Widely considered as Chesterton's masterpiece, The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) defies classification. Subtitled 'A Nightmare' by Chesterton, on one level it is a fast-moving and surreal detective story. Drawing on contemporary fears of anarchist conspiracies and bomb outrages, The Man Who Was Thursday is firmly rooted in its time and place - turn-of-the-century London - but it also defies temporal boundaries.
Police Detective Syme finds himself drawn into a world that seems to have gone beyond humanity when he is elected 'Thursday', one of the members of the Central European Council of seven monarchs. Dreamlike, prophetic, and frequently funny, the novel attacks contemporary pessimism and, through a bizarre series of pursuits and unmaskings, returns Syme - and us - to earth more aware of its beauty, promise, and creative potential.