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Lost In A Good Book
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Lost In A Good Book

Lost in A Good Book is the second book by Jasper Fforde and the sequel to the adventures of literary detective Thursday Next in The Eyre Affair. Published in 2002, Lost uses a variety of literary allusions and places Thursday at the center of a government conspiracy.

Warning: Plot details follow.

Three months after the events of The Eyre Affair, Thursday Next is happily married to Landen Parke-Laine and working as a literary detective out of Swindon. One day, Thursday meets her father, a renegade ChronoGuard, who informs her that the world's going to end. Everything will turn to Dream Topping, a whipped cream-like confection, where one of her uncle Mycroft's inventions goes out of control. After the events of The Eyre Affair, Mycroft destroyed the Prose Portal he'd built and retired, leaving the invention business in the hands of his two well-meaning, inept sons, Orville and Wilbur.

Thursday is sent with a partner to the estate of a front-runner for Parliament with an extensive library. They discover an original manuscript of Shakespeare's lost play Cardenio. Tests done at the station determine its genuineness, and it seems to have appeared at just the right time to ensure the discoverer's election (because he's captured "the Shakespeare vote"). When he releases the play to the general public, victory is all but guaranteed.

The Goliath Corporation, a Big Brother-like agency that de facto rules England, lost one of their key employees in Poe's "The Raven", resorts to persuading another ChronoGuard named Lavoisier to wipe Thursday's husband Landen from the timeline. He vanishes, and only Thursday remembers him and also has physical proof -- she's pregnant with their child. Representatives from Goliath blackmail Thursday by offering to retrieve Landen if she'll bring Goliath agent Jack out of "The Raven". Without the Prose Portal, however, she'll have to learn a new way to travel between books.

During one of her dreams, she encounters Landen in her memory, who spurs her to travel to Osaka to meet Ms. Nakajima, a woman who's learned how to travel through books. Taking a Gravitube (a subway system that travels through the earth's core) there, she meets Ms. Nakajima, who introduces her to Miss Havisham, the abandoned bride from Dickens' novel Great Expectations. Thursday is apprenticed to Miss Havisham as a Prose Resource Operative and taken through the book to the Great Library, where literary characters are dispatched through books to ensure that they unfold as they should.

After escaping the byzantine Kafka's The Trial and saving Abel Magwitch from drowning before the beginning of Great Expectations, Havisham and Thursday part ways and the latter character enters "The Raven" and retrieves Jack. But Goliath has no intention of keeping their word, and they trap Thursday is a Corporation warehouse where there is nothing she can read to get out. Miss Havisham finds her there when it's discovered that Cardenio was stolen from the Great Library by another literary character. They find one of Thursday's clothing labels, which they read to escape.

Through her travels, Thursday found the event that caused the Dream Topping accident -- or rather, the person. Being guided through her dreams and memories by Landen, Thursday notes the presence in every scene of "coincidence" over the past few days of one woman. The woman is Aornis Hades, Acheron Hades' sister who wants revenge on Thursday for his death in The Eyre Affair. Aorlis can edit people's memories so they don't remember her presence, which is why Thursday needed help from Landen in her own memory to find Aornis.

Cardenio is retrieved and the Dream Topping is stopped, but Aornis escaped and now Goliath, ChronoGuard, and SpecOps all seek to apprehend Thursday on Goliath's contrived charge of stealing corporate secrets. Thursday's father sacrificed his ability to move freely through time to send the Dream Topping sample back to Earth's primeval era -- thus making the organic matter contained within it responsible for life on Earth! Refusing the offer of her father to take shelter in our world, Thursday travels to a book in the Well of Lost Plots -- a subdivision of the Great Library that contains unpublished and unfinished works -- and takes a year's vacation there with her memory of Landen.