Sunday, August 5, 2012

'The Woman Who Died a Lot'

This has been a Summer of sensational stories.  

And now that Jasper Fforde has presented us with his newest book, 'The Woman Who Died a Lot', I can die happy.  Or at least walk into Autumn with a spring in my step.

In one of the most unusual series I have ever read (and come to love), Jasper's literary detective, Thursday Next, is back.  But the years (and various adventures) have caught up with my favorite heroine, and as the story opens, she is in semi-retirement following an assassination attempt ('One of Our Thursdays is Missing').  Not as physically agile as she once was, she can no longer go after the bad guys in her usual way.  But her mind, thank the deity, is still sharp and clever.  Now living with her husband, Landon, and their children, in Swindon, Thursday is offered the job of chief librarian at the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat-at-Fatso's Drink Not Included Library.

But her children are a great part of the story, and their problems are pressing.  Friday, her eldest, is faced with a dilemma that could ruin not only his life, but the entire world.  And Tuesday, her brilliant daughter, is trying to perfect the Anti-Smite shield, a device that will thwart an angry diety's plans to destroy downtown Swindon.

Jack Schitt, Goliath's villain supreme, is back, and interested in worthless 13th century codices.  Speaking of Goliath, it, too, is back with a vengeance and bent on owning the world.  Add synthetic Thursdays, 100 percent library budget cuts, and the problem with Jenny, and you have a wonderful addition to an exceptional series.

Fforde's writing is just as sharp and witty as ever, and his love of books still permeates each chapter.  I'm so very glad to learn more about Friday and Tuesday.  And the bond between Landon and Thursday is as strong as ever.   But I did miss Thursday's adventures in Bookworld.  Perhaps Fforde will return us to that literary land in his eighth book, 'Dark Reading Matter' (publication date not yet established).

If you haven't read this series, by all means, do so!  Begin with the incredible 'The Eyre Affair'.  You won't be sorry.

And as a side note to all librarians, Jasper's dedication will make your heart swell.

'The Woman Who Died a Lot' will be published in October 2012 by Viking Books.

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