Set in the Nextian Universe, where the ChronoGuard monitors the time stream, the Crimean War never ended and literature and croquet are national obsessions, the series follows the adventures of Thursday Next, Literary Detective and Jurisfiction agent.
Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man in the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, causing him to disappear from the pages of every copy in existence. But this was just a warning, his real target is Jane Eyre, who is kidnapped from the pages of literature. With the help of her uncle Mycroft, a genius inventor, Thursday enters the pages of Jane Eyre, teaming up with Rochester to foil Hades and rescue his beloved Jane.
Thursday's husband Landen has been eradicated by the Goliath Corporation. They'll bring him back, but only if Thursday releases their top agent whom she trapped in the pages of The Raven. Unfortunately, the works of Poe are restricted, so newly minted Jurisfiction agent Thursday Next will need some help in the form of her new mentor, Miss Havisham.
With Thursday's problems with Goliath continuing, Colonel Next advises her to go into hiding and rest up for the next round. He offers her an alternate time stream, where the Crimean War ended a hundred years ago and airplanes fill the skies, but it all sounds too weird to Thursday. Instead, she opts for a retreat in the Well of Lost Plots, where unpublished works languish unread by few but their creators.
Thursday has returned to the Realworld, with her son Friday and Hamlet, intent on getting her husband back. First, though, she'll have to deal with the outlaw fictioneer Yorrick Kaine who's running for dictator, and the prophesied end of the world.
Thursday Next is grappling with a host of problems in BookWorld: a recalcitrant new apprentice, the death of Sherlock Holmes, and the inexplicable departure of comedy from the once-hilarious Thomas Hardy novels, to name just a few—all while captaining the ship Moral Dilemma and facing down her most vicious enemy yet: herself. (Publisher description)
With an all-out Genre war on the horizon, the BookWorld desperately needs Thursday Next. Unfortunately, Thursday appears to have retired to the RealWorld. With no where else to turn, the Council of Genres appeals to the written Thursday for help. They convince her to impersonate the real Thursday on a diplomatic mission to the warring factions. But a simple deception proves much more complicated as fictional Thursday finds herself embroiled in a fiendish plot that could destroy the BookWorld itself.
Forced into semi-retirement to recover from injuries sustained in a recent assassination attempt, all Thursday needs is a little peace and quiet. But with the problems with her children as their own futures spiral out of control, the Goliath Corporation attempting to replace her with synthetic Thursdays and PageRunners loose in the RealWorld, peace and quiet isn't going to happen.