"Dominion", by C.J. Sansom

Dominion - C.J. Sansom

This fiction is a dark and terrifyingly alternative history of what might have happened if Churchill had failed to become Prime Minister in May 1940 and the nightmare scenario where the British people are forced to live under menacing authoritarian rules.

The author weaves a gripping and atmospheric spy story. Our guide through this fantasy is David Firtzgerald, a civil servant, who has hidden is half Jewish identity in order to flourish under the regime. This counter factual concoction opens in 1952 12 years after Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after a brief 2 years conflict. Although the nation is not occupied it is led by Fascists and is under Nazi’s fingers. The underground resistance is fighting back and it is where David comes in and is tasked with rescuing Frank Muncaster, a scientist in possession of vital information, and smuggling him out of the country.

This story keeps our interest by rotating perspective from David’s point of view and jumping to different players and back to David. There is momentum in this cat and mouse chase that is modulated with interludes giving us pause for thought. The book stands a good yarn and is about 1/3 too long for my taste although most will find it to be well-written and well-plotted. The style is at times ponderous and the key points lack the necessary build up to provide intense suspense but are captivating nonetheless. This novel is also crammed with details and clearly shows that the author has done an enormous amount of research and thinking about this alternate history, he has quite an imagination and a scary one to boot. I like the characterization and once my struggles with each of their back-stories forgotten the “What ifs” kept me from being disappointed and overall can say I enjoyed “Dominion”.