I read this book years ago and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd read it again with my Second Life book club. I had forgotten much about the book since I last read it.
Jasper Fforde weaves a tale about a police detective, Thursday Next, who specializes in literary crime. Most of the time it is a very dull job, at least for most of the LiteraTecs. Thursday seems to attract adventure. Before becoming a police officer, she fought in the Crimean War. In this war, she lost her brother, and the love of her life. One to death, the other to the trauma of war.
The world of Thursday Next is a world of time travel, cloned extinct pets, and characters being kidnapped out of famous books. England and Russia have been fighting a war off and on for over a century. Her father is a time traveling fugitive that is trying to fix the past, so she rarely sees him.
Thursday's nemesis in this book is Acheron Hades. He is probably my second favorite character of the whole book. Thursday is drawn into this adventure because Hades was her professor in college, so she can identify him. He has the strange ability to locate people when they speak his name, seems to be invulnerable to any physical harm, and apparently has the ability to teleport and cause others to hallucinate. He commits evil acts for the pure pleasure and feels that to robbery for the sake of financial gain is low, common, and in poor taste.
Fforde combines adventure and comedy together very well. As an American, I know there are some references to part of London and England that I missed completely. There are many puns, some good, some come with a groan factor. I really enjoy the book, it was a fun read. I'm actually in the mood to read the rest of the series.