Summary and book reviews of Dominion by C.J. Sansom

Dominion

by C.J. Sansom

Dominion
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 640 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2014, 656 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey

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About this Book

Book Summary

C.J. Sansom rewrites history in a thrilling novel that dares to imagine Britain under the thumb of Nazi Germany.

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany. The press, radio, and television are controlled. British Jews face ever greater constraints.

But Churchill's Resistance soldiers on. And in a Birmingham mental hospital, fragile scientist Frank Muncaster holds a secret that could alter the balance of the global struggle forever.

Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission to rescue Frank and get him out of the country. Hard on his heels is Gestapo agent Gunther Hoth, a brilliant, implacable hunter of men, who has Frank and David's innocent wife Sarah directly in his sights.

Dominion by C.J. Sansom

"The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him all Europe may be free, and the life of the world will move forward into broad, sunlit uplands; but if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more prolonged, by the lights of a perverted science." —WINSTON CHURCHILL, 18 JUNE 1940

All events that take place after 5:00 p.m. on 9 May 1940 are imaginary.

Prologue

The Cabinet Room, 10 Downing Street, London
4.30 p.m., 9 May 1940

Churchill was last to arrive. He knocked once, sharply, and entered. Through the tall windows the warm spring day was fading, shadows lengthening on Horse Guards Parade. Margesson, the Conservative Chief Whip, sat with Prime Minister Chamberlain and Foreign Secretary...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may 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 ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In times of greatest stress and danger, the mettle of a people is displayed in individual acts of great courage. And so we discover in the resolution of this exciting thriller, which is also a telling mirror on human nature. Sanson shows, in his altered history, that people are able to rise above fear, to reach for integrity, and to sacrifice their own welfare and even their lives for the common good.   (Reviewed by Bob Sauerbrey).

Full Review Members Only (780 words).

Media Reviews

Library Journal

Intriguing. Page-turning. Delicious.

Publishers Weekly

Fans of such Nazi triumphant novels as Len Deighton's SS-GB and Robert Harris's Fatherland will find this a satisfying, if more predictable read.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Long and engaging...A rich and densely plotted story that will make Winston Churchill buffs admire the man even more.

The Times (UK)

Exciting, sophisticated, and moving. There will be few better historical novels published this year.

The Guardian (UK)

An invented mid-20th-century Britain that has the intricate detail and delineation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.

The Independent (UK)

Masterly

Author Blurb Boyd Tonkin
Masterly... sketched with hallucinatory clarity...shades of Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four....Sansom builds his nightmare Britain from the sooty bricks of truth.

Author Blurb P. D. James
C.J. Sansom can lay claim to a place among the most distinguished of movern historical novelists.

Author Blurb Kate Atkinson
C.J. Sansom has long been one of my favorite writers, but Dominion may be his most richly imagined book yet: it's a wonderful example of what the novel can do - a through-the-looking-glass glimpse into a world that might have been, and almost was.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The Living Breath: The Fluidity of Historical Fiction

historical fiction icon Sarah Johnson, editor/publisher of Historical Novels Review, speaks to the complicated nature of historical fiction: "The obvious definition that comes to mind is that historical fiction is simply 'fiction set in the past.' But the reality is, however, that almost everyone - and this includes readers, authors, publishers, agents, and the press - seems to have his or her own idea of what historical fiction is, and also what historical fiction should be. When you become involved with the field, you begin to learn that above all, historical fiction is a genre of controversy and contradiction." Johnson offers one working definition of a historical novel (which she uses to determine the books Historical Novels Review will review): "A novel ...

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