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Lost in a Good Book    by Jasper Fforde order for
Lost in a Good Book
by Jasper Fforde
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Nina de Angeli

Reengineering extinct species was just a sideline for mega-corporation Goliath. Dodos could be sold as pets, but Neanderthals created for a failed medical experiment ended as low level workers, with no more legal rights than animals. The sad, wise Neanderthal character who helps Thursday Next out of a minor jam in her second outing is one of the many charms of this book.

Crammed with time travel and other diversions from the main plot, Lost in a Good Book expands the field of literary works Thursday travels through while chasing or escaping assorted villains. She visits Kafka's The Trial, Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Poe's The Raven, and a huge library presided over by the Cheshire Cat. Oh yes, the Red Queen shows up once in a while too. The library houses a division of book detectives called Jurisfiction, run by characters from the books who communicate via footnotes.

Fforde takes us on a wild ride, traveling backwards, forwards, and sideways through time. Thursday find herself apprenticed to Miss Havisham from Great Expectations to improve her skill in book jumping. Villains from The Eyre Affair reappear and eradicate Thursday's new husband by manipulating past events, forcing her to cooperate with Goliath to try to get him back.

This book starts slowly, with seemingly unrelated side stories not coalescing until the final chapters. To name a few: Special Ops PR person Cordelia Flakk persuades Thursday to appear on the Toad News Network (TNN) to improve the agency image; a purported new Shakespeare play promises to make political hay for the reactionary Whigs; Thursday's renegade time-tripping dad continues his running battle with the Chronoguard force; brother Joffy promotes the Church of the Global Standard Deity; and Pickwick the pet dodo lays an egg.

Readers new to the series should start with The Eyre Affair to get the full flavor of Thursday's world.

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