is in-depth and comes alive visually. BBC-1 has just released a television series based upon SS-GB. Can't wait for it to come to US! ...more
Brett T
Len Deighton did not mess around with a Nazi plot to damage the U.S. or a British peace treaty with Germany -- he posited a successful German invasion of Great Britain that resulted in complete surrender and occupation in 1941. The Nazis work in Whitehall, King George is locked away and Winston Churchill has been executed. But there are still crimes in London, and there is still Scotland Yard around to solve them, in spy novelist Len Deighton's 1978 SS-GB.

Douglas Archer is one of the Yard's keen
...more
Kris McCracken
Jun 04, 2016 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
...more
Ken
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I become aware of SS-GB due to the forthcoming BBC adaptation, an alternative history set during the Nazi occupation of Britain.
I’m a big of alternative history, so had to pick up the book.

I felt it was an enjoyable read, very well written and had some great ideas.
It didn’t fully engage me as much as I’d hoped.
I’m glad that I’ve read it, but probably won’t watch the 6 part miniseries now.
James Smith
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t too sure about this until the very end. It started well but I felt the pace dropped off, and then the last quarter was quite jumpy and lacked the flow of the start. However, I’ve given it 4 stars because it is a decent book, but the overall premise is so interesting and well-tackled - it provides a pretty interesting glimpse into an alternative world.
Jo
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book let down by an abysmal ending.
Monique
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if the Germans had won WWII? I love the literary idea, and I had once read a disastrous novel about it; the author didn’t know the German character and it spoiled everything. I knew this would not be a problem with Len Deighton, as he is an authority on the subject, and an author I love and respect. My only regret is that I did not know about SS-GB when it was first released.

Britain has surrendered to the Nazis, who have won the war and occupy Britain, led by a puppet government. The King
...more
Roberta
The premise of the book is great - Germany has won the war in 1941 by occupying Britain, which has surrendered. The US and Japan never joined the war. Now Britain has to deal with post-war rationing and being governed by German forces. A police detective by the name of Douglas Archer is carrying on with his life and doing his job as well as he can, considering his wife was killed by a bomb strike, and his superiors are all German now. Due to his hard work, lack of protestations, and fluent Germa ...more
Jak60
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SS-GB is a very rich novel, offering multiple reading levels; one is that of a post-WWII alternate history where Nazis won the war; another is the detective story, with a complex plot blending murder, state secrets, political intrigues and espionage, which turns soon into a wilderness of mirrors.
But all this, no matter how good, slides to a second plane with respect to the hero of the story, superintendent Douglas Archer, whose towering figure dominates the book.
Leighton makes of Archer a comple
...more
Mike
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't particularly care for alternate history, there are too many good real history and historical fiction out there to spend time reading about things that didn't happen. SS-GB is an exception. I have carried the book around for years and just finished it. A chilling look at what could have happened if the Nazis had successfully invaded England. Looking forward to seeing the TV adaptation when it gets to the States. 4 Stars because alternate history is not my thing and this one succeeded. ...more
Karl Lazanski
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a guilty pleasure I have always enjoyed alternate history novels, I guess something about them stirs up a 'what if?' Imagination within myself.
This is an intriguing story which, if you let yourself to be really taken in by the main character Douglas Archer, you will find a man who i believe is certainly patriotic to his county, but can then seem at ease with his countries invaders. Superintendent Archer is in for a surprise of the political machinations that involve war torn countries!
Great r
...more
Robert Hyman
I have not read a Len Deighton book for a long time and I must say I was a bit disappointed. I started watching SS-GB on TV and thinking that the book would be better so I stopped watching the TV show after a few minutes so I could read the book. The book reads to me more like a screenplay than a novel. There is a gratuitous female love interest; nothing makes sense until the last page and then it all wraps up too neatly after you understand that everyone has been triple-crossing everyone all th ...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 one.

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.
...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 194 ...more

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