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SS-GB

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  4,036 Ratings  ·  224 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 March 1st 1980 by Ballantine Books (first published August 24th 1978)
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Margaret Adams The book and the television series are different. I won't reveal things to spoil your enjoyment, The book has a lot more depth although I really…moreThe book and the television series are different. I won't reveal things to spoil your enjoyment, The book has a lot more depth although I really enjoyed the television series, too.

I first read SS-GB back around 1980, so reading it again now means I have an historical perspective that I did not have all that time ago.(less)
Margaret Adams I think the book is better. The TV series gives something of a happier ending than the book. I won't itemise things because I might damage others'…moreI think the book is better. The TV series gives something of a happier ending than the book. I won't itemise things because I might damage others' enjoyment by doing so.

I like the book and I enjoyed the TV series.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Checkman
Dec 05, 2012 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 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
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Bettie☯
Feb 16, 2017 Bettie☯ 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
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William
Nov 23, 2014 William 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
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Marijan
Nov 10, 2011 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...
Mal Warwick
Apr 20, 2017 Mal Warwick 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
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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'
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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.
christa
Oct 18, 2016 christa 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
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Kris McCracken
Jun 04, 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
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Alex
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.
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
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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
Mike
Nov 13, 2007 Mike rated it really liked it
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.
Bill Powers
Mar 20, 2017 Bill Powers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
Karl Lazanski
Jun 03, 2017 Karl Lazanski 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
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Jane
Apr 18, 2017 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't often read thrillers - I just read a proof of a new thriller which I won't name because I found it very disappointing. This, however, seems to be just what a thriller should be. I was totally immersed in the world created (even if my German is very weak - I could make out a few of the terms but not many...) and the characters were well-rounded. Even at the end, when the dust cleared on the deception, counter-deception and double/triple/quadruple-dealing, I could see how characters would ...more
Allan
Mar 10, 2017 Allan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this having seen trailers for the current BBC adaptation - I thought I'd try the source material rather than watching the small screen version. I'm always intrigued by alternative histories, having enjoyed the likes of 'Dominion', and this was a similar fayre to be honest, the bleakness of occupied England the setting for a police procedural which has far reaching consequences. Enjoyable without blowing me away...
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
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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 decla ...more
Mary
Feb 18, 2017 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-fiction-read
Along with Fatherland and Dominion, another "what if the Nazis had beaten the UK" book. I enjoyed the setting and characters more than the mystery. An easy read.
David
Oct 03, 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
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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
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Pedro L. Fragoso
Oct 23, 2014 Pedro L. 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
Alain
Jul 15, 2008 Alain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FRA

Il n'existe pas de meilleur roman sur l'histoire alternative de la 2e guerre mondiale. Deighton est un romancier hors pair en plus d'être un historien "amateur" exceptionel.

ENG

This is it, the best alternate history of the 2nd WW, ever. Deighgton is a master novelist an he's also an excptional "amateur" historian
Andrew
Jun 23, 2017 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick Non-Spoiler Review: Atmospheric, well paced espionage/detective thriller set in alternate history 1941 GB after it has surrendered to Nazi Germany. This book is an easy read with good characters and a satisfying conclusion which keeps you guessing right to the end. 5/5.

The story begins as a murder mystery but quickly expands to make the most of the setting, without ever losing sight of its detective roots.

The main character is British detective Douglas Archer from Scotland Yard who works
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Jim
This is a book of alternative history fiction. The Germans have invaded Great Britain and forced the British Government to concede defeat. Churchill has been taken to Germany and put before a firing squad; King George IV is incarcerated in the Tower of London.

Douglas Archer, Superintendent of Inspectors at Scotland Yard, has retained his job in charge of pursuing murderers, but is now working for the German Gestapo. British resistance forces are active around the country, including in London, bu
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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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Yvonne
May 21, 2017 Yvonne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like the television series based on this book it was all right but nothing remarkable. Having read this book all the way through I feel no need or desire to reread it. For me it was too basic. Everything that happened was basic, everything people said was basic; the descriptions of people's emotions were basic. If someone was said to be sad then that was it, they were sad. Nothing more was offered up. The women in it might as well not have been in it for the good they did. They just seemed to be ...more
Tomgirl deni
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
More about Len Deighton...

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