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.


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

Clumsy, stereotypical, dreadful narrators

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing...it seems very amateur...poor characterization, anachronistic speech, badly researched, badly read.

Has Farthing put you off other books in this genre?

Only by this author

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of John Keating and Bianca Amato ?

Anyone who naturally spoke British English ...jarring accents, wrong emphasis, words mispronounced...irritating.

What character would you cut from Farthing?

All of them...stereotypes with nothing interesting to offer.

Any additional comments?

Interesting premise but excecuted badly. Pebbles of 'historical' facts dropped in to a puddle of stereotypes. The readers leave a lot to be desired, accents slip, constantly jarring.

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- Bookaholic


An exploration of a possible Britain and wider British Empire that had not been devastated by WWII would be a fascinating subject for an alternate history novel. Sadly this book is not that. It is eye rolling nonsense. Preposterous English aristocrats plot against the Jews in England, whilst they're still being rounded up and gassed by the Nazis in 1949. Not a very good alternate history by any measure. To be fair despite the awful story the readers do a perfectly good job, and can't be faulted. I would not recommend this book to anyone, and certainly won't be wasting a penny on the other books in this series.
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- A1eXei

Book Details

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