With humour as British as a helping of spotted dick and custard comes this new novel from the author of the hugely successful Thursday Next series. In a world where winters are long and brutal enough that 99.9 per cent of the human race choose to hibernate, naive-but-intrepid Charlie Worthing takes a job as a novice Winter Consul... As Charlie uncovers a conspiracy connected with a viral dream, Fforde keeps the puns and neologisms coming thick and fast while exploring every facet of his novel’s intriguing premise.
The feverish inventiveness of Jasper Fforde’s latest novel is exhaustive — and at times exhausting. His imagined world is thoroughly packed with detail, but reading lines such as, “He’s womad stock; Oldivician, I think. Part of his midwinter freezerthon,” can make you wilt... Fforde’s comic touch — which includes unexpected references to everything from Showaddywaddy to Tunnock’s teacakes — just about balances out the geekery of this alternate reality, and the thriller side of the tale is addictively propulsive.
Oft-amusing, but only occasionally likely to elicit laughs, and as imaginative as anything he’s ever written, if woefully overburdened by worldbuilding, Fforde’s long-awaited new novel is ultimately a bunch of fun, yet it fails to leave a lasting impression... It’s interesting in the end, and full of neat ideas that hold a far-from-flattering mirror to elements of our own existence, but so poorly paced and plot heavy that the remainder is the rub... the setting is engrossing and almost criminally original, but Albion is a world built on the back of interminable info-dumps and masses of jargon.