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Half A Crown [Format Kindle]

Jo Walton

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From Publishers Weekly

In Walton's fine conclusion to her alternative-history trilogy (after Ha'penny), former Scotland Yarder Peter Carmichael, now head of the secret police organization known as the Watch, must prepare for a peace conference to be held in London two decades after Britain reached an accommodation with Hitler's Germany in the early 1940s. Carmichael also has to worry about his sexual relationship with his valet, Jack, and the covert unit within the Watch he's created to smuggle British Jews out of the country. Then his naïve 18-year-old ward, Elvira Royston, who's about to be presented to the queen, overhears a conversation that could compromise her protector. Elvira, who winds up in police custody after attending a political rally that turns violent, accepts her authoritarian society with a casualness that's truly chilling. Walton's understated prose and deft characterizations elevate this above similar works such as Fatherlandand SS-GB. Some readers, though, may feel let down by an optimistic ending that jars with the series' overall downbeat tone. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Présentation de l'éditeur

In 1941 the European war ended in the Farthing Peace, a rapprochement between Britain and Nazi Germany. The balls and banquets of Britain's upper class never faltered, while British ships ferried “undesirables” across the Channel to board the cattle cars headed east.

Peter Carmichael is commander of the Watch, Britain's distinctly British secret police. It's his job to warn the Prime Minister of treason, to arrest plotters, and to discover Jews. The midnight knock of a Watchman is the most dreaded sound in the realm.

Now, in 1960, a global peace conference is convening in London, where Britain, Germany, and Japan will oversee the final partition of the world. Hitler is once again on British soil. So is the long exiled Duke of Windsor - and the rising gangs of “British Power” streetfighters, who consider the Government “soft,” may be the former king's bid to stage a coup d'état.

Amidst all this, two of the most unlikely persons in the realm will join forces to oppose the fascists: a debutante whose greatest worry until now has been where to find the right string of pearls, and the Watch Commander himself.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1050 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 317 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0765316218
  • Editeur : Corsair (24 décembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00GHK71QS
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°95.297 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  25 commentaires
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A fine parable of human frailties 1 décembre 2008
Par Jules Mazarin - Publié sur Amazon.com
One shouldn't take the "alternate history" trappings of Walton's "pocket change" trilogy too seriously. Other, lesser, writers have created works based on counterfactual historical premises in which the whole point is to explore the ramifications of a world in which, for example, Napoleon wins at Waterloo, or someone uses a time machine to ship a load of AK-47s and ammunition to Robert E. Lee.

Jo Walton's trilogy does rest on a historical counterfactual--that the United States refused to support Britain in 1940, and that Britain was consequently forced to make peace with Hitler. However, the counterfactual is not central to Walton's work; it is only a literary device that serves to set the story in a place that both is, and is not, here and now. Because the world of Walton's trilogy is a distorted version of our own, both recognizable and yet alien, what might have been an ideological diatribe becomes instead a most effective parable.

Walton uses this dark mirror of our world as a stage-setting for a parable that illustrates compellingly the ease with which men can be seduced into accepting evil in return for an imagined safety, and how quickly ordinary and decent people can be made to descend the declivity of betrayal, corruption, fear, and self-hate. Walton writes as though she cares about her characters, and consequently makes us care. Most of them are neither totally evil nor altogether good; they are almost always interesting. Caught up in events they cannot control, these people must make decisions that entail compromises; some win through, while others lose their lives or--worse--their souls.

Though Walton's story has clear parallels to the present day, she is never heavy-handed, obvious, or judgmental. While Walton's trilogy isn't an ideological sermon, it does disturb and--one hopes--gives rise to serious reflection.

My one criticism of this work is that Inspector Carmichael gets off too lightly. The inspector has compromised too much of his integrity; I feel that there should have been a price required for that.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A fine conclusion to an excellent trilogy 1 octobre 2008
Par Dr. F. S. Ledgister - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Walton's 'Small Change' Trilogy, begun with Farthing, and continued with Ha'penny is brought to a satisfactory, and somewhat surprising conclusion in this book. Unlike its predecessors it does not revolve around a crime. Instead it is focused on the actions of two characters, the commander of Britain's political police, the Watch, Commander Carmichael, and his ward, Elvira Royston, as they grapple with the political and social realities of this alternative Britain of 1960. Carmichael, and his partner/manservant Jack provide continuity with the previous novels, though mention is made of characters from both, and characters from both previous novels make appearances.

Walton plays with alternative history like a musician, bringing in elements from actual history with a slight skew. In Farthing it was the Cliveden Set, in Ha'penny, it was the Mitford sisters; here it is Burgess, minus Maclean, Philby, and Blunt, but elevated. The novel concludes with a twist, as surprising as it is welcome, delivered by a character singularly appropriate for the role.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Average 19 décembre 2008
Par R. Albin - Publié sur Amazon.com
The concluding volume of an alternative history trilogy in which Britain made peace with Nazi Germany in 1940. The volume recounts the fall of the British authoritarian state through the experience of its 2 protagonists. Walton is a competent writer but this book lacks the best features of its predecessors. The prior books contained some clever plot construction, the first book was a variant of the country house murder mystery, the second a clever play on Hamlet, but this one lacks any such elements. The prior books drew on some historical characters as models for some of the characters but this one does not. The plotting and characterization are workmanlike. Several aspects of the plot are a bit strained. As an alternative history, this book doesn't do very well, with little interesting detail or effort to flesh out the proposed alternative path of history.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A less than satisfying conclusion to the "Small Change" series 15 janvier 2010
Par MarkK - Publié sur Amazon.com
Jo Walton's "Small Change" trilogy is a challenging one to classify. Her previous novels in the series, and , easily fit a number of genres - alternate history, murder mystery, suspense novel thriller - without entirely being defined by any one of them. This book, the final novel in her series, is no different. Less a murder mystery than a political thriller, it takes her concept of a Britain descending towards fascism and moves it a decade into the future. By 1960, Britain has been ruled by politician-turned-dictator Mark Normanby for a decade. Jews and other perceived undesirables are frequently rounded up and sent for disposal to the Continent, where the Nazis have triumphed in their long-running war against the Soviets. Most Britons have accepted fascist rule, with a police force that now regularly tortures suspects, and a body called the Watch which serves as a domestic Gestapo; some have even come to believe it to be beneficial. Yet not everyone has submitted to the regime. Among the ranks of the few resisters is Peter Carmichael, a former Scotland Yard inspector turned secret policeman, who runs a clandestine organization that struggles to help rescue people when possible. Yet he is faced with the twin challenge of a potential coup by the Duke of Windsor and the discovery of his secret life by his ward Elvira Royston, the orphaned daughter of his former police partner. Together they threaten to unravel his clandestine work, possibly even at the cost of his life.

As with the other volumes, Walton develops her story by alternating between the first-person account of the naive Elvira and a third person narrative focusing on Carmichael. Yet there is no great mystery in this volume but a dual plot focusing on the emergence of the totalitarian "Ironsides" movement and Elvira's growing exposure to the realities of her world. Without the mystery, the emphasis is on suspense, yet Walton comes up short here. While she implies that her alternate Britain is a terrifying place, little of this seems to come out in the novel itself. Instead, everything seems almost laughably tame, from a secret policeman who is astonishing indiscreet and easily caught unawares to a underground coup that is hardly anything to fear. All of this saps the suspense from the story, making it a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion to an otherwise enjoyable and well-realized series.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Must Read 19 juin 2010
Par Annandale - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Half a Crown does not disappoint, and Walton brings her superb trilogy of fascist Britain to its inevitable conclusion. Unlike some reviewers, I do not think the ending was too optimistic or unexpected. Recent history has shown that there are cycles to the behavior of governments and individuals, and whether one is lucky enough to be around in one of the "good" cycles, or unfortunate enough to be living in one of the "bad," what goes around, comes around, and everything ends, even tyranny. Though it appears the new regime will be more liberal and enlightened, and certainly the previous crowd were mad as hatters, I do not think it certain that Walton is telling readers that now everything will be ok. A new group is taking over, they look and smell better, but it's really only a question of their time having arrived, who knows how it will all end up. After all, we all get the governments and the leaders we deserve.
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