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Shades of Grey


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Imagine a black and white world where colour is a commodity ... It is a world invented by comic and creative genius - and Number One bestseller - Jasper Fforde.

About the Author

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring out of the window and sucking the end of a pencil. He lives and works in Wales and has a passion for aviation.


This inventive fantasy from bestseller Fforde (The Eyre Affair) imagines a screwball future in which social castes and protocols are rigidly defined by acuteness of personal color perception. Centuries after the cryptically cataclysmic "Something That Happened," a "Colortocracy," founded on the inflexible absolutes of the chromatic scale, rules the world. Amiable Eddie Russett, a young Red, is looking forward to marrying a notch up on the palette and settling down to a complacent bourgeois life. But after meeting Jane G-23, a rebellious working-class Grey, and a discredited, "invisible" historian known as the Apocryphal man, Eddie finds himself questioning the hitherto sacred foundations of the status quo. En route to finding out what turned things topsy-turvy, Eddie navigates a vividly imagined landscape whose every facet is steeped in the author's remarkably detailed color scheme. Sometimes, though, it's hard to see the story for the chromotechnics. 10-city author tour. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Fforde seems to have come of age with Shades of Grey. It is altogether more substantial than his previous offerings and unlike them, planned as the first of a trilogy. It s a change of pace, a slight change of style and it is darker. In a word: brilliant - The Sunday Telegraph Wild and inventive comic fantasy series that deserves its vast popularity - The Age Fforde juxtaposes quirky humour with dark scenarios, and the result is an entertaining but edgy story with startling relevance for today s world. - The Courier Mail Brave New World meets 1984 in a new series from British comic genius Jasper Fforde...Fforde's synaesthetic dystopia is intricately wrought and this opening to a promised trilogy will leave readers impatient for more. - The Sunday Times Upbeat, engaging and at times wickedly unusual in conversation, Fforde is refreshingly devoid of all literary pretension." - West Australian'Fforde s books are more than an ingenious idea. They are written with buoyant zest and are tautly plotted . . . and are embellished with the rich details of a Dickens or Pratchett' - Independent'Fans of the late Douglas Adams or, even, Monty Python, will feel at home with Fforde' - Herald'No summaries can do justice to the sheer inventiveness, wit, complexity, erudition, unexpectedness and originality of the works, nor to their vast repertoire of intricate wordplay and puns' - The Times

Can the postapocalypse be funny? If the author is Fforde (The Eyre Affair; The Big Over Easy), then yes. All the hallmarks of dystopian fiction are here: a rigid collective with Kafkaesque rules, an oppressed underclass looking to revolt, and the moldering ruins of a technologically advanced civilization that perished long ago. But there is also humor, wit, and mystery in this wonderfully weird new world where color and people's ability to perceive it govern society. Eddie Russett is just trying to earn enough merits to marry well when he is sent with his father, Holden, to the Outer Fringes, where they find some questions-such as what exactly happened to the "swatchman" Holden is replacing, and why has no one ever returned from High Saffron? But curiosity is actively discouraged by the Collective, and Eddie is soon in trouble, with only one potential ally-if she would just stop punching him. VERDICT Fforde has built a complex, engaging, and unique world full of surprises, serious ideas, and serious fun that will appeal to those beyond the author's readers and sf fans. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]-Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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