The book is set in London in 1985 but it technologically much more advanced. People have cloned versions of extinct animals as pets which are perfected with every version, England and Russia are in a century long war over the occupation of Crimea, a Special Operations (SpecOps) department called Chronoguard deals with time travel, temporal instabilities etc. Our protagonist Thursday Next works for SpecOps-27 as a LiteraTec (Literary detective) because in this world, books are valued a lot. Baconians go door-to-door trying to persuade people that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, there is a militant Marlovian group that believes that the author is Kit Marlowe instead, each famous author has federations named after them with millions of followers.
It is in this world that an original Dickens manuscript is stolen by a most wanted criminal called Acheron Hades and Thursday investigates. Her uncle develops a Prose Portal using which you can jump into the world of any book and meet the living, breathing characters. When he is kidnapped by Hades, it is only a matter of time before a character from the Dickens manuscript is killed, which in turn removes the character from all the copies of the book in the world. But this is only the beginning and all hell breaks lose when Hades steals the original manuscript of Jane Eyre. In the course of negotiations, both Hades and Thursday end up jumping into the Jane Eyre world and it is here that Hades is finally defeated but not before the ending is changed dramatically (which is what we now know).
The book is so much fun, especially for book worms like me. There are a lot of literary references in the book, some of which I didn’t know but was able to find out. The Prose Portal is a wonderful idea and any number of readers will want to visit the worlds of their favorite books. The only slight disappointment was with the motivation of Hades. A genius who believed that before his intellect, the whole world looks infested with cretins ends up just wanting to earn money. His character warranted a little more ambition than just plain old greed. But on the whole, this is an awesome world and I am all excited to be a part of Thursday’s adventures in the next books.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️