Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pyramids

Teppic (or Pteppic) is the son of a king who rules a kingdom called Djelibeybi, which is the closest thing to ancient Egypt as a place on the Discworld could be. Teppic has decided to travel to Ankh-Morpork to train to be an assassin.

The book opens as Teppic, having studied for several years in Ankh-Morpork, is in the process of taking his final exam. This exam is not a sit-safely-at-a-desk kind of thing; he must find his way to various places in the city, running across rooftops, climbing down walls, all the while being very, very careful of the many boobytraps in store for him. The narrative detailing his final exam is skillfully interspersed with flashbacks of Teppic's home, his student days, and his experiences at the Assassin's Guild, so that by the end of the test, the reader has gotten to know Teppec well enough to be rooting for him.

The day after the exam, however, Teppic learns that his father has died, and he hurries back to Djelibeybi like a man possessed. As he assumes his role as king, Teppic is assisted by Dios, the high priest who assisted his father, and his father before him, strictly adhering to the traditions of their country. It is a mystery how Dios has survived as long as he has, but everyone seems to take it for granted that he is and always has been the high priest.

Unfortunately for Dios, Teppic has returned with some newfangled ideas that are not welcome in his traditional kingdom, including plumbing and feather beds, which Teppic had come to appreciate during the days of his apprenticeship. Teppic also insists on talking to commoners, who are very put off by the king's conversational manner. When Teppic orders, against his own better judgment, that the largest pyramid ever be built for his father's tomb, little does he know that when it's built, it will have the capacity of warping time and space in interesting and hilarious ways. Aided by a lovely handmaiden named Ptraci as well as a genius mathematician (who also happens to be a camel) named You Bastard, Teppic tries to sort things out.

I have enjoyed all the Discworld novels that I've read so far, and this one is certainly no exception. I particularly liked the way in which the reader is given snippets from many characters' points of view, and therefore has more complete information than any single character - it makes the events that much funnier and more suspenseful. I also liked that the villain is not an evil character trying to do bad things just for the evil fun of it. He is trying to do what, in his mind, is the right thing for the kingdom, and makes sacrifices in order to do it. Pratchett has his usual fun lampooning all kinds of things, but never at the expense of the characters or the story - just enough to keep me grinning. There is so much to love about this book - and hearing it read aloud makes it even more fun. I'm loving my read through this series, and I'm very much looking forward to the next book.

Books in the Discworld series:
1. The Color of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
3. Equal Rites
4. Mort
5. Sourcery
6. Wyrd Sisters
7. Pyramids
8. Guards, Guards
9. Eric
10. Moving Pictures
11. Reaper Man
12. Witches Abroad
13. Small Gods
14. Lords and Ladies
15. Men at Arms
16. Soul Music
17. Interesting Times
18. Maskerade
19. Feet of Clay
20. Hogfather
21. Jingo
22. The Last Continent
23. Carpe Jugulum
24. The Fifth Elephant
25. The Truth
26. The Thief of Time
27. The Last Hero
28. Nightwatch
29. Monstrous Regiment
30. Going Postal
31. Thud
32. Making Money

33. Unseen Academicals

Pyramids (#7 in the Discworld series) by Terry Pratchett; narrated by Nigel Planer (Random House Audiobooks, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
A Book a Week: "We get several perspectives, all carefully coming together to create a creeping understanding of what is going on. Not one character ever really gets the full picture, but the reader does, and I am in awe of how well it all unfolds."
The Wertzone: "Pyramids...tends to slip beneath the radar, which is a shame as it is a very good book indeed."

2 comments:

  1. I love how you mention the villain not being evil. It took me a long time to even realize that the villain was a villain! I just kept getting this creeping feeling of something not being quite right with him. And when I finally figured it all out, I was so pleased with how unconventional but fitting it all is!

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  2. Kiirstin - I just loved him! He was a great villain. Listening to the audiobook was a great way to read this one, too. You know how Dios kept insisting on reading Teppec's full title every time he referred to him in court? So, so funny to hear that read aloud. :-)

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