sunnuntai 24. heinäkuuta 2011

Jo Walton: Farthing, Ha'penny, Half a crown

Jo Walton: Farthing, Ha'penny, Half a crown

This trilogy of thrillers is set in an alternative history where the Great Britain made peace with Nazi Germany. I'm not a big fan of thrillers, but these books really made me see the fascination of the genre. They are cleverly written, following a pattern but one so well designed it didn't bother me at all. Each of the novels has two narrators, a middle aged gentleman (who rises from Inspector to Watch Commander during the series) and a female character, different one for each book. The plots are all about solving a political murder, but the politics of Walton's world makes them interesting.

The setting of the novel is the 1960s London. Hitler is in power in the continent, and the Brittish government turns more and more fascist during the course of the books. I'm certainly not a historian, but this alternative history gripped me and didnt let go, it felt real and possible. The ones resisting the fascist goverment live in constant fear of being discovered but they want to continue their struggle because they believe in their cause. Some of the choices people make in this environment look horrible at first, but it becomes easy to understand their reasoning when the world becomes more familiar to the reader.

I enjoyed reading these novels. They are perfect for summer, not too heavy in regard of the language or the plot, but they give you much to think about, truly transfer you to another world. I'm certainly going to look for Walton's other novels, and perhaps her work encourges me to try other thrillers as well.

British Book Challenge: The books are set in an alternative history London, and I feel that the writer must have known much about Britain's history and culture to be able to create such a believable alternative history.
GLBT challenge: The central character of the series, Inspector/Watch Commander Peter Carmichael is gay and the threat that something would happen to his partner is a motivation for him to do things for the government he doesn't feel are right. Half a crown, th elast book of the series, specially handles the relationship of Carmichael and his life-partner (with quite a cliché ending).

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