Shades of Grey (Jasper Fforde) - Viking - 2009 - 390 pages

Many years after Something That Happened, Eddie Russett and his father travel to East Carmine in the Fringes.  Mr. Russett is a swatchman who is able to cure the ailments of the citizenry by timed exposure to various color combinations.  In this post-apocalyptic world, author Fforde has identified numerous hazards that the Chromatics can avoid only by adhering to the very specific Rules.  Citizens are classified by their ability to see colors with the "greys" being the working class destined to serve unending hours of servitude while the "purples" are the ruling class living a life of privilege.  Others (yellows, reds, blues, etc.) are able to fill skilled positions.  The goal for all is to improve their hue standing by marrying up-color.  Jasper Fforde has the most inventive mind of any living author.  I am amazed by his creation of fictional concepts and his ability to deliver the theme throughout.  This first book in the "Shades of Grey" series exceeds any of the volumes in the highly-regarded Thursday Next series of which I am also a huge fan.  [JAM 7/4/2012]