Tor, Oct 2007, $25.95
In 1941 the Farthing Group negotiated a peace deal with Hitler that gave the Nazis the continent and made Great Britain his ally. Now eight years later, the once proud English democracy is gone replaced by a repressive regime that persecutes minorities and dissidents through violent police state tactics.
However an angry underground insurgency has caused problems for the government; culminating with a bomb exploding on the streets of London. Scotland Yard Inspector Carmichael, whose investigation into the murder of the Farthing group leader Sir James Thirkie has alienated him with the brass and the politicians, is assigned the lead because he is expendable. Pressure mounts once again for him to fix blame on some scapegoat person preferably a homosexual or a group like the Jews rather than find the truth. However as he did in the FARTHING affaire, he keeps digging. What he finds makes no sense as a vast conspiracy consisting of members of the NRA, the House of Lords, the Communist Party, and a number of other activist groups plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and Hitler with hopes of causing a revolution.
Whereas FARTHING is a terrific alternate historical police procedural, HA’PENNY is more of a fabulous alternate historical suspense thriller. Walton’s world is based on the premises that the British hierarchy “exiled” Churchill and avoided war with Hitler by appeasing the Nazis. Once again the conspiracy is over the top, but the investigation is clever as loner Carmichael struggles with the directions the clues take him even as his supervisors question his loyalty. These two tales are must reading for the Harry Turtledove fans who will appreciate another well written 1940s spin.