Well written and grips you from the start. The concept has been used by other writers but found this not as complicated or political as others. There are only a handful of main characters so an easy read. Read the book in two sittings, which is unusual for me nowadays.
Region 6 takes place in war torn England 40 years after Germany wins the war in Europe. The two main characters are Tom, a young man whose parents were murdered by the SS and who has limited prospects due to distant Jewish relatives, and Stephen, whose parents are supporters of the occupying Germans. As you can probably guess they live vastly different lives.
The descriptions of the devastation still very apparent in parts of England are vivid and contrast greatly in the parts where the German occupiers and their British sympathizers live and work..
Tom, facing a lifetime of menial factory work eventually joins the Resistance while Stephen joins the Gestapo and is tasked with infiltrating said Resistance - where once confronted with the truth of the Holocaust finds himself questioning everything he has ever believed in.
As a huge fan on the alt-history genre I looked forward to reading Region 6 and was not disappointed - the story grabbed me from the very start and the details of a very different Second World War will make readers extremely grateful that the outcome was very different from the one portrayed by the author. I highly recommend this book to anybody that enjoys a well written and original story.
Reading alternative history books, a genre I enjoy, the most important thing is to create a believable set up. I think Krender's set up is believable and he creates a vivid dystopian alternative timeline where the Nazis have won the war and have turned 1980s Britain into Region 6, an entirely Nazi controlled outpost where the populace are controlled with water additives to affect behaviour and the people who are not affiliated with the occupiers live and work in dreadful conditions. The story follows Thomas, who is one of the people who lives in a slum and works in a TV factory, and Stephen who has wealthy parents who gift him Nazi party membership for his birthday. Stephen has a good education, living parents and a good life but both men are struggling with forbidden homosexuality. When Thomas becomes involved in a resistance organisation, Stephen is sent to investigate him and the two men form a relationship.
This is not a particularly detailed depiction of their relationship and there are no sex scenes as such. I thought the characters well drawn and their motives well thought out. Thomas in particular is a character who is a bit rough around the edges and seems believable. I liked the way that the resistance fighters were depicted, and it made me think about how we consider terrorists. The plot is good too, although I think the end seemed a little rushed. Overall though I thought this was a very promising novel and I would read more by the author.
Carmen and her two sisters were from a close knit, conservative Spanish family. With the outbreak of war, their father thought it was time to send them along with their mother Maria to his cousin who lived in France. They got out in the nick of time.
Settling into a village life in France was hard. Language was a problem and though schooling sorted that issue out very fast, Maria lagged behind. She was never comfortable with the French language, found the accent difficult to comprehend and remained isolated throughout. It did not help matters because she still brought with her traditional values which in the French context were out of date.
When the Germans invaded Poland, and then France Carmen decided enough was enough. She wanted to do something constructive with her life and joined the Resistance. The family was again in the midst of war and though not as bad as other villages, life was tough.
Pedro was struggling to maintain the farm he got from a friend of Carmens (when the boy was conscripted) and making huge amount of supplies to the German army made making a living precarious. When Ottillia the second girl began a liaison with a German soldier matters became worse. Ottilia was the hard headed girl who did not listen to advice and despite knowing what became of those who befriended Germans she continued the relationship.
The day to day life of the average person in the village juxtaposed with the life and deprivations of those who joined the Resistance and who faced major setbacks and hardship were very descriptive. The thread of romance going through the book in various forms shows that love will find a way in the most difficult of circumstances. It added another layer to the story.
Moving from one war to another was difficult. They came as refugees hoping to find peace and ended up in another bigger war. That they all escaped with their lives despite being foreigners was no easy task.
Very good historical detail of one of the lesser known contributions of the Spanish to the French resistance and war effort which is forgotton most of the time was detailed here.
Region 6 was an easy read where the story grabs you from the start. The author managed to create a very plausible world in the aftermath of WWII, considering how WWII actually was and the characters were well written. Even if Region 6 is a standalone, I think the concept would work great as a trilogy, especially considering the ending.