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Washed up on the shores of a remote island, two kids from cultures half a world apart have to learn to get along and survive. Brilliantly funny novel from the master story-teller and creator of Discworld.

About the Author

Terry Pratchett is one of the most popular authors writing today. He lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire and says he 'doesn't want to get a life, because it feels as though he's trying to lead three already'. He was appointed OBE in 1998. He is the author of the phenomenally successful Discworld series. His first Discworld novel for children, THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS, was awarded the 2001 Carnegie Medal, while the second, THE WEE FREE MEN - the first about Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle - has been optioned by Sony Films to be made into a spectacular movie. Two of his Johnny Maxwell tales have been televised by the BBC as TV drama serials.

Reviews

In Carnegie Medalist Pratchett's (the Discworld novels; A Hat Full of Sky) superb mix of alternate history and fantasy, the king of England, along with the next 137 people in line to the throne, has just succumbed to the plague; the era might be akin to the 1860s or '70s. As the heir apparent is being fetched from his new post as governor of an island chain in the South Pelagic Ocean, his daughter, the redoubtable Ermintrude, still en route to join him in the South Pelagic, has been shipwrecked by a tsunami. She meets Mau, whose entire people have been wiped out by the great wave (he escaped their fate only because he was undergoing an initiation rite on another island). She and Mau each suffer profound crises of faith, and together they re-establish Mau's nation from other survivors who gradually wash up on shore and rediscover (with guidance from spirits) its remarkable lost heritage. Neatly balancing the somber and the wildly humorous in a riveting tale of discovery, Pratchett shows himself at the height of his powers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

When Mau returns home from his coming-of-age quest, he finds that a tsunami has wiped out his entire people. Also on the island is a shipwreck survivor, Ermintrude, an English miss now calling herself Daphne. Daphne does not know that she, too, is one of the last of her line. At home, in an alternate 19th-century Britain, a plague has all but destroyed the royal succession. Now her father is king and desperate to find her. Together Mau and Daphne work to rebuild some form of civilization, leading a ragtag group of other survivors who make their way to their island "nation." Why It Is a Best: The author's mix of absurd humor and rollicking adventure sugarcoats his larger theme: how do you build again when everything you know-your security, your idols, and your culture-is stripped away? Why It Is for Us: At times, Pratchett stops the action to ruminate on the relationship between humans and the gods, familiar stuff for fans of his Good Omens (1990). Readers of a certain age will wonder whether he went to the Monty Python school of comedy-Gentlemen of Last Resort, cannibals from the Land of Many Fires, and regurgitating Grandfather birds abound.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Gr 7-10-In this first novel for young people set outside of Discworld, Pratchett again shows his humor and humanity. Worlds are destroyed and cultures collide when a tsunami hits islands in a vast ocean much like the Pacific. Mau, a boy on his way back home from his initiation period and ready for the ritual that will make him a man, is the only one of his people, the Nation, to survive. Ermintrude, a girl from somewhere like Britain in a time like the 19th century, is on her way to meet her father, the governor of the Mothering Sunday islands. She is the sole survivor of her ship (or so she thinks), which is wrecked on Mau's island. She reinvents herself as Daphne, and uses her wits and practical sense to help the straggling refugees from nearby islands who start arriving. When raiders land on the island, they are led by a mutineer from the wrecked ship, and Mau must use all of his ingenuity to outsmart him. Then, just as readers are settling in to thinking that all will be well in the new world that Daphne and Mau are helping to build, Pratchett turns the story on its head. The main characters are engaging and interesting, and are the perfect medium for the author's sly humor. Daphne is a close literary cousin of Tiffany Aching in her common sense and keen intelligence wedded to courage. A rich and thought-provoking read.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Thought-provoking as well as fun, this is Pratchett at his most philosophical, with characters and situations sprung from ideas and games with language. And it celebrates the joy of the moment." -- Nicolette Jones The Times "It's witty and wise, but it leaves its young readers enough room for a newly formed opinion or two as they think about its themes of love, loss, loyalty, courage, religion and nationhood." www.thebookbag.co.uk "An enchanting novel... Terry Pratchett is one of the most interesting and critically under-rated novelists we have." -- Amanda Craig The Times "The unique pleasure of this story is that all the serious subjects and juicy ethical questions, such as the dilemma of the compassionate lie, are fully woven into action and character. Satirical portraits of upper-class twits, slapstick buffoonery, bad puns, and that particular brand of English wit buoy this story at every turn. Add a romance of gentle sweetness, encounters with ghosts, and lots of gunfire, and it is hard to imagine a reader who won't feel welcomed into this nation" The Horn Book, USA "This is no heavy-toned tale: Tears and rage there may be in plenty, but also a cast of marvelously wrought characters, humor that flies from mild to screamingly funny to out-and-out gross, incredible discoveries, profound insights into human nature and several subplots. A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant and, happily, prolific author has produced so far." Kirkus Reviews, USA

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