Description: In 1941 the European war ended in the Farthing Peace, a rapprochement between Britain and Nazi Germany. Peter Carmichael is commander of the Watch, Britains distinctly British secret police.
The central character of the previous novels, police officer Peter Carmichael, is now in charge of the Watch, a Gestapo-type security organisation. In this novel, the first person narrator is 18 year old Elvira, Carmichael's ward. The third person narrative again concerns Carmichael, as he navigates through the requirements of his position and the demands of his conscience. In part, the novel is Elvira's coming of age story, as she gradually reaches an understanding of the world in which lives. The novel is not only about Elvira, though.
napeto do samog kraja, i tek je moda kraj malo zbrzan i ima elemente 'deus ex machina'.
Jo Walton, the author of this book, is classified as a sci-fi and fantasy writer. In her first book,Farthing, she had spelled out how in 1941, there was a rapprochement between Britain and Nazi Germany. Many were forced to live in the ghetto in Venice, where they continued to exist when Shakespeare wrote his play. Walton's book clearly expounds on what can occur in such an oppressive society. As previously mentioned in my review of Farthing, a recent non-fiction book addresses England's role in the expulsion of the Jewish populace, with great clarity. While considering this issue in view of the weight of the problem , I feel Walton's treatment of a fascisistic society was sensitively done.
Im not quite sure how I feel about this book, or this trilogy.
Looking at my notes, I see a lot of all-caps sentences. In fact, I hated this book with a passion that still simmers a little. Oh, this is not a good narration Terry Donnelly gives a very deliberate, measured, extraordinarily prissy performance for the Elvira portions of the book. Instead, it was a languid, drawled sort of a word, more like Bertie Wooster hailing a cab, and in fact not deserving of the exclamation point. Those Elvira portions of the book were altogether unpleasant. Even aside from the narration, I hated the character so much that she is largely responsible for my hatred of the book. (See what I mean about the caps...?) In fact, if I wasn't told so in every Elvira chapter for the first two hours, it certainly felt like it. Attention all British authors, past, present, and future, who try their hand at American characters: We do NOT all sound like Foghorn bleeding Leghorn. (I'm looking at you too, Conan Doyle.) We do NOT say "mighty" in every other sentence, and it's astonishingly irritating and offensive in a character whose American accent and dialect was formed at Princeton.
I'd say that it's eerily prescient, right down to the Queen saying how Britons can't be proud of sending dissidents and Jews to Continental concentration camps but Tibs Cheriton says happily that it was Britain who invented the camps during the Boer War, but I think that the point is that it's not prescient at all, that fascism takes hold and flourishes the same way every time.
Last part of the Small Change Trilogy, I was really looking forward to read this. After narrating the chilling descent of Britain into fascism through murder and political intricacies in 'Farthing', and shown how tortured and morally torn apart people can be under such regimes (putting their own personal ethic to the test) in 'Ha'Penny', Jo Walton's alternate history seemed indeed to get better and better book after book, and I couldn't wait to see how it would all end. Here's a disappointing ending to an otherwise thrilling trilogy.
During those years, everything that was already going wrongever since the Farthing Set's "Peace with Honour" bought Britain nominal independence in exchange for the Third Reich's ascendancy in Europehas only become more and more entrenched. Normanby is still Prime Minister, in fact, his rule ever more deeply entrenched after a decade of consolidating power.
Carmichal was a mere Inspector from Scotland Yard in the first book of this trilogy, but he has progressed to head of the Watch (the British secret police, focused particularly on Jews and political dissidents). This is a series that deserves four stars at least, for its impeccable, thoughtful worlbuilding, nuanced character portraits, and chilling plots.