1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers, and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing.
In Britain, Winston Churchill's Resistance organisation is increasingly a thorn in the government's side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle forever.
Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given by them the mission to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . .
A very cold, dark vision of unrecognisable capitulated Britain in 1952.
Fascists have been in power in England for more than a decade and Churchill is heading up the Resistance. The press, radio and television are controlled, Jews are being rounded up and the streets are awash with fear and violence.
David Fitzgerald civil servant has had enough has begun spying for the Resistance. Out of the blue he is given the mission to rescue his an old university friend Frank Muncaster and get him out of the country before the Gestapo get their hands on him. That is the plot but that is not the whole story… Sansom is one of those authors with the ability to make you really care about the characters and this novel has a lot to say about friendship, deception, morality and courage. It also asks some interesting questions of the readeras quote from the Guardian explains...
"But, as in all the best war-related alternative fiction, the finger of suspicion also jabs uncomfortably at the reader. Sansom directly confronts the frequent, smug view in the UK that Nazism and the Jewish Holocaust were inherently German perversions. The English, in this version, often prove just as susceptible to strong but psychotic leadership and the prospect of racist genocide. The song from Cabaret that poses the question "What Would You Do?" might be the theme tune to a tremendous novel that shakes historical preconceptions while also sending shivers down the spine."