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In Walton's fine conclusion to her alternative-history trilogy (after Ha'penny), former Scotland Yarder Peter Carmichael, now head of the secret police organization known as the Watch, must prepare for a peace conference to be held in London two decades after Britain reached an accommodation with Hitler's Germany in the early 1940s. Carmichael also has to worry about his sexual relationship with his valet, Jack, and the covert unit within the Watch he's created to smuggle British Jews out of the country. Then his naïve 18-year-old ward, Elvira Royston, who's about to be presented to the queen, overhears a conversation that could compromise her protector. Elvira, who winds up in police custody after attending a political rally that turns violent, accepts her authoritarian society with a casualness that's truly chilling. Walton's understated prose and deft characterizations elevate this above similar works such as Fatherland and SS-GB. Some readers, though, may feel let down by an optimistic ending that jars with the series' overall downbeat tone. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.