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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 alternate 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.

Plot summary[edit]

In November 1941, nine months after a German invasion led to the British surrender, Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, a British homicide detective assigned to Scotland Yard, is called in to investigate a murder of a well-dressed man in an apartment in Shepherd Market. Although the body has two gunshot wounds, Archer is puzzled by the condition of the body, in particular what appears to be a sunburn on the its 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 Kellerman, Archer's boss and the head of police forces in Great Britain, whilst also becoming embroiled in the British Resistance movement and attempts to bring America into the war.

Alternate history events in SS-GB[edit]

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 the Germans for long enough to enable Royal Navy ships to escape from Harwich. King George VI and 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 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 escapes 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.[2]

SS-GB TV series[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]

References in other works[edit]

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]