Who else could include the lyrics of Noel Gallagher, use the 'c' word with effortless charm, and dismantle European history without sounding like a pompous old tart trying to catch the zeitgeist? Stephen Fry's 'Making History' is probably his best novel to date. It's a pants of a read. The fiendishly clever circular plot weaves a story of breathtaking originality only to bite its own tail in a brilliant piece of intellectual experiment. What if the most evil man this century were to disappear from our history books? He investigates this premise and delivers a comedy so black you'll wonder who turned the lights out. His protagonist, Michael Young (who is, of course, as gay as a basket of tulips), starts out in Fry's now customary Cambridge academic landscape as a postgraduate about to complete his history thesis ("Das Meisterwerk"). A chance meeting with Leo Zuckerman, a physics scholar, eventually sees Michael thrown across the Atlantic into an alternative reality, Princeton USA. Here he encounters bigotry, racism and a government still frozen by cold war - only this time the enemy is Europe. It's here, in the second half of the novel, that Fry really burns rubber, reinforcing Bernard Shaw's notion that England and America are indeed divided by a common language. Apart from the obvious gag count, the really memorable moments in the book are when you realise what the author is up to. Genius or smart-a*se git? He is, of course, both.