The seventh romp through time, space, and literary arcana for beleaguered superheroine Thursday Next (One of Our Thursdays is Missing, 2011, etc.).
Thursday’s going through a bad patch. She’s walked with a cane since a botched assassination attempt. She’s lost the chance to head up SO-27, the Special Ops Network, to Phoebe Smalls, and has been made chief librarian at the Wessex All-You-Can-Eat-at-Fatso’s Drink Not Included Library Service instead. She frets over the kidnapping of her daughter, Jenny, who’s nothing more than a mind worm planted in her memory by her nemesis, Aornis. Her son Friday, who expected to be one of the Chronoguard elite and repeatedly rescue civilization, has received a Letter of Destiny telling him that he’ll kill Gavin Watkins and spend the next 40 years in prison. Her genius child Tuesday is having difficulty producing a shield that will annul the asteroid-smiting scheduled to descend on Swindon in a day or so. And every so often, Thursday realizes she isn’t herself anymore, but a Day Player, one of several synthetic replicas of herself let loose by Krantz in violation of the Unlicensed Nonevolutionary Life-Forms on the Mainland Act. Are Goliath, the scourge of the world conglomerate, and Jack Schitt, intent on planetary domination, responsible for any of this? Not the immediate problem, as Thursday must first figure out why racy 13th-century novels of St. Zvlkx are being vandalized, deal with Enid Blyton aficionados who favor the very unpolitically correct versions of her works, and escort the Righteous Man to the smite zone, where his presence will skew the incoming smite further out of town. Looming on the horizon is the dreaded confrontation with the Dark Reading Matter.
Literary know-it-alls will cackle over the reappearance of Millon de Floss, the Hay-on-Wye reference, and the notion that books and their upkeep really matter. Those less addicted to puns, time warps, and intergalactic humor will reach for the Excedrin.