Genre : Fiction
Published : 31 Oct 2012 - Macmillan
1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill's Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government's side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission by them to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London's Great Smog; as David's wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . . At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with DOMINION C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.


DOMINION [is] that rare thing, a book both exciting and thought-provoking.

Alan Judd, The Spectator

...a tremendous novel that shakes historical preconceptions while also sending shivers down the spine.

Mark Lawson, The Guardian

C J Sansom’s masterly new novel of alternative history. Sansom...builds his nightmare Britain from the sooty bricks of truth... every note in Sansom’s smoggy hell rings true. Proper historians tend to treat counter-factual speculation as the crystal meth of their discipline – a cheap high. Novelists, on the other hand, create a parallel reality with every book they write. No surprise then that fiction has outclassed formal history in the imagination of what might have been. ...DOMINION shows us what a truly broken Britain would look, and fell, like. And, as its half-Scottish author makes plain, the blood-and-soil nationalism he most detests would thrive in such a social wasteland... Sansom’s alternative past also seeks to shape our possible futures.


There have been a number of other novels imagining this kind of alternate history ... but Sansom's DOMINION is the most thoroughly imagined in all its ramifications... both as a historical novel and a thriller, DOMINION is absorbing, mordant and written with a passionate persuasiveness... Bravo!

Independent on Sunday

'What the devil is a plot good for but to bring in fine things?' as a 17th-century playwright asked. There are fine things a-plenty here, and the plot unfolds compellingly and gallops along briskly... CJ Sansom has brought off a nice double, writing a good thriller which invites you to ponder the different course history might have taken. His book is also a warning against what he considers to be the virus of nationalism and a reproof to those who believe that no form of fascism could ever take root here.

The Scotsman

This is a big novel with traces of a thriller, in which the good are good and the bad are very bad indeed. For readers who enjoy a grown-up adventure story DOMINION is evocative, alarming and richly satisfying.

Daily Express

The chase is exciting and the action thrilling, but the really absorbing part of this excellent book is the detailed creation of a society that could so easily have existed.

Jessica Mann, Literary Review

Showing 5 of 7 reviews