Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

This novel is the fourth in the series featuring Thursday Next, our favorite Literary Detective in an alternative-universe England, who is also working in JurisFiction, which polices things inside of books. I first read this book in August 2006, and again in March 2011, and I was most happy to read it again; my memory is such that in the space of five years I had forgotten most of the plot (not surprising, as the plot is most convoluted).

With her son now two years old, and speaking solely in Lorem Ipsum (the faux-Latin used by copywriters), Thursday returns from the world of books to Swindon; her husband Landon Park-Laine is still eradicated, and her brother Joffy, minister for the Global Standard Deity, is expecting the imminent return of St Zvlkx, whose Sixth Revealment predicted his return from the thirteenth century. The Seventh Revealment has something to do with Swindon Mallets winning the 1988 Croquet Superhoop final; Thursday’s father warns her (at the same time he warns her that a contract has been taken out on her life with the Windowmaker) that if Swindon does not win the match nuclear annihilation will occur in about three weeks. Next’s Uncle Mycroft is back, but since he and Polly eradicated their memories of his inventions, he cannot tell what his invention the Ovinator does, unless it has something to do with eggs. Meanwhile, Yorrick Kaine (from the world of books) has become Chancellor of England, with only elderly President Formby keeping him from becoming dictator; he holds some power over people, and is fomenting war with Denmark and burning Danish literature. This means that Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, who is visiting the Outland, has to be introduced to everyone as Next’s Cousin Eddie; he is staying with Next’s mother, who also has Otto von Bismarck and Emma Hamilton living with her and her flock of dodos. Finally, the Minotaur is still on the loose, and holds a personal animosity against Next. I think that is most of the major plot points, barring a few Neanderthals, Granny Next, and near-death experiences.

This is a most fun book to read, and I have always enjoyed my reading of the book; tomorrow I will start reading (or more properly, re-reading) First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde.

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