Jasper Fforde is best known for his Thursday Next series and the spin-off series of sorts called Nursery Crimes. Shades of Grey is the start to a new unrelated series, which saw its release delayed for a little while, but things are now on schedule for a release right after Christmas. Here is the blurb followed by the cover originally used when the book was first announce followed by the just released and most likely final art.
Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.
Eddie's world wasn't always like this. There's evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.
Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.
Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.
I love the new art and wonder if it will have a die-cut cover given the title art. Either way I think it fits much more with Jasper's other covers. It especially reminds me of the UK covers, which are brillant. Also, Jasper recent paid Joseph Mallozzi a visit where he talked about Nursery Crimes and a few other things.