The Man Who Was Thursday Author:G. K. Chesterton In a surreal turn-of-the-century London, Gabriel Syme is recruited to a secret anti-anarchist taskforce at Scotland Yard. Lucian Gregory, an openly-anarchist poet, lives in the suburb of Saffron Park unchallenged until Syme meets Gregory at a party and debates with him about the meaning of poetry. Gregory argues that revolt is at the core of poe... more »try, while Syme insists that safety and orderliness (specifically, a timetable for the London Underground) are the greatest human achievements, and suggests that Gregory isn't really serious about his anarchism. This so irritates Gregory that he takes Syme to an underground anarchist meeting place, revealing that his open support of anarchy is a ruse to make him look harmless and ward off suspicion, when in fact he is an influential member of the local chapter of the European anarchist council. The central council consists of seven men, each using the name of a day of the week as a code name, and the position of Thursday is about to be elected by Gregory's local chapter. Gregory expects to win the election and take the position, but just before the election Syme reveals to Gregory under an oath of secrecy that he is a secret policeman, and, fearing prosecution due to the presence of Syme, Gregory cannot convince the local chapter that he is dangerous enough for the job. Syme makes a rousing speech pretending to be an anarchist and wins the vote, and is sent immediately as their delegate to the central council.
In his efforts to thwart the council's intentions, however, Syme discovers that five of the other six members are also undercover detectives; each was just as mysteriously employed and assigned to defeat the Council of Days. They all soon find out that they are fighting each other and not real anarchists; such was the mastermind plan of their president Sunday. In a dizzying and surreal conclusion, Sunday himself is unmasked as only appearing terrible; in fact, he is a force of good like the detectives. However, he is unable to give an answer to the question of why he caused so much trouble and pain for the detectives. Gregory, the only real anarchist, appears to challenge the good council. His accusation is that they, ruling from high above, have never suffered like Gregory and their other subjects, and so their power is illegitimate. However, Syme is able to refute this accusation immediately because of the terrors inflicted by Sunday on the rest of the council. The dream ends violently when Sunday himself is asked if he has ever suffered.« less