Friday, March 7, 2014
[Review] Dominion by C. J. Sansom
Author: C. J. Sansom
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little Brown and Company January 28, 2014
Genre: Historical fiction, World War II, England, Nazi Germany, Dystopian
Rating: 3 Stars for Good
Source: Free copy from Mulholland Books and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, for the purpose of review.
Dominion tour link @ HFVBT
You can find more information on C.J. Sansom and his novels at www.cjsansom.com or on Facebook.
Dominion link at Amazon
Kindle price is $12.74
Forget everything you know from history after Dunkirk in 1940, because England signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany. Most of Europe is under Nazi Occupation, or under their iron thumb. The Nazi's are continuing their onslaught of murdering Jews. Spain is Fascist and lead by General Francisco Franco Bahamonde. Italy is Fascist and led by Benito Mussolini. Sir Winston Churchill is not the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. America did not become involved in World War II. Germany is still at war with Russia. The Atom bomb is a secret.
The year is 1952.
It boggles the mind, like green Jello Gelatin.
The main character is David, a resistance spy, and working in the Dominion office in London, England. His wife Sarah, is a pacifist. Their marriage is hanging on by a thread after the death of their son. David's long hours at work place additional strain on them. Sarah imagines the worst.
The thrust of the story is: David and Sarah's marriage, Nazi control in England and Europe, and the resistance effort in England.
On one hand, Dominion is a brave book with a unique premise; on the other hand, it is not plausible, or believable.
World War II is real history. Dominion is fiction. I kept telling myself this through at least the first half of the book. Please understand, World War II for me is not something I've only read about in books or watched on television, my dad was a soldier in World War II--a D-Day Veteran of Omaha Beach. I thought if I could tell dad about this interesting book I was reading (dad passed away last August) his response would be to roll his eyes. Dad would say, "hey man, I was there. I know how it turned out."
For the Greatest Generation, I'm not sure this book would be a readable story for them. For more current generations, its unique premise would be enticing, maybe.
What I liked about the book:
1. Brave story, and one not written before (to my knowledge).
2. The characters David and Sarah, bring believability and intimacy to the story.
3. Other true historical events are brought in to the story, for example the "pea-souper" a green, dense, smog in London 1952.
What I did not like about the book:
1. The story is not believable. The Eastern Front of World War II between Germany and Russia, began June 22, 1941 and ended May 9, 1945. It is not believable the war could last through to 1952. Over 4 million German soldiers died and an additional 4 million (statistics vary read links below) were KIA or MIA between 1941 and 1945, add an additional seven years and the amount of dead and missing would have at least doubled. Not to mention the cost of the war, the amount of ammunition needed, civilian loss, and a war of this magnitude could not persevere eleven years.
2. I cannot believe the United Kingdom would have surrendered to Germany by signing a peace treaty. They knew in 1940 what Nazi Germany's plans were for Europe. In 1940 several European countries had been occupied/controlled by Nazi Germany. To sign a peace treaty with Nazi Germany is preposterous and unacceptable.
3. The atom bomb by 1952 had advanced past the point of being a "secret".
The Atlantic: World War II The Eastern Front
Spiegel Online: New Cemetery in Russia, Germany Still Burying Eastern Front Dead
Brittanica: Eastern Front
World War II History from About.com
Wikipedia: Eastern Front