As an alternate world, Thursday Next's world has to be one of the best ever. In her world, literary police carry guns and arrest people. Literature is taken very seriously and Thursday is one of the literary police. Her jobs are generally not too dangerous, but the current job is an exception: She has to stop a madman from destroying Jane Eyre!
The book is an introduction to Thursday's world, which takes a great deal of introducing as it is so different from the world we live in. We learn that Thursday's brother was killed in a war which is long over in our world, Thursday's uncle is an inventor of wonderful things, and Thursday's dad is/was a member of the chrono police. The book is full of literary reference, many of which I am sure I missed. (It makes me long for a classical education, something not found in suburban St. Louis Missouri public schools!) I loved this book, as it was smart, funny, and not too pretentious!