Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pierce’s Picks: “Dominion”

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

Dominion, by C.J. Sansom (Mantle UK):
Taking another detour from his Matthew Shardlake Tudor detective series--as he did with the melancholy Winter in Madrid (2008)--Sansom gives us a what-if spy adventure set in 1952. A dozen years have passed since Great Britain surrendered to the greater military might of Nazi Germany, though World War II continues to rage on in Russia. Britons are chafing under the authoritarian regulations imposed by their new government, and they’re worried by reports of atrocious acts taking place in their midst. However, Winston Churchill’s Resistance movement appears to be expanding, and it may have discovered a way to tip the balance of power in its favor. Much depends, though, on the daring efforts of a civil servant turned Resistance spy, David Fitzgerald, who has been assigned to help a scientist, trapped in a Birmingham mental hospital, flee the country. Fitzgerald soon finds himself hiding from capture, together with a group of other Resistance activists, in a London menaced by a hazardous air-pollution event, the notorious Great Smog of ’52. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald’s wife, Sarah, faces her own terrors, and one of the Gestapo’s most notorious manhunters is hot on both their heels. Sansom’s characters are given dimensions and detailed histories enough to make them credible, and in Dominion the author has cobbled together enough real events from 1950s Britain with his own imaginings to make readers believe, if only now and then, that the story presented in these pages could actually have happened. Fans of Len Deighton’s own alternative thriller, SS-GB (1978), may see similarities in Dominion, but they shouldn’t be disappointed with this new novel. No U.S. release of Dominion has been announced.

READ MORE:C.J. Sansom on the Dangers of Nationalism
(Mulholland Books).

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