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Nation [Kindle Edition]

Terry Pratchett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $8.00
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

When a giant wave destroys his village, Mau is the only one left. Daphne—a traveler from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Separated by language and customs, the two are united by catastrophe. Slowly, they are joined by other refugees. And as they struggle to protect the small band, Mau and Daphne defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics praised Nation as a hybrid, deeply philosophical book aimed at young adults, but one likely to appeal to adults as well, much like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy or J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. With echoes of William Defoe and William Golding, Nation takes the form of a “classic Robinsonade,” notes the Washington Post—that is, a book in which characters on a desert island recreate civilization. As his characters grapple with questions of leadership, humanity, and survival, Pratchett explores fundamental ideas about religion and culture. This might all sound rather heavy, but there is plenty of originality and humor—and cannibals, spirits, and secret treasures—to go around. In the end, Pratchett offers a vision of a deeply humane world. “In some part of the multiverse there is probably a civilisation based on the thinking of Terry Pratchett,” writes the Guardian, “and what a civilised civilisation that will be.”
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

Product Details

  • File Size: 336 KB
  • Print Length: 396 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061433039
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0017SWPSE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,947 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story containing much to think about July 22, 2008
Format:Roughcut|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nation is an exceptionally good book, rewarding to read; it is aimed at young people, and I think that it would appeal strongly to the best in fourteen-year-olds everywhere; however, even though I haven't been fourteen for many years, I enjoyed it very much and recommend it for all ages.

It has many of the characteristics of Terry Pratchett's work, but it does not fit easily into any category. His humor is there, as is his relish in deflating the balloons that make up the given wisdom of human culture; the allusions that make every book he writes a delight, a puzzle, and an unending source of new discovery at each re-reading are there; none of it is present to the degree that any of it would be in a Discworld book.

A continuing idea running through his work is that of the alternate universes created at each decision point. One picks up a fork; alternatively, one may not have picked up a fork, and by not doing so may have created a different reality, the fork-not-picked-up universe. Nation takes place on an earth where a good many different utensils have been picked up at different times from what we know, but it is still recognizable as a nineteenth century when Britannia ruled the waves.

Although it is an entertaining book, it is not primarily a funny one. The themes it deals with are overwhelming--loss of the entire cultural framework that makes life in society meaningful, death of all that is known, the futility of traditional coping mechanisms in the face of such loss, the need to build a new life from within when all that has been known before was an old life imposed from without. The young hero has lost everything--even the coming-of-age ritual he was to go through the day of the tragedy.
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Those in Peril on the Land July 21, 2008
Format:Roughcut|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Just one important point before I start: this review contains no spoilers; Pratchett fans can read it with impunity.

'Nation' is one of Terry Pratchett's Young Adult books. It isn't set on Discworld, and the characters are new. It's set on our Round World, in Victorian days, at the height of the British Empire.

Well, to be accurate, it's set in an alternative world, in a different leg of the Trousers of Time, where, among other things, the Royal Family has met with a series of calamities, and it is vitally important that the Heir to the Throne be found (some small print in the ratified version of the Magna Carta, apparently).

The two main characters are teenagers - both, for various reasons, without a Nation, and both representing all that is best in their respective cultures. Mau, the boy, is the only survivor after his island is devastated by a tsunami. Ermintrude, the girl, is shipwrecked on his island.

No. It isn't The Blue Lagoon. That's all the plot that I'm willing to divulge.

Like all of Pratchett's work, this book can be interpreted at many levels. The younger folk will enjoy the yarn, which is brilliantly crafted, as always. They might even identify with the characters. Both show that curious mixture of wisdom, intelligence and basic Humanity of all of Pratchett's younger characters. There are many moments of tension, resolved at the narratively appropriate minute, plus an ending which brought tears to the Reviewer's eye.

Pratchett's sense of humour is never absent. A stunningly beautiful scene where all the multi-colored birds in a tropical island take wing at once, is brought to earth when he mentions the problems that occur when standing underneath a large, nervous, flock of birds.

And for us older readers?
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65 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carnegie Medal #2? I think so! July 19, 2008
Format:Roughcut|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pratchett's first non-discworld novel since 1996 (Johnny and the Bomb) is a real winner for kids, adults, fans, non-fans...all human-types. (Parrots will like this too; however some pigs may be scandalized).

It's set in a world similar to ours but with a different history. England is beset by plague & the heir to the throne who was quite a ways down the list before some dying occurred in the royal family needs to be fetched from his position as Governor of Port Mercia. His daughter Ermintrude who was in route to be with him will need to be picked up on the way...

Meanwhile, on an island so small as to not be on maps--well maps made by people who think being on a map makes you civilized--Mau is leaving his boyhood behind. He's about to complete the ritual that will lead him to being considered a man...Then something happens--a wave washes away everything and everyone Mau knew. But it deposits Ermintrude's ship in a tree.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of reading a Pratchett novel knows that summarizing them just doesn't do them justice, so I'm stopping there. Suffice to say that this is an amazing book. It's fun to read. The characters are funny, but never made fun of. Pratchett's trademark dry, sly British humor is well in evidence. It takes on several weighty issues (death, imperialism, religion, grief) without ever being preachy or patronizing. It's the story of a boy who didn't know there were questions (especially about the whole gods thing) and a girl who was taught questions were improper (especially questions about propriety) they meet and share their questions and answer a few of them. That with guns and sharks and milking of pigs in.

Just like his Discworld books starring Tiffany Aching, this is a gift to young audiences and people who read like them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars so lovely
possibly his swan song. the first time I read it when I got to the end I closed the book, held it a minute, then turned it right back to page 1 and read it again.
Published 8 days ago by D. Anglin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Pratchett is a brilliant story teller. I buy everything he writes and I'm never disappointed
Published 9 days ago by David Sumsion
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
The book was a bit confusing but that might be because I am 11 and a fast reader .the ending was upsetting but in that goodish bad way I really think this should be classified as... Read more
Published 19 days ago by bobbyjoe
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book to think on
It was an extremely good book to think on and one to study.
Published 26 days ago by Hunter Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars fun, funny and thoughtful
A real gem of a book full of fun characters and a fast-moving plot that sucks you in. A great read for teens and adventurers of all ages, but could be a little thin for those... Read more
Published 1 month ago by scyllamach
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best book he has ever written. Period.
Published 1 month ago by Tiggr
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and gentleness of the human spirit
I love everything Terry Pratchett - and, while this takes us in a new direction, his insights and commentary, couched in humor and adventure, leave me breathless every time.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars touching and deeply thought provoking
As always with terry pratchett. Also quite funny. Humanistic and religious in the best way. He has a touch of gold.
Published 2 months ago by TH
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing, inspiring, and FUN
It's been a long time since I read (listened to) a young adult novel that inspired me to write a review of any kind, especially a positive one. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Field
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
enjoyed the story
Published 2 months ago by David L. Eisenhauer
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More About the Author

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was fifteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987 he turned to writing full time, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 36 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these children's books, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal. A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller, and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback (Harper Torch, 2006) and trade paperback (Harper Paperbacks, 2006). Terry's latest book, Nation, a non-Discworld standalone YA novel was published in October of 2008 and was an instant New York Times and London Times bestseller. Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire "for services to literature" in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 55 million copies (give or take a few million) and have been translated into 36 languages. Terry Pratchett lives in England with his family, and spends too much time at his word processor.  Some of Terry's accolades include: The Carnegie Medal, Locus Awards, the Mythopoetic Award, ALA Notable Books for Children, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Book Sense 76 Pick, Prometheus Award and the British Fantasy Award.

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Topic From this Discussion
What are the religious views in this book?
I would rather say, based especially on Small Gods, Feet of Clay and other Discworld books, that Pratchett is strongly in favor of rational spirituality and personal religious beliefs but deeply suspicious of the notion of organized religion. This is not so much an atheist view as a Unitarian... Read More
Nov 30, 2008 by Cynthia Cooper |  See all 9 posts
"Nation" Synopsis from
thank you!
Jun 6, 2008 by Ravenskya |  See all 2 posts
"Nation" Synopsis form
I think this is the first new novel to come out since Terry announced that he is suffering from alzheimers. Have you heard anything about that? Is he on Meds or is it just in the early stages. This is almost as bad as Robert Jordan's Amyloidosis.
Jun 8, 2008 by Voracious Reader |  See all 5 posts
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