is the 23rd Discworld novel, and with it this durable series continues its juggernaut procession onward. Pratchett is an author who inspires such devotions that his fans will fall on the novel with cries of joy. Nonfans, perhaps, will want to know what all the fuss is about; and that's something difficult to put into a few words. The best thing to do for those completely new to Pratchett is to sample him for themselves, and this novel is as good a place to start as any. But fans have a more precise question. They know that Discworld novels come in one of two varieties: the quite good and the brilliant. So, for instance, where Hogfather
were quite good, Feet of Clay
were brilliant. While true fans wouldn't want to do without the former, they absolutely live for the latter. And with Carpe Jugulum
, Pratchett has hit the jackpot again. This novel is one of the brilliant ones.
The plot is a version of an earlier Discworld novel, Lords and Ladies, with the predatory elves of that novel being replaced here by suave and deadly vampires, and the tiny kingdom of Lancre being defended by its witches. But plot is the least of Pratchett's appeal, and Carpe Jugulum is loaded with marvelous characters (not least the witches themselves, about whom we learn a deal more), comic touches and scenes of genius, and even some of the renowned down-to-earth Pratchett wisdom (about the inner ethical conflicts we all face and the wrongness of treating people as things). Pratchett's vampires are elegant Bela Lugosi types, and they come up against an unlikely but engaging alliance of witches; blue-skinned pixies like Rob Roy Smurfs; a doubting priest with a boil on his face; and a magical house-size Phoenix in a seamless, completely absorbing, and feel-good-about-the-universe mixture. Highly recommended. --Adam Roberts, Amazon.co.uk
From Publishers Weekly
Carpe JugulumAseize the throatAis the motto of the family of "vampyres" who attempt a hospitable takeover of the kingdom of Lancre in Pratchett's 23rd Discworld novel. When the goodhearted king invited the Magpyrs to celebrate the birth of his daughter, he couldn't know that these modern bloodsuckers would have no intention of leaving. By controlling everyone's mind, they try to turn Lancre into a sort of farm, and no one can think straight enough to stop them. That is, until the vampyres meet up with the local witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick and Agnes Nitt (who is literally of two minds about everything). The perplexing skirmishes that ensue will leave readers shaking their heads in hearty dismay even as they groan at the puns and explanatory notes that pepper the tale. Death (scythe and all) and Igor (of Frankenstein film fame) provide the best gags. The novel exudes the curious feel of old-fashioned vampire and Frankenstein legendsAfull of holy water, religious symbols, stakes through the heart, angry mobs, bad pronunciation and garlic. The vampyres, however, have risen above these clich?s even if their servant, Igor, still has a taste for dribbly candles and squeaky hinges. Pratchett lampoons everything from Christian superstition to Swiss Army knives here, proving that the fantasy satire of Discworld "still ate'nt dead."
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.