Search: Title Author Article. Rate this book. Buy This Book. Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop the hostile takeover of Hamlet by Orphelia? Can Swindon win the world croquet championship and thus prevent the end of the world? All this and more is revealed in this, the 4th volume in the Thursday Next series.
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Thursday Next: Ex-operative from Swindon's literary detective office of SpecOps 27 and currently head of Jurisfiction, the policing agency that operates within fiction to safeguard the stability of the written word.
Aged no and cannot die until she has read the ten most boring classics. Mycroft Next: Inventor uncle of Thursday's and last heard of living in peaceful retirement within the backstory of the Sherlock Holmes series. Designer of Prose Portal and sarcasm early warning device, among many other things. Husband to Polly. Colonel Next: A time-travelling knight errant, he was eradicated by the ChronoGuard, a sort of temporal policing agency.
Despite this, he is still about and meets Thursday from time to time. And Jurisfiction agent. Daphne Farquitt: Romance writer whose talent is inversely proportional to her sales. The Goliath Corporation: Vast, unscrupulous multinational corporation keen on spiritual and global domination.
Commander Trafford Bradshaw: Popular hero in s ripping adventure stories for boys, now out of print and notable Jurisfiction agent ,. Yorrick Kaine: Whig politician and publishing media tycoon. Also right-wing Chancellor of England, soon to be made dictator. Fictional, and sworn enemy of Thursday Next.
Upset when her husband inexplicably died at the beginning of the battle of Trafalgar. Lives in Mrs Next's spare room. SpecOps: Short for Special Operations, the governmental departments that deal with anything too rigorous for the ordinary police to handle.
Everything from time travel to good taste. Bartholomew Stiggins: Commonly known as 'Stig'. Neanderthal re-engineered from extinction, he heads SpecOps 13 Swindon , the policing agency responsible for re-engineered species such as mammoths, dodos, sabre-toothed tigers and chimeras. Chimera: Any unlicensed 'non-evolved life form' created by a hobby genetic sequencer. Illegal and destroyed without mercy.
St Zvlkx: A thirteenth-century saint whose 'Kevealments' have an uncanny knack of coming true. Superhoop: The World Croquet League final. Usually violent, always controversial. Lola Vavoom: An actress who does not feature in this novel but has to appear in the dramatis personae owing to a contractual obligation.
Escaped from custody and consequently a PageRunner. Whereabouts unknown. To access all these free bonus features, log on to: www. Working with the intelligence-gathering capabilities of Text Grand Central, the many Prose Resource Operatives at Jurisfiction work tirelessly to maintain the continuity of the narrative within the pages of all the books ever written, a sometimes thankless task. Jurisfiction agents live mostly on their wits as they attempt to reconcile the author's original wishes and readers' expectations within a strict and largely pointless set of bureaucratic guidelines laid down by the Council of Genres.
I headed Jurisfiction for over two years and was always astounded by the variety of the work: one day I might be attempting to coax the impossibly shy Darcy from the toilets and the next I would be thwarting the Martians' latest attempt to invade Barnaby Rudge. It was challenging and full of bizarre twists. But when the peculiar and downright weird become commonplace you begin to yearn for the banal.
The Minotaur had been causing trouble far in excess of his literary importance. First by escaping from the fantasy-genre PrisonBook Sword of the Zenobians , then by leading us on a merry chase across most of fiction and thwarting all attempts to recapture him.
We were still keen on taking him alive at this point so we had darted him with a small dose of Slapstick. Theoretically, we needed only to track outbreaks of custard-pie-in-face routines and walking-into-lamp-post gags within fiction to be led to the cannibalistic man-beast. It was an experimental idea and, sadly, also a dismal failure. Aside from Lafeu's celebrated mention of custard in All's Well that Ends Well and the ludicrous four-wheeled chaise sequence in Pickwick Papers , little was noticed.
The Slapstick either hadn't been strong enough or had been diluted by the BookWorld's natural aversion to visual jokes. In any event we were still searching for him two years later in the Western genre, among the cattle drives that the Minotaur found most relaxing.
And it was for this reason that Commander Bradshaw and I arrived at the top of page seventy-three of an obscure pulp from the thirties entitled Death at Double-X Ranch. He was shorter than me by almost a head but led age-wise by four decades; his sun-dried skin and snowy-white moustache were a legacy of his many years in Colonial African Fiction: he had been the lead character in the twenty-three 'Commander Bradshaw' novels, last published in and last read in Many characters in fiction define themselves by their popularity, but not Commander Bradshaw.
Having spent an adventurous and entirely fictional life defending British East Africa against a host of unlikely foes, and killing almost every animal it was possible to kill, he now enjoyed his retirement and was much in demand at Jurisfiction, where his fearlessness under fire and knowledge of the BookWorld made him one of the agency's greatest assets. He was pointing at a weathered board that told us the small township not more than half a mile ahead hailed by the optimistic name of Providence and had a population of 2, I shielded my eyes against the sun and looked around.
A carpet of sage stretched all the way to the mountains less than five miles distant. The vegetation had a repetitive pattern that belied its fictional roots. The chaotic nature of the real world that gave us soft undulating hills and random patterns of forest and hedges was replaced within fiction by a landscape that relied on ordered repetitions of the author's initial description. In the make-believe world where I had made my home, a forest has only eight different trees, a beach five different pebbles, a sky twelve different clouds.
A hedgerow repeated itself every eight feet, a mountain range every sixth peak. It hadn't bothered me that much to begin with but after two years living inside fiction I had begun to yearn for a world where every tree and rock and hill and cloud had its own unique shape and identity. And the sunsets. I missed them most of all. Even the best-described ones couldn't hold a candle to a real one.
I yearned to witness once again the delicate hues of the sky as the sun dipped below the horizon. From red to orange, to pink, to blue, to navy, to black. Bradshaw looked across at me and raised an eyebrow quizzically. As 'The Bellman' — the head of Jurisfiction — I shouldn't really be out on assignment at all, but I was never much of a desk jockey and capturing the Minotaur was important.
He had killed one of our own, and that made it unfinished business. During the past week we had searched unsuccessfully through six civil war epics, three frontier stories, twenty-eight high-quality Westerns and ninety-seven dubiously penned novellas before finding ourselves within Death at Double-X Ranch , right on the outer rim of what might be described as acceptably written prose.
We had drawn a blank in every single book. No minotaur, nor even the merest whiff of one, and believe me, they can whiff.
Bradshaw nodded, opened the breech of the hunting rifle he was carrying and slipped in a cartridge. It was a conventional weapon but loaded with unconventional ammunition. Our position as the policing agency within fiction gave us licensed access to abstract technology. One blast from the eraserhead in Bradshaw's rifle and the Minotaur would be reduced to the building blocks of his fictional existence: text and a bluish mist — all that is left when the bonds that link text to meaning are severed.
Charges of cruelty failed to have any meaning when at the last Beast Census there were over a million almost identical minotaurs, all safely within the hundreds of books, graphic novels and urns that featured him. Ours was different — an escapee. A PageRunner. As we walked closer the sounds of a busy Nebraskan frontier town reached our ears.
A new building was being erected and the hammering of nails into lumber punctuated the clop of horses' hoofs, the clink of harnesses and the rumble of cartwheels on compacted earth. The metallic ring of the blacksmith's hammer mixed with the distant tones of a choir from the clapboard church, and all about was the general conversational hubbub of busy townsfolk. We reached the corner of Eckley's Livery Stables and peered cautiously down the main street.
Providence as we now saw it was happily enjoying the uninterrupted backstory, patiently awaiting the protagonist's arrival in two pages' time. Blundering into the main narrative thread and finding ourselves included within the story was not something we cared to do, and since the Minotaur avoided the primary storyline for fear of discovery we were likely to stumble across him only in places like this.
But if, for any reason, the story did come anywhere near, I would be warned — I had a Narrative Proximity Device in my pocket that would sound an alarm if the thread came too close.
We could hide ourselves until it passed by. A horse trotted past as we stepped up on to the creaky decking that ran along the front of the saloon. I stopped Bradshaw when we got to the swing-doors just as the town drunk was thrown out into the road. The bartender walked out after him, wiping his hands on a linen cloth.
I showed the barkeeper my Jurisfiction badge as Bradshaw kept a vigilant lookout. The whole Western genre had far too many gunslingers for its own good; there had been some confusion over the numbers required on the order form when the genre was inaugurated.
Working in Westerns could sometimes entail up to twenty-nine gunfights an hour. All characters or Generics within a book are graded A to D, one through ten. A-grades are the Gatsbys and Jane Eyres, D-grades the grunts who make up street scenes and crowded rooms.
The barkeeper had lines so he was probably a C Smart enough to get answers from but not smart enough to have much character latitude. The barkeeper laughed. We followed the barkeeper's directions and walked along the wooden decking past a barber shop and two grizzled prospectors who were talking animatedly in authentic frontier gibberish.
I stopped Bradshaw when we got to an alleyway. There was a gunfight in progress. Or at least, there would have been a gunfight had not some dispute arisen over the times allocated for their respective showdowns. Both sets of gunmen — two dressed in light-coloured clothes, two in dark, with low-slung gunbelts decorated with rows of shiny cartridges — were arguing over their gunfight time slots as two identical ladyfolk looked on anxiously.
The town mayor intervened and told them that if there was any more arguments they would both lose their slot times and would have to come back tomorrow, so they reluctantly agreed to toss a coin.
The winners of the toss scampered into the main street as everyone dutifully ran for cover. They squared up to one another, hands hovering over their Colt.
Much has changed in Swindon since she left—the Goliath Corporation has branched out from corporate domination into religious domination, rogue book character Yorrick Kaine has mysteriously risen to power as right-wing chancellor of England, and thirteenth-century saints are resurrecting themselves all over the country. Zvlkx, returns to Swindon in front of a shopping center just as he predicted in his Book of Revealments. Kaine seems to have the entire country under his spell, and even Thursday finds herself being charmed into confusion by his unnatural charisma. Kaine and his conniving pals at Goliath will stop at nothing to make sure St. He lives in Wales. Thursday Next seems to be descended from a long line of British crime stoppers like Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, and her name is a clear homage to G.
Something Rotten : Thursday Next Book 4
Well, here it is at last, the fourth installment in the Thursday Next series, Something Rotten. This is coming out on the 26th July in the UK and the 9th August in the USA, thus giving me time for two weeks in both territories. For tour details, click HERE. I don't want to give too much of the book away but suffice to say that Thursday arrives back in Swindon two years later to discover that a lot has changed while she has been away.
Something Rotten Reader’s Guide
Now in the fourth installment, the resourceful literary detective Thursday Next returns to Swindon from the BookWorld accompanied by her son Friday and none other than the dithering Hamlet. Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop this hostile takeover? Can she vanquish Kaine and prevent the world from plunging into war? And will she ever find reliable child care? Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
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