‘Dominion’ portrays an alternative ending to the Second World War, where Churchill did not become prime minister and Britain made a peace pact with Germany in 1940, resulting in World War II as we know it not happening. The book is set in 1952, the Nazis are still in power and Britain has become an authoritarian state, ruled by terror, Nazi propaganda, with no freedom of speech or the press. It’s a great idea and a really interesting concept. C J Sansom completed a PhD in history so he really knows his stuff- all the facts about political figures are 100% accurate, their opinions on society are true to what they were (e.g. Halifax probably would have signed a peace treaty and not continued the war, and Hitler did have Parkinson’s disease), and therefore the imagined future is very realistic (quite scary thinking that could have happened to Britain!).
Britain is divided between Nazi sympathisers/ supporters and the Resistance movement, headed by Churchill, which has been driven underground. The main protagonist, David Fitzgerald, a civil servant in the Dominions office that has grown increasingly dissatisfied with the state of Britain, is very likeable and the reader sympathises with him a lot.
I found this book really slow to get going. It took 300 pages to finally get me into it (It is nearly 600 pages long in total). It did get exciting and became a bit of a thriller-chase after that, but it’s a shame it took so long to get there. I love history, having studied it at University myself, so this book did appeal to me, but I wish it had been a bit more exciting in the first third of the book.
I think if you’re interested in “what could have been...” then read this book, but be prepared for 300 pages of scene setting until the real action starts. I did find it fascinating, and after the 300 page mark I was quite gripped, but I could put this down throughout the majority of the time I was reading it and I probably won’t read it again. Overall I’d give it about 7/ 10.