MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for Dominion by C.J. Sansom

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by C.J. Sansom

Dominion by C.J. Sansom X
Dominion by C.J. Sansom
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 640 pages
    Dec 2014, 656 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. What does Dominion say about the tension between fighting for the common good and protecting one's own family in times of war and oppression? What did you make of David's decision to join Churchill's Resistance? Would you have made the same choice in his shoes? Why or why not?
  2. Dominion follows many characters across the sweep of Sansom's epic story. Who was your favorite character? What about this character appealed to you, and why? Are there particular choices individual characters make that resonated strongly with you?
  3. Consider the historical moment Sansom created in Dominion. What did you find most frightening about Sansom's alternate vision of 1950s Great Britain? What was most realistic about it? Was there anything you thought might turn out differently given the particular scenario with which the novel begins?
  4. What did you think of Dominion's portrayal of Churchill? How does it compare to your own ideas about Churchill or depictions in literature, film, or the historical record? Do you agree with Sansom's thesis that without Churchill's leadership, Britain would have continued on an appeasement course with Germany and Hitler?
  5. David and Sarah's marriage hits a rough patch because of the secrets David keeps from Sarah about his spying, leading her to become suspicious of his behavior. How do you think you would have felt in Sarah's place? Given the same clues, do you think you would have come to the same conclusions?
  6. Much of Dominion hinges on the implications of Frank Muncaster's scientific knowledge and what he chooses to do with the secrets his brother has told him. Did you admire Frank or find him pathetic? Is he courageous or cowardly? Why has the author chosen to depict Muncaster as a victim of childhood cruelty — how does Frank's early victimization affect his personality?
  7. Why do you think Sansom gave his novel the title Dominion? What does the reference suggest about the themes of the work?
  8. Discuss Sansom's portrayal of the Nazi Party and mid-twentieth century Germany through the character of Gunther Hoth. Was there anything in this portrayal that surprised you? How does Sansom's portrayal compare to other depictions of Nazis in contemporary literature?
  9. What does Dominion say about nationalism in the twentieth century? Is world war still possible in the modern era? Why or why not?
  10. Just as Sansom imagines World War II ending differently, can you think of any contemporary turning points where the course of history might have taken a different path? Fifty years from now, what major turning points do you think the novelists of the day will explore to re-imagine how things might have turned out?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Mulholland. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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