The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

This book is the third in the series starring Thursday Next, our favorite Literary Detectives operative in an odd alternative universe England, and apprentice JurisFiction agent inside of novels and other fiction (the JurisFiction offices are located inside of Mansfield Park (from Austin), and the Great Library where all the novels and other fiction ever written in English, published or not, exist is overseen by the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat, who was the Cheshire Cat before they changed the county boundaries.) I loved this book, which had more plot twists than I remembered (having read the book twice before, once in July 2006 and again in March, 2011.

Due to complications in the real world (wanted by various Special Operations outfits and Goliath, stalked by Aornis Hades, and with her husband, Landen Park-Laine, eradicated past the age of two), our pregnant Next opts to hide out inside Caversham Heights, a never-published detective novel of deeply dubious quality in the Well of Lost Plots. From there, she continues her apprenticeship  in JurisFiction with Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. She also hears about the newest Book Operating System, BOOK V9, code worded UltraWord™, which is being promoted greatest improvement to the construction and maintenance of books since the invention of moveable type, and which is poised to supercede BOOK V3.3 (which superseded the award winning SCROLL, which went through eight upgrades).

Unfortunately, even with the assistance of Granny Next, who has followed her to Caversham Heights, Next finds that her memory of her husband is fading, due to the mindworm that Hades planted in her head; and various operatives in JurisFiction have been killed (murdered?), and there may be deep systemic problems with UltraWord™. (And the Three Witches from The Scottish Play have proclaimed that Next will be Bellman, the most important position in Jurisfiction next to that of  The Great Panjandrum, who may or may not exist). The final chapter of the book (in the American release) is an add-on chapter of weathering a Text Storm in the Great Library.

These are wonderful books, and one does tend to engage in the parlor game of deciding where one would like to be, if one could live (or take a vacation) inside of a book; my current vote is living with Miss Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield, where I could help Mr. Dick with his kites while staying out of the main narrative story. In the meantime, I will soon begin reading Something Rotten, the next Next book about Thursday (which I will start reading on Wednesday).


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