Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thud! by Terry Pratchett

A few weekends ago I was in the fantasy fiction section of a local independent bookstores when I chanced upon Thud! face-out on the shelf. It's a great cover, right? I think this is the first time I bought a book based purely on the cover design (well, it also helped that it was on a staff's recommendation shelf) Anyway, I'm glad I got it. Thud! is excellent. I wasn't aware of Terry Pratchett, but I have since discovered he is an immensely popular author. It turns out there are almost forty titles in his fantasy Discworld series.

In its essence Thud! is a humorous (definitely spelled with the British extra "u") fantasy world cop drama. The captain of the City Watch is the central character supported by his town guard of humans, dwarfs, a werewolf, and a vampire. Commander Sam Vimes must contend with dwarf-troll tensions within the citizenry, a murder mystery, out-of-town dwarfs flouting city laws, and rumors of an ancient demon. The compelling plot steers clear of typical fantasy story lines, and it has a satisfying ending.

Pratchett created thorough and convincing cultures for his dwarfs and trolls with compelling inter-species and intra-species politics. I have to admit, while I was reading the first couple chapters I thought the book might be too silly for me. Some of the vampires talk like The Count from Sesame street, and some of the dwarfs have goofy names. But, I'm glad a I kept going. Thud! is a smart fantasy, and I look forward to reading more of Pratchett's series.


kokigami said...

congratulations on finding the brilliant Terry Pratchett. Though the books don't need to be read in any order, I think you will find it interesting to read the first couple, and see how much the disc has evolved over time.

Nagrombor said...

Hi Andrew, Long time no speak.
Glad you discovered Pratchett (my favourite author).
I suggest that if you like THUD you read Gaurds Guards and Night Watch next to get the full flavour of the characters in this series within a series.
Terry Pratchett's stories, though centred on the Discworld, basically follow a number of themes.
The Night watch (with Cmdr Vimes)
The Unseen University (beginning with the books suggested by Kokigami)
The witches (featuring Granny Weatherwax and nanny Ogg)
Plus a number of stand alone stories.
All have brilliantly drawn characters but all display the truth that Terry Pratchet isa phenominally good observer of people and if you remove the Discworld setting you will find that you have encountered most (if not all) of these characters in real life.
And if you enjoy the main series then you will also enjoy the childrens series (try Maurice and his Amazing Educated Rodents' for a brilliant take on the Pied Piper story.
I think your daughters and your wife will also enjoy the childrens series.
God bless
PS - Sorry I've been so long without writing.

Andrew said...

Hi Rob,Good to hear from you. I will definitely check out more of Pratchett's series. I really like his mix of the grim and the light-hearted.

Nagrombor said...

Check out the Discworld miniatures here:
Extremely Cool!!
I've been bought some but haven't painted them yet.
Every blessing to you and the family