I first saw Stephen Fry as an actor on the British comedy series Blackadder, in which he plays several different parts over the four seasons, each set in a different historical era. Then Jeeves & Wooster and A Bit of Fry and Laurie, both comedies pairing him with the equally funny Hugh Laurie. So of course I've also read Fry's written work. Novels The Liar and The Hippopotamus were okay but didn't much stick in my head; Making History wasn't bad either but since I'm a longtime science fiction fan, it seemed to cover ground already much seen in other alternate-history stories. I really preferred Fry's autobiography Moab Is My Washpot, though, so I tended to sum it all up in "His nonfiction is better than his fiction."
I'm going to have to stop saying that now that I've read his most recent novel Revenge. The basic plot is not new; it's a modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, and I knew about that before I started reading. But even knowing what's going to happen didn't stop me from having an intense desire to find out how it was going to happen -- I started the book around noon and finished by 4:00 p.m. Though I'm always an extremely fast reader, I usually put a book down after a while to avoid developing a headache from prolonged reading -- that didn't happen this time.
The modern setting adds an extra spice to the "kept away from the world for twenty years" plot device -- Rip van Winkle encountered the effects of time on people, but to this can now be added the effects of time on technological advance. However, the people are the interesting part: who they are at the beginning, how they change over twenty years, and how their own pasts are used against them. The setting of imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison adds to the opportunity to see inside the protagonist's head compared to the original (I think -- it's been nearly two decades since I read Count of Monte Cristo). Normally, thrillers don't do much for me, but Revenge is the exception.