Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Ssgb SS-GB
by Len Deighton

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Len Deighton is known to me as a writer of cold-war spy thrillers, such as The IPCRESS File and its successors, so to discover that he had written an alternative-history, detective thriller set in World War II London came as a bit of a surprise.

SS-GB is that book; and a jolly fine, splendid novel it is too. This is not your simple whodunit, set against an alternative history backdrop. No this is a full on investigatory maze of a story, where only the geography and the weather are as they first appear. There is double dealing within double dealing, with occupying Germans conspiring against other occupying Germans and both parties aligning with the British resistance. In the middle of all this Superintendent Douglas Archer is under the impression he is solving a murder inquiry, but is being used as a pawn in a four-sided chess match where the black and white pieces change side and occasionally colour.

This was a master work in alternative-history and detective-cum-thriller fiction by an author who really knows how to tell a story and keep you entertained to the bitter end. My only problem with this book is finding something of a comparable standard to read next.

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