October 15th, 2012

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Book #61: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

                                                                            

Terry Pratchett's seventh Discworld novel is completely different from the others, having none of the characters from previous book - except for Death, who makes a couple of fleeting appearances. This is good in that Terry Pratchett was able to show that he was not limited to only specific characters, although I tend to be biased towards ones that centre around Death, Rincewind or Granny Weatherwax.

The setting of this book is based on Ancient Egypt, and starts with the current King dying, so his son Teppic (being trained by the Guild of Assassins) takes over the throne, unenthusiastically. However, Teppic finds that he has a lot less power than he had expected, with his advisor very obviously pulling the strings and manipluating him; the book then turns into a story about Teppic's attempts to rescue a woman who has been condemned to death, and also an invasion by the living dead.

The book includes a lot of satire on religion, as well as a lot of hilarious jokes about Ancient Egyptian customs, with comments about how people in the future will be confused about what their purpose was; the funniest moment in the book is the moment where Teppic starts picking holes in the famous "Riddle of the Sphinx". There is also a lot of bizarre science fiction-type stuff revolving around a pyramid that - for no reason that is exactly explained - starts having a bizarre effect on the space-time contiuum, with other side effects (which seems to include raising the dead). The book even finds time to make jokes about philosophy, which a scene where Teppic spends time with a group of philosophers, who come up with bizarre and hilarious theories.

Overall, this makes for an enjoyable adventure story, as well as hilarious reading, even though at times it feels a bit too wordy, and I found myself having to re-read a few passages in order to make sense of them. The only real drawback is that the main characters in this book have not ever been revisited in subsequent Discworld titles.

Next book: Eye in the Sky by Philip K. Dick