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Swindon is centre-stage once again in author's new book
Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde's series of novels is set in a parallel Swindon

The sixth book in author Jasper Fforde's series of Thursday Next novels is published this week.

The fantasy saga details the adventures of the 'Spec Ops' agent Thursday Next who solves crimes against fiction in a parallel-universe version of Swindon.

In this world, Swindon is described as the "jewel of the M4" and features such dubious landmarks as The Double Helix of Carfax and The Tower of Brunel.

The latest novel in the series is titled One of Our Thursdays is Missing.

'Travel within fiction'

The hugely popular series of books which began with The Eyre Affair in 2001 has sold over 400,000 copies worldwide.

Explaining why he decided to set the novels in Swindon, Jasper said: "At the time of the first book, I was living near Marlborough and Swindon was my local big town. So I thought, well I've got to write a book and I've got to set it somewhere, so why don't we go for Swindon."

Thursday Next is a character who can travel within fiction. She lives in Swindon but can also travel inside books
Author Jasper Fforde

There is a whole new set of problems for Jasper's heroine Thursday Next in the latest book in the series.

Jasper said: "Thursday Next is a character who can travel within fiction, within the written word.

"She lives in Swindon but can also travel inside books and can deal with all the problems characters have within books.

"This one is all about her being missing and the written her trying to find her.

"The written Thursday wants to be like the real Thursday but finds it rather hard.

"It's like having an elder brother who does a lot better than you. You have to try and match up. That's the kind of gag that's in the book."

Jasper has maintained a strong relationship with Swindon since the first novel was published.

Fforde Fiesta

He spoke at the Swindon Festival of Literature in 2003 and was honoured with a mayoral reception in 2004.

He is to return to the town once again in May for an annual event celebrating his books called the Fforde Fiesta.

"It's a whole group of people and we get together and talk about my books and do silly things and it's held on the 28th and 29th of May at the De Vere Hotel," he added.

"It's got an international flavour, we've had people from Germany and America, and it's the fourth year now so we're pretty excited about it."

For more information, visit Jasper's website.

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