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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1964, and it's a week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Nazi Germany won the Second World War, Churchill is living in exile in Canada, Joseph Kennedy is President of the United States, and King Edward and Queen Wallis are puppet monarchs of the United Kingdom. In this dimension, history took a very different turn in 1942 to the one we are familiar with.

Berlin detective Xavier March is called in to investigate the suspicious death of a retired German senior civil servant. His enquiries lead him to inadvertently uncover a terrifying secret that has so far been hidden from the world, a secret so shocking that it must never be revealed.

© and (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Riveting adaptation...the drama is compelling from its opening sequence." (The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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No Reviews are Available
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Howie
  • 28-10-2006

butchered beyond comprehension

Pass this one by. I read the book a few years ago and thought it was great but this is a 2 hour hatchet job radio play. There are too many voices that come and go with no identification and the whole production is incomprehensible. Whoever did this should have listened to some old radio shows to see how it should be done. But the most annoying aspect of this production is the constant rise and fall in the audio level. If you turn up the volume to be able to hear the many whispered conversations then the normal tones that jump in are deafing. Read the book and forget about this botched attempt at dramatization.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Marvin Friedman
  • 02-09-2007

Poor Quality

This appears to be a recording of a stage play. The characters are diffucult to understand and it is difficult to tell which character is talking. The plot is very interesting but the format is not appropriate for audio books. This book appears best read in hard copy or presented differently. Frankly, this is the worst presentation I have gotten from Audible.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Guy Ivie
  • 27-01-2016

Excellent story and performances to match

An excellent alternate history story, with equally good performances by the cast. They really brought the story to life. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Carroll
  • 18-04-2015

An interesting adaptation of a long novel

The novel was quite long, but I enjoyed the BBC radio adaptation. The use of radio news in the background of some scenes allowed the pace to go much faster than the novel.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • SGC-Northern CA
  • 19-02-2015

Difficult to hear/understand

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you're not mobile, and you have a good at-home system in a quiet room, this recording might work.

What was most disappointing about Robert Harris’s story?

Never got far enough into the story to comment. I like the premise, but could not get past the production

Any additional comments?

I think a play is a very difficult thing to listen to, with added background sounds for 'ambience' competing with the dialog. I much prefer a single narrator reading.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dermot
  • 05-04-2015

Counter factual history fictionalised

Counter factual history fictionalised to great effect, while the moral that nothing stays buried forever is a moment of hope in a bleak retelling of 'what if' around WWII and Hitler's Germany

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 14-06-2007

great play

I heard this play when it was first broadcast on the Radio, and thought then that it was one of the best I'd heard. Anton Lesser has a great radio presence, as in the Falco series he has more recently starred in. A good listen, tho an expensive use of a book credit!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • catsatcastle
  • 10-04-2010

Masterpiece of radio

This is an atmospheric and brooding adaptation of a good novel by Robert Harris and I would highly recommend it.

Anton Lesser is superb in the role of March, switching from the gentle, loving and violent and all points along the scale. The other characters also play their parts well too but I think he is key.

It is quite clear that the crew making this went for atmosphere and it shows. The use of real background noises and music managed to create something that sounds naturalisic but was the result of effort. From the opening scenes when the phone call which starts the whole story off chimes in with the music, there is such attention to detail.

The final moments are genuinely chilling.

It's an interesting take on "what might have been" if Hitler had won WWII and how America would have reacted. If you like a good thriller, I would recommend this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rogayah
  • 24-08-2008

What if...

What if Hitler's Germany won the Second World War...it is a chilling scenario for this dramatisation of this book by Robert Harris. How close was the victory of the allies?

The pace is fast and frightening because this is a future world under a different dominant regime; a world where thought is controlled and speech is not free.

The plot is simple but grippping. The actors make it believable and the betrayals makes it heartbreaking. What does it take to make a world and to make a hero? This book gives one an idea of what a person will do for the things he believes are important.

This chilling tale is definitely worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. N. Broackes
  • 10-11-2017

lesser is brilliant!

i don't remember the ending being exactly the same - that was a slight disappointment... but the only one. it's wonderfully cast and performed. harris' story is one of the greats.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • mcsmall
  • 01-11-2017

Not as good as Harris' later works

We're always fascinated by the prospect of alternative history, and in this story, the Germans have won the war and are occupying Britain in 1963.
The first scene presents a chilling picture as to how that may have been, but the subsequent story line is somewhat flawed

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MR. H. M. CLOSE
  • 27-09-2016

Good - but lacks the depth of book. However good for a couple of hours in car

Good - but too abridged since some the real scene setting in the book has been lost. Does not really capture what a Germany in 1960 still under the third Reich and after holding territory won early in the war might have looked like which comes over so clearly in book. There in the background but you really have to be concentrating to pick it up. Also depends on many sound effects which can be distracting since not always clear what they are meant to represent. However, good precis of original and chilling glimpse of what might have been.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M. Giannangeli
  • 14-03-2016

Excellent

Nowadays, it's Man in the High Castle everyone's talking about. True, Dick's novel was published a good 30 years before Harris took the subject on, but if subtlety is your aim, Fatherland is a better stab at the "what if" scenario of Adolf Hitler and the axis powers winning the Second World War. Where Harris hits gold is the way he slowly reveals the context of Xavier March's life as the detective unravel said a murder mystery with far reaching consequences. Harris revels in toying with real historical characters. Like High Castle this is set in the 1960s - two years later, actually, in 1964 - presumably in order to have Hitler still alive. But Harris relies less on high drama then Dick, preferring to feast on the meat rather than the skin. It's easy to see why Fatherland was a bestseller. Thus dramatisation is top notch and the perfect accompaniment to a long flight.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lawrence
  • 07-04-2013

Masterpiece of audio theatre.

This story is dark and compelling, and easily one of the best i've heard.



It takes a what-if (the Nazis won the war) scenario and creates a murky, atmospheric cold war style thriller out of it.



It had all the same feel of dark politics and betrayal you get from the BBC adaptations of the John Le Carre novels, and, in many ways, the same kind of atmosphere.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexander
  • 07-07-2011

Captivating!

Evil as banal. How would a society based on Nazi principles operate? This story I think gives a good idea.

Anton Lesser is brilliant.

I read the book and enjoyed it but this dramatized audio version is great.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ed Newsome
  • 04-10-2010

Packs a punch

An inventive radio adaptation that chills and engages from the first moment. Anton Lesser is exceptional in the lead role.