I know that I am very late coming to Fforde’s Thursday Next books – but I have finally read the first one!
Thursday lives in an alternative England (namely Swindon) where there are skirmishes on the borders with the Socialist Republic of Wales, the Crimean War has never ended, people can move in and out of novels and backwards & forwards through time, and Jane Eyre has a totally different ending.
Someone has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and Thursday has been drafted in to help track down the chief culprit, Acheron Hades – a criminal mastermind who is a former tutor of Thursday’s, with her being one of only a handful that know what he looks like.
There are some fantastic ideas and scenes in the book that literally had me giggling to myself, or wishing that *I* could transport into the story myself – for example, I would LOVE to attend the rather boisterous and raucous version of Richard III that is put on by a Swindon theatre, that has run for many years and sounds a bit like The Rocky Horror Show at The Prince Charles Cinema!
Fforde has really let his imagination run wild, with timeholes, real bookworms, amusing names (like Braxton Hicks) – however, as this is the first of a series, there are a lot of building blocks, which mans that there were some ideas which didn’t really feel fully explored. But I can forgive this small misdemeanour as the story is action-packed, intelligent, extremely funny and rather addictive!