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The Eyre affair
2002
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Awards
2002 - Locus Poll Award for Best SF Novel (25th place)
2002 - Locus Poll Award for Best First Novel (2nd place)
2003 - Independent Booksellers Association's Dilys Award nominee
Characters
Thursday Next (Female), Investigator, Engaged, Crimean War veteran, Special operative in literary detection
Acheron Hades (Male), Criminal, Kidnaps characters from works of literature
Genre
Alternative history
Magic realism
Mystery
Science fiction
Fiction
Topics
Censorship
Time travel
Stolen manuscripts
Kidnapping
Ransom
Fathers and daughters
Setting
Swindon, England - Europe
Time Period
1985 -- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

"So unusual you've got to read it to believe it; and please do," trumpets London's Bookseller. Unusual, indeed; in Fforde's debut, set in 1985 in an alternate London, literature is (refreshingly) so important that you can get punished for forging Byronic verses. Then someone starts kidnapping literary characters Jane Eyre's disappearance is particularly traumatic and Special Operative Thursday Next must stop this before it's too late. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Surreal and hilariously funny, this alternate history, the debut novel of British author Fforde, will appeal to lovers of zany genre work (think Douglas Adams) and lovers of classic literature alike. The scene: Great Britain circa 1985, but a Great Britain where literature has a prominent place in everyday life. For pennies, corner Will-Speak machines will quote Shakespeare; Richard III is performed with audience participation la Rocky Horror and children swap Henry Fielding bubble-gum cards. In this world where high lit matters, Special Operative Thursday Next (literary detective) seeks to retrieve the stolen manuscript of Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit. The evil Acheron Hades has plans for it: after kidnapping Next's mad-scientist uncle, Mycroft, and commandeering Mycroft's invention, the Prose Portal, which enables people to cross into a literary text, he sends a minion into Chuzzlewit to seize and kill a minor character, thus forever changing the novel. Worse is to come. When the manuscript of Jane Eyre, Next's favorite novel, disappears, and Jane herself is spirited out of the book, Next must pursue Hades inside Charlotte Bront's masterpiece. The plethora of oddly named characters can be confusing, and the story's episodic nature means that the action moves forward in fits and starts. The cartoonish characters are either all good or all bad, but the villain's comeuppance is still satisfying. Witty and clever, this literate romp heralds a fun new series set in a wonderfully original world. (Jan. 28) Forecast: With a six-city author tour, a well-conceived Web site at www.thursdaynext.com and crossover appeal to Bront fans, this is likely to attract more attention than the usual first genre novel. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . . Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . . Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affairis a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe. Next up in the Thursday Next series: Lost in a Good Book. Read more about it at thursdaynext.com.
Table of Contents
1A Woman Named Thursday Nextp. 1
2Gad's Hillp. 11
3Back at My Deskp. 18
4Acheron Hadesp. 29
5Search for the Guilty, Punish the Innocentp. 44
6Jane Eyre: A Short Excursion into the Novelp. 63
7The Goliath Corporationp. 71
8Airship to Swindonp. 77
9The Next Familyp. 90
10The Finis Hotel, Swindonp. 106
11Polly Flashes Upon the Inward Eyep. 122
12SpecOps-27: The Literary Detectivesp. 128
13The Church at Capel-y-ffinp. 142
14Lunch with Bowdenp. 143
15Hello & Goodbye, Mr. Quaverleyp. 151
16Sturmey Archer and Felix7p. 162
17SpecOps-17: Suckers & Bitersp. 172
18Landen Againp. 179
19The Very Irrev. Joffy Nextp. 192
20Dr. Runcible Spoonp. 201
21Hades & Goliathp. 209
22The Waiting Gamep. 216
23The Dropp. 220
24Martin Chuzzlewit Is Reprievedp. 232
25Time Enough for Contemplationp. 238
26The Earthcrossersp. 243
27Hades Finds Another Manuscriptp. 264
28Haworth Housep. 286
29Jane Eyrep. 295
30A Groundswell of Popular Feelingp. 300
31The People's Republic of Walesp. 303
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