Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Dominion, by C.J. Samson

Let me state flat out that is one hell of a book.  You should definitely read this one, if you hadn’t done so already. 

Dominion takes place 12 years after the British Empire signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany after Dunkirk.  In this version of reality, Churchill never became the wartime Prime Minister that led his country and the free world through those dark days. Instead, Lord Halifax becomes Prime Minister, who quickly negotiates an armistice with the Third Reich. Now during the intervening years, civil liberties are being gradually eroded as Great Britain, clinging to her Empire, slips gradually into fascism. Meanwhile, in the East, Germany continues in its grinding 11-year war with the remains of the Soviet Union. And in America, a new President, Adlai Stevenson is sworn in, signaling a shift in America’s isolationist stance. 

The book, which mingles historical facts such as the Great London Smog of 1952 and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II with the fictional stories of people caught up in events larger than themselves yet somehow they manage to rise to the occasion.  David Fitzgerald is a mid-rank civil servant working in the government’s Dominions Office, but known only a few, he is also an agent for the British Resistance. Fitzgerald doesn’t tell his wife, Sarah, in order to protect her, but soon, she too is drawn into the events as Fitzgerald is ordered to rescue an old scientist friend who has the secret that might shift the balance of power between the United States and Nazi Germany.

Dominion is a pleasure to read. Characterizations, plotting and scene settings are all done practically in cinematic detail.  All characters, both protagonists and antagonists, have their flaws and strengths, which is a treat. The action moves quickly, but doesn’t leave the reader behind. This is a well researched and a believable alternate history that the world came a hair’s-breadth of actually living.

As I said, I highly recommend this book.  I draw favourable comparisons between this and another alt-history masterwork, Len Deighton’s SS-GB, which is the classic novel of Britain under Nazi occupation.  Of course, the subject of the UK under the Nazi jackboot has been an evergreen topic for many authors and is a strong subset of the genre.   

Equally as well-known, but perhaps only by reputation, is the 1965 film It Happened Here, which tells the story of a young British woman caught up in the battle between the occupying Nazis and the British Resistance. No matter how apolitical she tries to be, she finds herself sucked into the world around her.  The movie is worth watching, if only for its chilling documentary-style footage of German troops marching by the British Parliament buildings:

Next month, I will be reviewing 1920: America’s Great War, by Robert Conroy. So watch this space.

In the meantime, have a look at my own books, Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.   Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment