Fall 1941. The Battle of Britain ended with England's defeat, and London has been transformed from the metropolis of the British Empire to an outpost of Hitler's empire. Winston Churchill is dead. The King is a prisoner in the Tower of London. German checkpoints are everywhere, rationing is imposed, people are rounded up for detention in concentration camps or labor service in Germany, a palpable air of defeat suffocates while a cold, hungry winter looms.
Douglas Archer is the finest investigator Scotland Yard can boast. Now working side by side with German security personnel, he takes on a routine murder investigation which quickly spirals out of control as the Wehrmacht and the SS vie for power, secret experiments with a new and deadly technology are conducted, and British Resistance agents contact Archer with a plan which is as devious as it is dangerous.
A taut combination of alternative history and spy thriller, this is an absorbing page-turner, though far from a perfect book. Supposedly Scotland Yard's finest, Archer is not very quick on the uptake and is a bit of a milquetoast. Also, the writing is occasionally clunky and suffers from an entirely unnecessary romantic subplot featuring a woman too good to be true -- maybe because she's a total cardboard cutout.
On the plus side, the plot twists and turns, and doesn't insult the reader's intelligence and ability to keep up with the labyrinthine plots and counterplots. Also, Deighton gets high marks for nailing the motives behind the American ambivalence to join the War before Pearl Harbor, as well as the workings of German occupation and the fierce competition between the German army, the SS, Gestapo, the Nazi Party and its various organizations.
What if Hitler had invaded England and won the War?
**** If you like playing "what if" with history, this is good reading. The premise is "What if Hitler had invaded England and won the war?" I like this book because it is not a military story, but a police procedural - amazing to consider how those procedures might change if Hitler was the overall leader of Europe and Britain.
A warm war story. What if Hitler had invaded England and won the war?