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Publisher's Summary

An alternative history with a strong feminist twist, perfect for fans of Robert Harris' Fatherland, Christina Dalcher's Vox and the dystopian novels of Margaret Atwood.

To control the past, they edited history. To control the future, they edited literature.

London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalised. George VI and his family have been murdered, and Edward VIII rules as king. Yet, in practice, all power is vested in Alfred Rosenberg, Britain's Protector. The role and status of women is Rosenberg's particular interest. 

Rose Ransom belongs to the elite caste of women and works at the Ministry of Culture, rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. But now she has been given a special task. 

Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country: graffiti daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from forbidden works, subversive words from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums where childless women over 50 have been banished. These women are known to be mutinous, for they have nothing to lose. 

Before the Leader arrives for the Coronation ceremony of King Edward and Queen Wallis, Rose must infiltrate Widowland to find the source of this rebellion and ensure that it is quashed.

©2021 Thynker Ltd (P)2021 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic Reviews

"A triumph." (Amanda Craig)

"Convincing and gripping." (Elizabeth Buchan)

"Brilliantly imagined." (Clare Chambers)

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  • Lili
  • 11-06-2021

Vivid, nail-biting and utterly immersive


When I listen to an audio book I usually spread it over a few days but this chilling counter-factual dystopia of a Britain as a Third Reich protectorate had me so gripped I couldn’t stop listening.

Nobody who has lived through the last five years of British and American politics can come away from this novel without sensing a chilling warming of what could so easily be, if white supremacy were ever to prevail. Though set in an alternative past, Carey’s novel is about now - and tomorrow. But it’s also an against-the-odds story of female empowerment - and a love letter to the female writers who gave us some our best-loved classics.

Carey’s audacious thought experiment takes What If ? to a whole new level. I’ll be thinking about it first weeks. I’m taking it straight to my book club.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-06-2021

Great story

On the whole I enjoyed this book, but a couple of things grated a bit. The writing was a bit forced in places, descriptions sometimes didn't gel, and the narration wasn't exactly inspiring. Maybe I was unconsciously comparing it with Fatherland. But I did enjoy it and would recommend it

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  • V. O'Regan
  • 10-06-2021

A dystopian alternative history

This is an awesome work of dystopian fiction that also explores the power of literature to inspire and create social change .
One of my best reads of 2021

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-10-2021

Very engaging

This is a well-written imagining of the U.K. if the Nazis had won the war. It’s really quite horrific to think that this is possible. Definitely worth listening to and very well read.

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  • Mrs Curzon Tussaud
  • 10-09-2021

One not to miss!

Superb storytelling coupled with a terrific narration. Definitely in my top five Audible books ever.

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  • The Curator
  • 15-08-2021

Alternative history with a feminist focus

This is an excellent story of feminism battling Nazis. What more could you ask? Well, decent characters with explicable motives and no real cartoon villains. It easy to see how the heroine gets to where she’s at at the start of the story, privileged, sheltered and somewhat selfish but then the book takes on the notions of the power of books, of reading, of thinking. Many of the sentiments expressed could apply to lives at many points in history, including our own where Americans can nominate books to be banned from schools. All of that wrapped up in a fast paced thriller with fab older women!

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  • Pamela
  • 12-08-2021

Unconvincing

It was imaginative, but more of a ‘Girls’ Own Paper’ jolly adventure/soppy romance than a taut political thriller (CJ Sansom’s “Dominion”, with the same premise, was very tense and a real page turner). Plot holes and anachronisms didn't help. People blabbermouthed secret plans and I’d lost patience with them all by the end.

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  • Zoe
  • 23-06-2021

Great book

really enjoyed this absorbing read/listen (I did both) - I thought I'd struggle empathising with some of the characters but it was so well written I did the whole book in 3 days

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