Ha'penny - John H. Walton I found this second book in Jo Walton's "Small Change" trilogy increasingly difficult to put down. From something which I expected would take me a few days to read, it became a book which I devoured in three sittings - the last half of it in a single sitting.

The first book in the trilogy, Farthing, created the world of the novel: a world in which England made peace with Nazi Germany in 1941 and is sliding towards becoming a fascist state in 1949. Farthing was written in the style of a Golden Age detective novel. Ha'penny is written in the style of a thriller. Both novels are written in alternating first and third person narratives and share characters; in particular a police inspector with a conscience.

This novel suffers from being the second instalment in a trilogy. The world created in Farthing is powerful, disturbing and unforgettable. Because already familiar, it is somehow less shocking in this novel. In addition, it is clear that the book is in part a set-up for the final instalment.

Nowever, whatever weaknesses the book may have, there is still plenty to make it a page-turner. And if part of the point was to make the reader eager to read the final instalment, then it was hugely successful. I can't wait to get hold of the third novel in the trilogy, Half a Crown.