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The Well of Lost Plots: A Thursday Next Novel Hardcover – February 19, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Thursday Next Novels (Viking)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (February 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670032891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670032891
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this delicious sequel to The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book, Fforde's redoubtable (and now throwing-up-pregnant) heroine Thursday Next once again does battle with philistine bibliophobes, taking a furlough from her duties as a SpecOps Literary Detective to vacation in the Well of Lost Plots, the 26 noisome sub-basements of the Great Library. Pursued by her memory-modifying nemesis Aornis Hades, Thursday joins Jurisfiction's Character Exchange Program, filling in for "Mary," sidekick to the world-weary detective hero of Caversham Heights, a hilariously awful police procedural. At the imminent launch of UltraWord, the vaunted "Last Word" in Story Operating Systems, Thursday's friend and mentor Miss Havisham is gruesomely killed, and Thursday gamely sets out to restore order to her underground world, where technophiles ruthlessly recycle unpublished books and sell plot devices and stock characters on the black market. Meanwhile, Aornis is doing her fiendish worst to make Thursday forget Landen, her missing husband and father of her child. If this all sounds a bit confusing, it isuntil the reader gets the hang of Fforde's intricate mix of parody, social satire and sheer gut-busting fantasy. Marvelous creations like syntax-slaughtering grammasites and the murderous Minotaur roam this unusual novel's pages, and Fforde's fictional epigraphs, like his minihistory of "book operating systems," are worth the cover price in themselves. Fforde's sidesplitting sendup of an increasingly antibookish society is a sheer joy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Fforde's third novel featuring English sleuth Thursday Next is an interesting, enjoyable mix of detective story, fantasy, and literature. Thursday works on cases involving the protection of the stories and characters of famous books, which can be affected and changed by people in the real world. In this installment, she enters the Book World itself. Fforde has a nice touch, never pressing on any one aspect of the story, but managing to interweave all of the elements, with a good deal of humor. The use of various literary characters means that it helps to be familiar with the works in which they appear, but, despite knowing very little about Anna Karenina, it is still very funny to read its plot written as a gossipy telephone conversation between two Russian noblewomen. It also helps to have read the first two books in the series, The Eyre Affair (2002) and Lost in a Good Book(2003, both Viking), but teens will want to read The Well of Lost Plotsanyway.–Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring vacantly out of the window and arranging words on a page. He lives and writes in Wales. The Eyre Affair was his first novel in the bestselling Thursday Next series. He is also the author of the Nursery Crime series.

Customer Reviews

I have never laughed out loud so much when reading a book as I have this one.
There was very little advancement of the story; instead most of the book involved the description of the world-within-a-world, The Well of Lost Plots.
I really enjoyed learning about all the different aspects of fiction, and how the characters are able to interact.
David Roy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In his previous two novels, Fforde created a wacky, fictional universe in which "real world" characters could transport themselves into books, associate with the characters there, turn back the clock, and even change the endings. Heroine Thursday Next, has saved Jane Eyre from disaster, imprisoned Jack Schitt in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," and ended the Crimean War, but she has also made enemies of some powerful criminals, one of whom has gone back in time and killed off her husband when he was just a small child. Now, pregnant, she is the only person who can remember him as an adult, and her memory is failing. Anxious for a rest, she decides to go with her dodo Pickwick to visit the Well of Lost Plots, where all book characters, plots, and settings reside until they are chosen for novels.
In this most literary of Fforde's three novels, Thursday is an apprentice agent-in-training for JurisFiction, the policing agency that works inside books, her mentor and guide being Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Living inside an unpublished crime thriller, Thursday explores the Great Library, where the Cheshire Cat is librarian, sees the workshop for backstories (some used, some not), meets generic characters ("human canvases without paint") and "orals" (nursery rhyme characters), tours available settings (high-capped mountains, arched stone bridges, ruined castles), and watches as Miss Havisham joyrides in "Chitty Bang Bang." Holesmiths work there fixing holes in narratives, grammatacists try to prevent grammacites (gerunds) and mispeling vyruses from infecting novels, and pace-setters, moodmongers, and plot speculators work on new creations.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
From the first chapter of Jasper Fforde's third novel, you can tell that the author had a blast writing this satiric mystery that explores the creation of fiction. Thursday Next - pregnant by her eradicated husband, haunted by a Hades sister intent on destroying her memory, and a Jurisfiction apprentice to none other than Miss Havisham of Dickens fame - takes refuge in a poorly written and unpublished crime novel called Caversham Heights. Thursday expects to rest there until the birth of her child, but she and Miss Havisham discover that the death of another agent by a Minotaur attack might not be the accident it seems. Meanwhile, nursery rhyme characters threaten a strike for not being treated like other fictional characters, two generic characters living with Thursday begin to become more well-rounded, and Thursday tries to save Caversham Heights from being destroyed by the Council of Genres for being so hopelessly bad.
The more you know about literature, the more hilarious you'll find this fantasy. Characters are being manufactured in record numbers because Vikram Seth is planning a new novel, and no one wants a return to minimalism simply because of a character shortage. Heathcliff, Catherine, and the rest of the characters from Wuthering Heights attend anger management classes, and Mr. Toad is relentless in his competition with Miss Havisham for the fastest driver in both the Book World and the Outland. And if you're interesting in writing, you'll gain tips for keeping your novel out of the Text Sea, as Fforde pokes fun at hackneyed writing and incomplete character development.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The third installment in the Thursday Next series took me longer to read than the other two put together. It seemed to me to be an expansion of "Lost in a Good Book", written to set the stage for "Something Rotten".

Stop shaking your heads - it's a good book, filled with adventure and incidental stories, but essentially Thursday's story doesn't advance very far from book two. She's still pregnant, Landon doesn't exist yet, and she's still hiding out in the BookWorld.

This time, Fforde takes us through the Great Library and Well of Lost Plots in much greater detail, and his imagination is as fertile as ever, making book lovers purr with excitement as characters from great works of fiction interact with each other.

The BookWorld is a fascinating place, where grammasites stampede around changing text, spam has infiltrated the footnoterphone system, and plot devices are sold like cheap Rolexes. Dangerous creatures abound, real and fictional, human, animal and half bred, and the vast Text Sea can change the flow of booklife at any time.

Thursday must overcome pregnancy limitations, the deaths of her coworkers in Jurisfiction, and insidious plots; deal with dodo rearing, training of generic characters, and saving her less than perfect book-home, and also rack her brains to defeat the memory changing Aornis Hades. The worst challenge of all is something even more terrifying - something that drives fear into the hearts of people everywhere - the dreaded computer software upgrade.

Jasper Fforde is still very clever, but this time he's not as punny.

Warning: Not recommended to be read without the benefit of the first two novels.

Amanda Richards October 16, 2004
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