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Thursday Next is an operative with SO-27, Litera Tecs, based in London when she is approached by SO-5 to help them capture Acheron Hades. Thursday is one of the few people who knows what Hades looks like. On her first mission with SO-5 Thursday chooses to move in on Hades prematurely and her two coworkers are killed, and she is wounded by Hades and left for dead. Due to a message from her future self, Thursday takes a job with the Litera Tech office in Swindon, her hometown. Thursday meets up with her old flame Landen and is still unable to forgive him for his betrayal of her brother, Anton, during the Crimean War. Thursday is determined to track down Hades when he kidnaps her uncle Mycroft, steals an original Jane Eyre manuscript and then kidnaps Jane Eyre herself. With the help of Bowden Cable, Thursday is able to track down Hades’ hideout at a hotel in Wales. Hades senses their presence and they walk into a trap. They also find Jack Schitt from Goliath there making a deal with Hades. A shootout ensues and Hades escapes into the novel. Thursday follows him along with Jane. Thursday and Mr. Rochester are determined to stop Hades. Thursday shoots Hades with the silver bullet she was given by Spike Stoker as he fights on the roof of Thornfield with Bertha Rochester. Mr. Rochester then saves her life as they escape the fiery blaze of Thornfield. Thursday, in turn, helps Mr. Rochester by changing the ending of the novel so that he and Jane end up together and not forever separated as they had been in the original version. Thursday returns to the real world determined to stop Landen’s marriage to Daisy Mutlar. Someone else, however, does it for her and Landen proposes to her. She accepts, and they are married one month later.
Landen Parke-Laine met Thursday Next when they were both fighting in the Crimean War. He fell in love with her and became her brother Anton’s best friend. Anton was killed during the Charge of the Light-Armored Brigade and Landen lost his leg. Landen gave evidence that proved that Anton had made a disastrous mistake and sent his soldiers the wrong way and into the guns of the enemy. Thursday could not forgive him for his betrayal and they did not speak for ten years until she returned to Swindon. Landen had become a successful author and was engaged to be married to Daisy Mutlar. Thursday realizes her mistake and plans to stop Landen’s wedding. Before she can summon her courage, another party brings the wedding to an end and subsequently Thursday agrees to marry Landen. The wedding takes place one month later.
Acheron Hades is a master criminal whom everyone fears, and no one is able to capture. He possesses strange powers, which include not appearing in photographs or on video. Hades also is impervious to bullets and has the ability to sense when someone says his name. He has the ability to assume the shape of others and to hypnotize his victims thus making them act against their will. Thursday Next knew him when he was an English lecturer and is one of the few people who can recognize Hades on sight. Thursday is recruited by SO-5 to help track down Hades, but her first encounter ends badly as he kills her comrades and leaves her shot and he believes mortally wounded. Hades kidnaps Mycroft Next and uses his Prose Portal to take a character from a stolen Martin Chuzzlewit original manuscript. He makes his demands and threatens to kill the main character if the government does not comply. His plan backfires and Mycroft burns the manuscript, thus preventing Hades from doing further damage to that particular novel. Hades then steals an original copy of Jane Eyre and uses it and Mycroft’s Prose Portal to kidnap Jane Eyre herself. Before he can collect his ransom demands Thursday Next finds his hideout and Hades escapes into the book when a shootout begins. Thursday pursues him, and Hades ends up fighting with and being wounded by Bertha Rochester with silver scissors. During the scuffle Thornfield is set ablaze and Thursday realizes Hades is affected by silver. She shoots him with a silver bullet in the chest and he dies.
Jack Schitt is head of Goliath Corporation’s internal security service and their Advanced Weapons Division. In the beginning, Thursday believes that he is trying to find Acheron Hades just as she is, but she does not trust the man. Schitt continually tries to thwart Thursday in her search and tries to exclude her from any leads they discover regarding Hades. Eventually when Thursday confronts Hades in Wales, Schitt is there and is not trying to take him in, but rather he is collaborating with him to amass power, weapons and wealth. After Hades is defeated Schitt tries to use the Prose Portal to go into the plasma rifle weapons manual in order to obtain a working version of the weapon. He is foiled by Bowden Cable, however and sent into Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. He is trapped there after Mycroft Next destroys the Prose Portal.
Bowden is an operative for SO-27, the Litera Tecs and becomes Thursday’s partner in her pursuit of Hades when she transfers to Swindon. Bowden is bored by his job and used to a rather quiet professional life before Thursday arrives. She shows him a different side to being a Litera Tec and helps him to become a more assertive person. Bowden shows great cunning by switching the book cover for the plasma rifle weapons manual with that of Poe’s The Raven and thus traps Jack Schitt within the poem.
Victor is the head of the Swindon branch of SO-27, the Litera Techs. He is Thursday Next’s boss. Victor is in his seventies and used to being an academic and not going out into the field. Due to Thursday’s influence he infiltrates a society called the Earthcrossers in pursuit of one of Acheron Hades’ associates. He is always willing to back up whatever plan Thursday hatches and give her the support she needs.
Mycroft is Thursday Next’s uncle. He is a great inventor who is always working on a new project. His latest invention allows people to enter any book they wish. He and his Prose Portal are kidnapped by Acheron Hades who wishes to use it to kidnap book characters and thus make demands to the government to insure the character’s safe return. Mycroft refuses to cooperate at first, but soon complies when the life of his beloved wife, Polly, is threatened since Hades has her trapped in a Wordsworth poem. Mycroft helps Thursday escape Jane Eyre once Hades is defeated and then after rescuing Polly and trapping Jack Schitt in a copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven Mycroft destroys the Prose Portal.
Edward Fairfax Rochester is Jane Eyre’s love interest in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Thursday Next meets Mr. Rochester several times throughout her life in and out of the book. The first time as a young girl she is transported into Jane Eyre just at the pivotal point where Rochester first meets Jane. Thursday changes the way the couple meet by her mere presence. Later when Thursday is shot and left for dead Rochester comes to her aid and saves her life. When Jane Eyre is kidnapped from the book by Acheron Hades, Thursday is the one who returns her and works together with Rochester to defeat Hades, who has also entered the book. Rochester loses a hand and his sight when Thornfield is destroyed by Hades and Bertha, Rochester’s deranged wife. Thursday helps Rochester get a happy ending with Jane by changing the end of the book so that he and Jane are reunited and later married.
Jane Eyre is the heroine of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. Thursday has read the book many times and a copy of the book saved her life when she was shot in the chest by Acheron Hades. The book comes abruptly to an end on page 107 when Hades kidnaps Jane Eyre so that he can hold her for ransom. Thursday Next returns Jane to her book and thus to Mr. Rochester. The book begins to rewrite itself and Thursday and Mr. Rochester must work without Jane’s knowledge to defeat Hades or else the book would change. In the previous ending Jane agrees to marry her cousin St. John Rivers and leaves for India to do mission work leaving Mr. Rochester alone. Thursday, however, calls to Jane in a rough impersonation of Rochester’s voice just as she is trying to decide whether or not to marry St. John. Subsequently, Jane returns to Edward and finds him injured and now a widower. They marry and are forever grateful to Thursday for rewriting their ending and giving them a new life together.
Spike Stoker is an officer with SpecOps 17, Vampire and Werewolf Disposal Operations in Swindon. Spike works alone without any assistance. The rest of the SpecOps officers refuse to answer his calls for assistance and try to discourage Thursday Next when she wishes to do so. Thursday helps him dispose of a powerful vampire and discovers that Spike also suffers from vampirism himself and takes medication to control it. Spike gives Thursday a silver bullet. It is this bullet that she later uses to kill Acheron Hades after she discovers that silver is the only thing that weakens his powers.
Polly is the wife of Thursday’s uncle Mycroft. She became Mycroft’s assistant after his last one died in a terrible merenguing incident. Polly is a gifted mathematician and helps her husband with complicated mathematical calculations. In order to test out his Prose Portal, Mycroft sends his wife into William Wordsworth’s poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. Unfortunately, Acheron Hades chooses that time to kidnap Mycroft and to steal his Prose Portal, thus trapping Polly in the poem. Mycroft is then made to do what Hades asks and is kept docile by being allowed to visit Polly periodically. Mycroft eventually rescues Polly once Hades is defeated. He is jealous of the attention being paid to her by Wordsworth, although she strongly denies that there was anything between them.
Colonel Next is Thursday Next’s father. He was an officer with SO-12, the ChronoGuard. He went rogue when Thursday was a girl and was deleted from history by the ChronoGuard. Colonel Next’s skillful use of time manipulation, however, allows him to remain in his family’s life through periodic visits. He randomly appears to Thursday, stopping time around her, asking her questions about history and makes notes of her answers. At least once in the book his appearance helps Thursday avoid a bullet to the chest and allows her to save Bowden Cable from a similar fate.
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