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.