Thursday Next is a literary detective in a different modern England where cloning is routine (hence the presence of the extinct dodo bird), time travel occurs every day, and the world's literature is policed by a government agency. When England's supervillian, Acheron Hades starts kidnapping and killing characters from famous literary masterpieces, Thursday becomes the only one who may be able to outsmart him and restore order to the literary world.
This report prepared by Amanda Goodwin
Thursday Next is a government detective in London in 1985 ... but this is another 1985, when the Crimean conflict is still raging; people take airships instead of trains or planes; Dodos have been reinvented due to technological advances and govenerment departments are highly secretive.
Thursday is a literary detective, employed by the state to enforce accuracy in literary circles - after all, gangs of youths hang around on street corners arguing the authenticity of Shakespeare or merit Coleridge - and
original manuscripts are enshrined and revered like holy texts.
A routine inspection of the theft of an early 'Jane Eyre' manuscript turns out to be more than thursday bargained for. Her ex-tutor and master criminal Acheron Hades has stolen this text and, with the help of imaginative technology, intends to get inside the book and change the course of Jane and Rochester's fate.
Thursday's uncle, an inventor, has created a machine that allows one to gain access to works of literature by stepping inside the environment and description created by the author. During an experiment with the machine, his wife ends up in 'Daffodils', but becomes stranded there when evil
genius Acheron turns up to kidnap the inventor and his machine.
Thursday's mission is to get back inside the book and release the prankster, saving the course of the book at the same time. Can she get in, remove the offender and leave without being trapped in the book herself? ...
You'll have to read the book to find out, but be prepared for some wry takes on granted aspects of modern society. Fforde's imagination knows no bounds and will have you in stitches.
This report prepared by Steve Slack
Viking, Feb 2002, 23.95, 374 pp.
In 1985 time travel and cloning are a consistent part of life. In Britain, English literature has become so in vogue, original manuscripts are quite valuable. Just ask any of the zillion Williams, Charles, or Miltons. Acheron Hades, currently ranked as the third most wanted man in the world, wants to move up to numero uno. He steals the original manuscript of Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit and “kills” off a secondary character by erasing him from the first book. All subsequent copies of the novel no longer contain that character because he does not “exist” in the pre-printed prototype.
Word amongst the secretive publishing industry is that Acheron plans to remove Jane Eyre next. This calls for a special literary agent, Thursday Next of the undercover Special Operations Network's Literary Detective Division. She begins her inquiries with the Dickens' tale and soon follows the pages to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and a Rocky Horror version of Richard III. Will Thursday save the literary world in time to return home by Friday or will she become an editorial delete due to a poor critical review?
Jasper Fforde writes a zany, wild and weird affair that is part science fiction, part alternate history, part classic literature and all amusing satire that never stops to look back at what is ripped besides a page or two. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action, but never forgets to wink at the audience. Acheron is quite a villain and Thursday is a superb heroine. Along with a strong support cast that rounds out what is on, the characters insure that this novel is going to be recognized as one of more jocular tales of the year.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner