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Something Rotten
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New or Used: $17.99
Thursday Next, Head of JurisFiction and ex-SpecOps agent, returns to her native Swindon accompanied by a child of two, a pair of dodos and Hamlet, who is on a fact-finding mission in the real world.
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Adult/High School-This fourth book in the series continues the English detective's quest to protect her child, regain her husband, and save the world (not necessarily in that order). She decides that it's time to leave Jurisfiction and return to the real world of the Outland to resume her life. Taking her son and her pet dodoes, Thursday discovers that her actions in real life are possibly even weirder than they were in the realm of literature and certainly of more consequence. Fforde continues to pitch high, wide, and fast: only he could turn croquet into an extreme (and hilarious) sport with the fate of the world hanging on the outcome of the game. Particularly appropriate in this American presidential election year is the political debate show "Evade the Questions Time" where politicians score points for most successfully avoiding answering questions. Rotten is the concluding volume of this series and many of the subplots and characters from the first three titles reappear, floating through the space-time fiction-fantasy continuum. It succeeds in wrapping up in a most gratifying way. As Oscar Wilde's Miss Prism would say, "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means." The Robertses' illustrations and mock advertisements echo the irreverent humor. Warning: Reaching the end of Rotten may cause readers to want to start again with The Eyre Affair (Viking, 2002) and ride the manic, maniacal merry-go-round of the Nextian world again.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

What's Thursday doing next? Challenging a renegade fictioneer-and looking for a babysitter. A five-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Welsh writer Fforde's fourth entry in the zany, hypercreative Thursday Next detective series revisits the "Literary Detective" as she retreats to her hometown of Swindon, England, retiring from the tedious job (as Head of Jurisfiction) she held in Fforde's previous novel, The Well of Lost Plots. Joined by her two-year-old son, Friday, pet dodos Pickwick and Alan, and Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, Thursday realizes that there's someone missing: her husband, Landen, previously "eradicated" by the Goliath Corporation, a ruthless bio-tech conglomerate corporation. She wants Landen back. Aided by her father, she is reinstated into her old employ, the Special Operations Network, and begins investigating the machinations of power-hungry Fictioneer Yorrick Kaine and the mysterious disappearance of England's president. The fate of the world rests on the outcome of a major croquet tournament, with Thursday pinch-hitting on a lethal playing field as Landen is finally returned to reality (only to fade out again). More than a little wacky, the novel is packed with screwball details as characters get "written" in and out of the story, hybridized creatures stalk malls and Shakespeare clones start popping up everywhere. With humorous illustrations and curious footnotes sprinkled throughout, Fforde's latest will have hardcore fans roaring-but those new to the series might want to tackle the convoluted mayhem from the very beginning. Agent, Eric Simonoff. 5-city author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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