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Cavendish is hollow-faced and hollow-eyed when he throws him on to a fresh horse at first light. ‘Call in some favours. There's hardly a gentleman in the realm that doesn't owe my lord cardinal something.’

It's late October, the sun a coin barely flipped above the horizon.

— Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Should I understand "the sun a coin" as "the sun looks like a coin"?

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    Yea, that's what I take it to mean, that the sun is very low, looks similar to a coin (probably gold coin). And referencing that it's probably just the start of sunrise since the coin (sun) was just flipped so it's going upwards.
    – CRABOLO
    Sep 5, 2015 at 3:17

1 Answer 1

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You have to fill in the missing pieces to get the full sense:

It is late October, [and] the sun [is (like)] a coin [which is] barely flipped above the horizon.

This is a metaphor, since it is fully equating two different things that are not the same. If it had used like or as, it would be a simile.

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