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"The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde

from Amazon:

"Imagine this. Great Britain in 1985 is close to being a police state. The
Crimean War has dragged on for more than 130 years and Wales is
self-governing. The only recognizable thing about this England is her
citizens' enduring love of literature. And the Third Most Wanted criminal,
Acheron Hades, is stealing characters from England's cherished literary
heritage and holding them for ransom.

Bibliophiles will be enchanted, but not surprised, to learn that stealing a
character from a book only changes that one book, but Hades has escalated
his thievery. He has begun attacking the original manuscripts, thus changing
all copies in print and enraging the reading public. That's why Special
Operations Network has a Literary Division, and it is why one of its
operatives, Thursday Next, is on the case.

Thursday is utterly delightful. She is vulnerable, smart, and, above all,
literate. She has been trying to trace Hades ever since he stole Mr.
Quaverley from the original manuscript of *Martin Chuzzlewit* and killed
him. You will only remember Mr. Quaverley if you read *Martin
Chuzzlewit*prior to 1985. But now Hades has set his sights on one of
the plums of
literature, *Jane Eyre*, and he must be stopped."

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