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Ss-gb cover.jpg
First Edition
Author Len Deighton
Cover artist Raymond Hawkey[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Alternate history
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
24 August 1978
Media type Hardcover
Pages 368
ISBN 978-0-224-01606-3

SS-GB is an alternative history novel by Len Deighton, set in a United Kingdom conquered and occupied by Germany during the Second World War. The novel's title refers to the branch of the Nazi SS that controls Britain. It was first published in 1978.


SS-GB is set less than a year after Britain’s surrender following a successful Operation Sea Lion. In 1940, the Germans landed near Ashford, Kent, and Canterbury was declared an open city. The German advance captured London but a British rear guard around Colchester slowed down the Germans for long enough to enable Royal Navy ships to escape from Harwich. King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill became prisoners of the Germans. Britain’s gold and foreign reserves were shipped to Canada.

In 1941, the British Armed Forces surrendered, Churchill was tried by court-martial in Berlin and executed and King George VI was held in the Tower of London. Queen Elizabeth and her daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret escaped to New Zealand while the Duke of Windsor escaped to The Bahamas. Rear Admiral Connolly formed a British government in exile in Washington, D.C., but struggled to gain diplomatic recognition.

Hitler held a victory parade in London, the Soviet Red Fleet was given bases at Rosyth, Scapa Flow and Invergordon, and Hermann Göring and Joseph Goebbels were on board the first non-stop Lufthansa flight from London to New York City.[2]


In November 1941, nine months after a German invasion led to the British surrender, Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, of the London's Metropolitan Police – CID (Criminal Investigation Department) at Scotland Yard (Homicide Detective), is called in to investigate a murder of a well-dressed man in a flat in Shepherd Market.

Although the body has two gunshot wounds, Archer is puzzled by its condition, in particular by what appears to be sunburn on the arm. To his surprise, the case draws the attention of the highest levels of the German authorities, as an SS Standartenführer, Oskar Huth, arrives to supervise the investigation. Archer soon finds himself in the middle of a power struggle between Huth and Gruppenführer Fritz Kellermann, Archer's boss and the head of police forces in Great Britain, while also becoming embroiled in the British Resistance movement and attempts to bring the United States into the war.


  • Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer
  • Dr Oskar Huth
  • Fritz Kellermann
  • Barbara Barga
  • Detective Sergeant Harry Woods
  • Police Constable Jimmy Dunn
  • Sylvia Manning
  • Dr John Spode

In other media[edit]


In November 2014, the BBC announced a five-episode miniseries, SS-GB, adapted from the novel by James Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.[3] It was broadcast on BBC One between 19 February 2017 and 19 March 2017.


Gavriel David Rosenfeld, a professor of history at Fairfield University, cited SS-GB in his book The World Hitler Never Made.[4]

See also[edit]