Terry Pratchett lives in Wiltshire. His Discworld series is a publishing phenomenon. He has been awarded four honorary doctorates. He won the Carnegie Medal for the Discworld novel MAURICE AND HIS AMAZING EDUCATED RODENTS. He was made an OBE in 1998.
The master of humorous fantasy delivers one of his strongest, most conventional books yet. Discworld's equivalent of Santa Claus, the Hogfather (who flies in a sleigh drawn by four gigantic pigs), has been spirited away by a repulsive assassin, Mr. Teatime, acting on behalf of the Auditors who rule the universe and who would prefer that it exhibited no life. Since faith is essential to life, destroying belief in the Hogfather would be a major blow to humanity. It falls to a marvelously depicted Death and his granddaughter Susan to solve the mystery of the disappeared Hogfather, and meanwhile to fill in for him. On the way to the pair's victory, readers encounter children both naughty and nice; gourmet banquets made of old boots and mud; lesser and greater criminals; an overworked and undertrained tooth fairy named Violet; and Bilious, the god of hangovers, among other imaginative concepts. The tone of much of the book is darker than usual for Pratchett‘for whom "humorous" has never been synonymous with "silly"‘and his satire, too, is more edged than usual. (One scene deftly skewers the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas.") Pratchett has now moved beyond the limits of humorous fantasy, and should be recognized as one of the more significant contemporary English-language satirists. U.K. rights: Victor Gollanz, The Cassell Group; trans., first serial, dramatic, audio rights: Ralph Vicinanza. (Nov.)
YA-Pratchett's 21st Discworld novel to be published in the U.S. examines the nature of belief and reality-and why rich kids get the best toys. The Hogfather, Discworld's jolly, red-suited, gift-giving, anthropomorphic personification of the winter season, is missing, and Death has taken his place. Death's granddaughter, Susan, determined to discover what's behind this, uncovers a plot to assassinate the Hogfather. It's a diabolically clever plan concocted by an assassin who's a few eggs short of a dozen even by Discworld standards. The story is best appreciated in the context of previous novels featuring Death, such as Mort (Bantam, 1989), Reaper Man (Dutton, 1992), and Soul Music (Bantam, 1995).
Pratchett's best-known creation is "Discworld," in particular the fantastic medieval urban city-state Ankh-Morporkh, populated by humans, dwarves, and trolls aligned in a firm social pecking order. A keen observer of human behavior, Pratchett portrays nearly every conceivable type of Earthly people, and they work through social issues as the "Discworld" stories unfold. Jingo takes on discrimination and xenophobia as the crusty Sam Vimes, leader of the city's policing Watch, heads off war with the neighboring land of Klatch. Hogfather is a bit less accessible, possibly because most characters are so abstract. Discworld's equivalent of Santa Claus, the Hogfather has a price on his head. Death plays a large part, and his diminutive rodent counterpart, the Death of Rats, also appears. Death's granddaughter Susan is the worldly heroine who saves the day in this adventure involving the city's Magicians. Similar to the "Discworld" novel Reaper Man, Hogfather is an optional purchase. Jingo is highly recommended, especially if your patrons appreciate British humor. Nigel Planer is a stunning narrator in these stories, delivering a wide range of voices and styles while remaining wonderfully energetic and consistent.DDouglas C. Lord, Hartford P.L., CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.