The Eyre Affair By Jasper Fforde was not a book I was looking to read but I was browsing in a book store last week (as I often am) and discovered one of the later books in the Thursday Next series (Thursday Next is the name of the main character in the Eyre Affair and subsequent books in the series). This more recent book has a plot revolving around Pride and Prejudice and as I am drawn to any literary reference to Jane Austen and her books I wanted to read it but thought I should do things by the book (excuse the pun) and read the first Thursday Next book first! So I have, and I enjoyed it so much i will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
As you may already know I am not a keen science fiction/fantasy reader - I like my books set in "reality" in some way. But I am a huge Harry Potter fan and I have also really enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman's books so I have come to a conclusion regarding my reading in this genre - I enjoy it as long as the characters (for the most part) are actually human and that there is some link to the world as I know it.
The Eyre Affair fits this criteria for me and as it also centres around the world of books and literature I'm hooked. The main character, a feisty 30-something year old woman by the name of Thursday Next is a likeable, passionate "Spec Ops" agent in a version of Great Britain in 1985. As one of the quotes on the back of my copy of the books states; "Forget the rules of time, space and reality; just sit back and enjoy the adventure" - and I found myself able to do this.
Thursday works as a "Litera Tec" - a special agent designed to investigate crimes related to books and literature. The main literary crime in this story is the theft of the orginial Jane Eyre manuscript and an attempt by the thief to wipe out the character of Jane altogether. Sounds fanciful I know but it works so well.