Excerpt from Farthing by Jo Walton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Farthing

by Jo Walton

Farthing
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2006, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2007, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


With the engine off the bird-song seemed very loud. A nearby but invisible blackbird chirruped "Look at me, Look at me, This is my territ'ry." He was answered by other birds seeking mates, building nests or defending their boundaries. They stilled to silence when they heard the clang of Royston shaking the gate, then started up again, for all the world as if they were gossiping about it. Royston started back towards the car, shaking his head.

Carmichael stuck his head out of the open window. "Let's give them a quick blast and see what that roots out," he said. Royston grinned. Carmichael leaned across the driver's seat and tapped out a quick salute on the horn, "Pa pa pa paaaarp!"

The only immediate result was another avian hush, and Carmichael was about to try again when a middle-aged woman came hurrying from the nearest cottage wiping her hands on her apron. "You'll be the police," she said. "Excuse me not hearing you but I was just getting dinner out." As if to authenticate her statement, the church clock suddenly chimed through its sequence and then struck noon. It was so close that none of them could speak over the clamour.

"Isn't that a bit loud?" Royston asked, taking his hands down from his ears.

"Oh, we're used to it," the woman said. "It has to be that loud so they can hear it up at the house." She nodded towards the gates.

"Are you the gatekeeper?" Carmichael asked.

She blinked. "No... and I'm not rightly the gatekeeper's wife neither, because there hasn't been a gatekeeper since my father died. The gates stand open, mostly, I was saying to Jem this morning that I don't know when we shut them last."

This confirmed Carmichael's observation, he nodded. "They're not closed even at night?" he asked.

"No, not for ever so long now," she said. "Not since my father died probably, the same year the old king died."

It was as Carmichael had thought. Anyone could have driven up to the house. The gravel held tracks, the local police would have driven up it this morning but it might be possible to find some evidence even so. He got out of the car and stood beside Royston. "So, if you're not the gatekeeper, who are you?" he asked the woman.

"I'm Betty," she said, "Betty Jordan. My husband Jem is the mechanic up at the big house."

"Mechanic?" Royston asked, surprised.

"He keeps their cars and that going," she said.

"But you have a key to the gate?" Carmichael asked.

"Yes, and the policeman from Winchester said you'd be arriving and to let you in when you did," she said, brandishing a large iron key inset with a robin to match the robin on the gates. "You are the London police, aren't you?" She took their silence for assent and went on immediately. "Isn't it terrible, anarchists murdering Sir James in his bed like that?"

"And to think it might have been prevented if they'd only locked the gates," Carmichael said, taking the key from her unresisting hand. "I'll be sure to lock them behind me now, and to see that this key is returned to you later. We'll also need to interview you and your family -- does your husband sleep at home?"

"Jem?" she asked, as if he might mean some other husband. He smiled at the thought that a bigamist might ask that question that way. "Yes, he does, he sleeps down here."

"And did you see any signs of anarchists last night? Any unusual cars?"

"Well, yes," she said, very flustered now and twisting her apron in her fingers. "Any number of them. But they were having a party. People were to-ing and fro-ing all the time. Who's to say who any of them were? Half of them could have been terrorists and assassins and we wouldn't know."

Copyright © 2006 by Jo Walton

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...
  • Book Jacket
    Find Me Unafraid
    by Kennedy Odede, Jessica Posner
    With staggering emotional weight and keen awareness of love and humanity even in the darkest places,...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach

    "An auspicious, gut-wrenching, wonderful debut." - Kirkus, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.