Farthing : Small Change

  • by Jo Walton
  • Narrated by John Keating, Bianca Amato
  • Series: Small Change
  • 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One summer weekend in 1949 - but not our 1949 - the well-connected "Farthing set", a group of upper-crust English families, enjoy a country retreat. Lucy is a minor daughter in one of those families; her parents were both leading figures in the group that overthrew Churchill and negotiated peace with Herr Hitler eight years before. Despite her parents' evident disapproval, Lucy is married - happily - to a London Jew. It was therefore quite a surprise to Lucy when she and her husband, David, found themselves invited to the retreat. It's even more startling when, on the retreat's first night, a major politician of the Farthing set is found gruesomely murdered, with abundant signs that the killing was ritualistic.
It quickly becomes clear to Lucy that she and David were brought to the retreat in order to pin the murder on him. Major political machinations are at stake, including an initiative in Parliament, supported by the Farthing set, to limit the right to vote to university graduates. But whoever's behind the murder, and the frame-up, didn't reckon on the principal investigator from Scotland Yard being a man with very private reasons for sympathizing with outcasts and looking beyond the obvious. As the trap slowly shuts on Lucy and David, they begin to see a way out - a way fraught with peril in a darkening world.

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What the Critics Say

"If Le Carré scares you, try Jo Walton. Of course her brilliant story of a democracy selling itself out to fascism sixty years ago is just a mystery, just a thriller, just a fantasy--of course we know nothing like that could happen now. Don't we?" (Ursula K. Le Guin)
"Walton crosses genres without missing a beat with this stunningly powerful alternative history…. while the whodunit plot is compelling, it's the convincing portrait of a country's incremental slide into fascism that makes this novel a standout. Mainstream readers should be enthralled as well." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Promised much, but disappointing

I expected this book to be an interesting exploration of post-war Britain in the "what if the Nazis had won" mode. Very superficial treatment of that theme so the story ends up not much more than a typical "murder at the Manor house".

The reading performance was mixed; the female reader was excellent and really seemed to understand her character. The male narrator was irritatingly wooden and seemed to be reading the book for the very first time.
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- soo jay

Unexpectedly enjoyable.

What made the experience of listening to Farthing the most enjoyable?

I am a audio book addict. That means I am constantly searching for new titles. This one was a shot in the dark, but the story, narration and plot were out of the ordinary.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The translation of history is altered to imagine a world in which political persuasions are dramatically different. This enabled many possibilities within the plot.


Any additional comments?

I didn't expect to enjoy it, but I am now purchasing the second in the series.

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- S

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-08-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios