Monday, May 25, 2009

Pyramids - Terry Pratchett

1989; 323 pages. #7 in the Discworld series. Genre : Fantasy. Overall Rating : B+..

Teppic is an apprentice in the Assassins' Guild in Ankh-Morpork. He is also the son and heir-apparent to the God-Pharaoh throne of Djelibeybi, a long, narrow, desert kingdom along the Djel River. Which takes precedence when Pops passes on and needs a pyramid built for his mummy.
What's To Like...
   This is a fairly early book in the Discworld series, which means it is full of zany metaphors and similes; and lots of wit. There are some great characters - Teppic, Dios (the chief priest), Ptraci (a handmaiden, whatever that is), and the world's greatest mathematician (who likes to chew his cud).

.As usual, Pratchett spoofs a bunch of themes here. Among them are : pyramids (naturally) and Egyptology. The latter includes both ancient practices like burying food in the pharaohs' tombs (a lot of good that did), and modern New Age silliness, such as wearing little pyramid hats to give your brain good vibes. Hey, I've taken part in psychic fairs - people really do wear those contraptions. Pratchett also takes on Greek philosophers and Quantum Mathematics.

.On a slightly more-serious note, Pratchett explores whether people (in the book, or in the past/present real world) truly would want whatever god(s) they follow to come down and dwell with among them. An interesting question.
There really aren't any negatives to Pyramids. The storyline and ending are good, and even the bad guys have redeeming qualities. The worst I can say is don't make this your first Discworld book. Pyramids is sort of a blind alley for Pratchett - ANAICT, all of the main characters are here only for this one book. They never turn up again in the 20-odd Discworld books that follow.
.We'll close with an excerpt (opening sentence, actually), which gives one example of Prathchett's funnybone-tickling similes (or are they metaphors?) :

"Nothing but stars, scattered across the blackness as though the Creator had smashed the windscreen of his car and hadn't bothered to sweep up the pieces."
Yeah. Milton would be jealous.

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