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Early Riser

A Novel
Written by: Jasper Fforde
Narrated by: Thomas Hunt
Length: 15 hrs and 16 mins
Price: CDN$ 43.86
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Publisher's Summary

The new stand-alone novel from best-selling author Jasper Fforde.

Every winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite.

Your name is Charlie Worthing, and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams that you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artifact borne of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling. When you get the dreams, too, it's weird. When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.

But teasing truth from the winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping, and stamp collecting, ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk.

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine.

©2019 Jasper Fforde (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Charlie's so absorbing, and Fforde's wit so sharp, the reveal that the narrative is also a commentary on capitalism comes across as a brilliant twist.... Whip-smart, tremendous fun, and an utter delight from start to finish." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"In this richly detailed, dystopic novel from Fforde (the Thursday Next series), most of the population of Wales hibernates in huge Dormitoria through the unbearable Winter.... The sprightly characters, such as the murderous villains maintaining the habits of English sophisticates and the intimately feuding pair of Chief Consul Toccata and Aurora, the head of HiberTech security, bring absurdity into the ambiance, but behave understandably enough to be credible. Charlie's confused but determined mundanity is a relatable anchor in this wild winter world, leavened by Fforde's surrealistic humor. Douglas Adams fans will enjoy the vibe." (Publishers Weekly)

“What captivates here is something that will appeal to any reader - and that’s the feeling that there’s something at stake in fiction, that characters created in books are every bit as real as the memory of a person.” (John Freeman, Newsday)

What members say

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  • Kevin Barney
  • 2019-02-14

marvelous world building!

I really enjoyed the feeling of being in the world! Charlie is a sympathetic and relatable character!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Marilyn Armstrong
  • Massachusetts
  • 2019-02-16

A different book from Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde has written some of the funniest books I've ever read. You know, the kind of book you read in bed, but you are laughing so hard it makes your partner wake up and irritably ask what the hell you are laughing at?

This book has moments of humor and a once in a while chuckle, but there's a seriousness to this story that none of his other books had. This isn't so much humor as a warning about where our climate is going and who is running our world. I don't know which is more terrifying: the obvious sub-arctic winters in Scotland ... or the deathgrip the mighty "pharma" company has on all humankind.

There are fighters against pharma. Who's the good guy, who's the bad guy. There's not "history" about how the world got to this place, but if you have been reading even the headlines, it isn't hard to put it together. So this is science fiction, except ... it's not all that far-fetched. Sometimes, I found myself not merely listening to the story but worrying if this what I'm reading or hearing is really the future history of my Earth -- unless we DO something about it. Like ... NOW.

Of course, it's beautifully written because everything Jasper Fforde has written is wonderful, though I still am in love with Thursday Next.

I do recommend this book very highly, but I have to warn you -- it isn't like his other books. It isn't hilarious and sometimes, it's pretty serious. But he's telling us a story that I think we need to think about ... while being well-entertained.

Is this science fiction or is it our science future? I think you have to decide.

I have mixed emotions about the narrator. He was good ... but I think I'd have preferred a deeper voice? Or maybe I'm just being overly picky.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Janette BK Bach
  • Hillsboro, OR
  • 2019-02-18

So imaginative!

Mr. Fforde takes you on an adventure into a speculative world where humans hibernate in the winter.

He paints a vivid world with flawed and very real feeling individuals and a social structure full of foibles, mythology and hyprocrypsy.