Since it came out in 2002, The Eyre Affair looked particularly interesting to me, since Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. In it, science fiction and mystery come together in an alternate reality in which the Crimean War still wages on between England and Russia, and fantastical leaps in science and technology have made time travel and cloning commonplace. At the centerpiece of the novel is Thursday Next, who is quite different from what one might assume as the typical female detective. She fought in the Crimean War, is single after having broken off an engagement with a fellow veteran, has a pet cloned dodo, is well versed in literature and often engages in debates with Baconians (those who believe Sir Francis Bacon actually penned Shakespeare's works), and confides in her father, who travels through time and alters history. Because of this intriguing setting and colorful, humorous characters, the story never drags for a moment. The plot at the center of this novel is that criminal mastermind Acheron Hades has found a way to kidnap characters from works of literature - he has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit also manages to kidnap Jane Eyre herself. Though it is helpful to know the story of Jane Eyre (in Thursday's world, the ending to the novel is quite different to the one we all know and love), it isn't necessary, and that is another bonus to this fun, intelligent novel; it will undoubtedly inspire readers not familiar with the works of Bronte and Shakespeare to peruse through their works with interest and even enthusiasm. I found the characters enjoyable and fascinating, so ultimately, AWESOME. Hades is rightfully despicable but fun, and Thursday's Uncle Mycroft is a sort of a Q to her James Bond, in one scene showing off his recent inventions that include bookworms, who devour literary works and emit synonyms and apostrophes. Although the alternate history and sci-fi inventions sound confusing, The Eyre Affair is an easy read and is also a fun one, and I'm definitely going to follow the further adventures of Thursday Next.