Summary and book reviews of Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten

A Thursday Next mystery

by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2004, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2005, 416 pages

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Book Summary

Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop the hostile takeover of Hamlet by Orphelia?  Can Swindon win the world croquet championship and thus prevent the end of the world?  All this and more is revealed in this, the 4th volume in the Thursday Next series.

Detective Thursday Next has had her fill of her responsibilities as the Bellmanin Jurisfiction, enough with Emperor Zhark's pointlessly dramatic entrances, outbreaks of slapstick raging across pulp genres, and hacking her hair off to fill in for Joan of Arc. Packing up her son, Friday, Thursday returns to Swindon accompanied by none other than the dithering Danish prince Hamlet. Caring for both is more than a full- time job and Thursday decides it is definitely time to get her husband Landen back, if only to babysit. Luckily, those responsible for Landen's eradication, The Goliath Corporation— formerly an oppressive multinational conglomerate, now an oppressive multinational religion— have pledged to right the wrong.

But returning to SpecOps isn't a snap. When outlaw fictioneer Yorrick Kaine seeks to get himself elected dictator, he whips up a frenzy of anti-Danish sentiment and demands mass book burnings. The return of Swindon's patron saint bearing divine prophecies could spell the end of the world within five years, possibly faster if the laughably terrible Swindon Mallets don't win the Superhoop, the most important croquet tournament in the land. And if that's not bad enough, The Merry Wives of Windsor is becoming entangled with Hamlet. Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop this hostile takeover? Can she prevent the world from plunging into war? Can she vanquish Kaine before he realizes his dream of absolute power? And, most important, will she ever find reliable child care? Find out in this totally original, action-packed romp, sure to be another escapist thrill for Jasper Fforde's growing legion of fans. escapist. (The New York Times Book Review)

1
A Cretan Minotaur in Nebraska

Jurisfiction is the name given to the policing agency inside books. Working with the intelligence-gathering capabilities of Text Grand Central, the many Prose Resource Operatives at Jurisfiction work tirelessly to maintain the continuity of the narrative within the pages of all the books ever written. Performing this sometimes thankless task, Jurisfiction agents live mostly on their wits as they attempt to reconcile the author's original wishes and readers' expectations against a strict and largely pointless set of bureaucratic guidelines laid down by the Council of Genres. I headed Jurisfiction for over two years and was always astounded by the variety of the work: one day I might be attempting to coax the impossibly shy Darcy from the toilets, and the next I would be thwarting the Martians' latest attempt to invade Barnaby Rudge. It was challenging and full of bizarre twists. But when the peculiar and downright weird becomes commonplace, ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction to Something Rotten

With her Lorem Ipsum-spouting son, Friday, in tow, Thursday returns to her Swindon home to resume her quest to reactualize her husband, Landen Parke-Laine. As a final favor to her Jurisfiction colleagues, Thursday also escorts Shakespeare's Hamlet on a public relations field trip to the real world so he can ponder why he has been misrepresented as a "ditherer."

Much has changed in Swindon since she left—the Goliath Corporation has branched out from corporate domination into religious domination, rogue book character Yorrick Kaine has mysteriously risen to power as right-wing chancellor of England, and thirteenth-century saints are resurrecting themselves all over the country. Swindon'...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookPage.com - Gavin J Grant

Fforde juggles his way through space and time (Thursday's dead father and eradicated husband both make crucial appearances) and manages to retain the madcap energy of Thursday's earlier adventures. Despite some recapping of previous events, there is so much going on that readers new to the series might best begin with the first book, The Eyre Affair.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin,

The pileup of all these ingredients, not to mention the hedgehog Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle from the Beatrix Potter books and cameo appearances by certain Alice in Wonderland characters, make Something Rotten more than clever they make it clever and a half. Mr. Fforde's penchant for plotting knows no bounds ... it's easy to be delighted by a writer who loves books so madly - and who can imagine a Hamlet who roams the real world, declaring That Freud fellow will have a bloody nose if ever I meet him. Mr. Fforde is the man who could arrange that meeting.

The New York Times Book Review

Harry Potter Just for Adults... effortlessly readable and unashamedly escapist.

Greenmanreview.com - Cat Eldridge

Jasper Fforde is every bit as brilliant in this series as Douglas Adams was in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy series. It's that good. Indeed I could say that it's even better plotted with more memorable characters than that venerable series but that will take a few more readings to say that with certainty. I do know that, like Kage Baker's 'The Company' series, I eagerly look forward to each new novel, and am disappointed when I finish it. This is truly The Good Stuff.

Author Blurb Harriet Klausner
As usual with a Thursday Next novel, literary giants are shredded and “exposed” as Jasper Fforde takes characters like Hamlet with his foibles and places him in the real world. The latest adventures are wild, over the edge, and very amusing. Fans need to set aside time because they will be LOST IN A GOOD BOOK literally sharing SOMETHING ROTTEN affair with the heroine as she tries to keep the myriad of lost plots straight. Once again nothing is sacred as Jasper Fforde satirizes with humorous word play literature and real icons.

Reader Reviews

Cloggie Downunder

totally unpredictable
Something Rotten is the 4th of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. After 2 years as Bellman for Jurisfiction, Thursday has begun to miss the Real World, and decides to go back to Swindon with her two-year-old son, Friday, to see if she can get...   Read More

paul@bookbrowse.com

Loved it as much as - and maybe more than - the first book in the series. Which was really good.

To be honest the third book - "the well of lost plots" - was a bit of a disappointment to me. I felt Fforde had lost his quirky magic, and was...   Read More

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