I never would have picked up Dominion by C.J Sansom if it weren’t for Willoughby Book Club, my book subscription service. But it landed on my doorstep and in this political climate, I’ve felt compelled to read it.
Dominion tells an alternate version of history – what if the British surrendered to the Nazis after Dunkirk? What if London were held in the grip of authoritarian rule? What if? Usually alternate histories do not appeal to me, but for this one the timing was right.
It was horrifying and put me on edge, not because of the fictions present, but because, increasingly, the fictions Sansom presents have more than a ring of truth.
“Whenever a party tells you national identity matters more than anything else in politics, that nationalism can sort out all other problems, then watch out, because you’re on a road that can only end with fascism… And of course nationalists always have to have an enemy, the English or the French or the Jews, there always has tae [sic] be some other bugger that’s caused all the problems.”
Who would like this book? Dominion is by no means a perfect novel. There are few female characters, and they are not well developed. In spite of this it does pass the Bechdel Test. But the novel is well researched and seems quite plausible. It had enough cold war-style intrigue to keep me going. If you like stories about the Resistance in WWII, or spy stories in general, this may be up your alley. If you are looking for something to paralell the ‘alternative fact’ world we live in, this will do the trick. But if you want a cool escape from the political turmoil of today’s world, this is not the book for you.
I read this a few years ago when it first came out – I really enjoyed as it was I guess very much my type of book – but what I didn’t have to colour my reading of the book at that time was the context we have now and the almost hourly madnesses of Trump, Spicer, Conway and the rest of their sinister nasty crew. Might re-read this and appreciate it for something different to what I got from it initially.
I think it will be a very different read now!
This sits on my shelf. Is probably a very good time to read it – but can I handle all the rage bubbling in me that it would bring up? I’m still unable to shake this feeling of unease mixed with incredulity that this is going on right now. 😦
It had been on my shelf for a couple of years, but I’m glad I read it now in spite of the rage. It made the alternate history real for me.
Reblogged this on laramaynard.
These alternate history novels can often be quite powerful. I’m game for it. It’s chilling how true these stories can sound these days. BTW, I see Dunkirk the movie is coming out in July, hmm. I hope they don’t surrender!
I read this when it first came out and your review is spot-on. I don’t think I could read it right now- it would feel too real.
Your point about the female characters is excellent.