A Book a Day - Day 29

The Well of Lost Plots  - Jasper Fforde


This is surely a bit of an oxymoron as most villains by their very nature are pretty unlikeable. It's what makes them villainous after all.  Luckily for me though, Emperor Zhark from The Well of Lost Plots fits the bill. Yes of course it's a Thursday Next book, as if you needed to ask. He may act as if he wants to rule the entire universe, but in reality all he wants to do is sit at home and eat chocolate biscuits.  (Actually I lied about the biscuits. He's just another power-crazed megalomaniac.)


This is his entry in the Jurisfiction Glossary.

Zhark, Emperor. The Emperor Zhark is the undisputed star of the 'Zharkian Empire' series of SF novels, written and published in the seventies. Zhark himself is a Jurisfiction agent, and when not dominating the galaxy with extreme violence and riding roughshod over the rights of millions of peaceful lifeforms on a thousand star-systems, he is partnered with Jurisfiction agent Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Full agent from 1986, Zhark was partnered with Thursday Next during The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco of 1987. He now runs the SF policing agency with Gully Foyle.

Note: The "Galactic Cleansing" policy undertaken by Emperor Zhark is a personal vision of the Emperor's, and his inclusion in this book does not constitute tacit approval by Jurisfiction or The Council of Genres for any such projects, howsoever undertaken.

Here is the Emperor posing with some of his fellow Jurisfiction agents.




Zhark would eat Ming the Merciless for breakfast, and have Darth Vader as an afternoon snack, but deep down he’s a bit of a pussycat. Admittedly a somewhat over-enthusiastic pussycat who while trying to save Thursday, invaded a Western with his armies and managed to accidentally kill the book’s lead character, but a pussycat all the same.

He’s also very sensitive, and when he found out that his author was planning to kill him off, he was able to track him down and ‘persuade’ him not to. (This does not make him a stalker troll.)