a live illustration of shifting alliances in the antechamber

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Alex Coseff

Senior Member

I'm a bit puzzled by the bit in bold, though. I'm familiar with the collocation shifting alliances, i.e. a connection based on kinship, marriage, a bond or tie... however, it doesn' t make sense to me in the context below... I understand it's a metaphor, shifting alliances might be the villagers.. but overall...
COuld you please explain/paraphrase the phrase for me?

Many thanks.

G.M.Malliet: Wicked autumn
"It was interesting over the days to watch when the time came to exchange the peace - it was like a live illustration of shifting alliances in the antechamber of the medieval court. Suspicion fell on first one villager, then the other; the Major was first out of favour (wasn' t the husband always guilty?), then back in (surely, he wouldn't have the nerve)."

Background info: Major' s wife wanda was killed; the police are racking their brains who commited the crime.. The villagers feel a bit uneasy, the suspicion falls from a person to another person...
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The antechamber is the room that courtiers waited in, before entering the king's presence in the Throne Room; there were often several antechambers through which a visitor had to progress. So this would be an obvious place to try and make friends, to persuade people to vote for your plans (in exchange for you supporting theirs and moving your allegiance from one to another).

    The modern equivalent is the lobby of the House of Commons, and lobbying is big business.
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