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Thief of Time (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – April 30, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews
Book 26 of 40 in the Discworld Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you were helpless with laughter over Shanghai Noon, enjoy satirical British humor and terrible puns, or just need your Pratchett fix, grab this book. Unfamiliar with Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series? It's time to discover one of the funniest, most literate, and most thought-provoking authors writing today.

The Monks of History live in a Tibetan sort of area known as "enlightenment country." Their job: "to see that tomorrow happens at all." A mysterious Lady wants time-obsessed Jeremy Clockson to build a totally accurate glass clock. It will trap time and stop it, eliminating humanity's irritating unpredictability. This would make the Auditors, who observe the universe and enforce the rules governing it, very happy. It would also put Death out of a job, which the Grim Reaper isn't happy about. Fortunately, the History Monks have encountered this situation before; in fact, Lu Tze, the Sweeper, has personally dealt with it before. Even better, he has a new, gifted apprentice, Lobsang Ludd, the "thief of time." This time, they'll stop trouble before it can start! To add chaos to the mix, there's the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse--the one who quit before they became famous.

Although there are 25 other Discworld novels and many of the characters appeared first in previous books, you don't need to have read even one to enjoy The Thief of Time. (If you're the sort of reader who hates to miss any references, you might want to track down a copy of The Discworld Companion.) As a bonus, this book is a painless introduction to what quantum physics says about the nature of time. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Here we go again! In the newest appealing installment of the Discworld series, Pratchett (The Truth) takes on religion, time and... kung-fu movies? The cast includes Death; Miss Susan, Death's granddaughter; Jeremy Clockson, a clockmaker; Lobsang, a novice monk; and Lu-Tze, a sweeper at the temple of the History Monks. When a mysterious lady asks Jeremy to make a clock that is perfectly timed (even to the last tick), trouble begins it seems that such a clock would have the power to stop time completely. There would be no yesterday, no tomorrow, no next minute; in fact, everything and everyone would stop in its tracks. It's up to Miss Susan, Lobsang and Lu-Tze to figure out who in the end has decided to build the dangerous clock and how to stop him before the world crashes to a halt. Along the way we learn Rule One: "Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man," which is a very good lesson to learn. We also find out that Lobsang has more in store for his future than to be an apprentice monk. The story includes a quick nod to James Bond flicks with Qu, the monk who supplies gadgets to Lu-Tze and Lobsang, and at the end of Time the four (no, make that five) horsemen of the Apocalypse get to ride out for a jaunt. You don't need to catch all the in-jokes to enjoy the fun. Agent, Ralph Vincinanza. 6-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Discworld (Book 26)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061031321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061031328
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James D. DeWitt on May 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I admit to enjoying Terry Pratchett very much. I've read all 26 Discworld books. I've got the juveniles and the early experiments like _Strata_. Perhaps the best part of reading so much of his work is that I can see how he has grown and evolved as a writer. _Thief of Time_ is an extremely sophisticated book and, while not his funniest, is plainly his best yet.
Early Discworld books were comedy monologues strung together by a plot. Sometimes a pretty thin plot. As just one example, a whole page was required to set up the famous "felonious monk" pun in _Soul Music_. The early stories tended to be pretty much a structure to support the jokes. Sure, there was more, but it was mostly for laughs.
Somewhere between _Hogfather_ and _Carpe Jugulum_, Pratchett brought his writing to a new level. It's controversial among some of his fans, but the newer books raise deeper issues and work at multiple levels. There are still lots of laughs - you can't read about a raven named "Quoth" without smiling - but there's also a terrific, compelling story to be told. While the humor in _Color of Magic_ could be sophomoric - remember when the imp ran out of the color pink when Rincewind and Twoflower visited the Whore Pits? - there is nothing even slightly sophomoric about the plot or jokes in _Thief of Time_.
This story involves the ongoing struggle between Death and the Auditors, the use and abuse of time, quantum physics, the Monks of Time (appearing for the first itme since _Small Gods_) and the peculiar and completely different aptitudes of two very different young men to manipulate time. As an unexpected bonus, you learn why there are those nagging inconsistencies across the Discworld novels; it turns out its not Terry's fault at all...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rule 1: Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man.<.
Jeremy, a young clockmaker who has always managed to stay just this side of insanity (except for once) finds that he has been enlisted to build a clock that measures time perfectly. He and his assistant Igor attack the problem with zest, never realizing that this perfect clock will stop time forever. It is a plot by the Auditors to rid themselves of human beings.
In a monastery far, far away, where the Monks of History live, young Lobsang, finds he has been apprenticed to the fearsome Lu-Tse, chief janitor, and master of the Way of Mrs. Cosmopilite. Lobsang is assign to Lu-Tse because he seems to be able to steal at the speed of light and always knows the answers to the wrong question. This remarkable pair soon discover that time is being meddled with. They set off to Ankh-Morpork (where everything happens) to put a stop to the putting a stop to time.
Finally, young Miss Susan, instructor at the Frout Academy, and direct descendant of DEATH himself, receives an assignment from her grandfather. You guessed, if time stops, DEATH is out of business. Riding Binky the pale horse, accompanied by Quoth the raven and the Death of Rats (SQUEAK), she too heads for Ankh-Morpork to avert THE END.
Suffice it to say, there is no way to adequately describe the plot of a novel that combines Taoism, a genuine apocalypse, and the fine art of chocolate making between two covers. Pratchett skates from profundity to sarcasm with the kind of facility that comes from writing 26 Discworld novels. Satirizing both the universe's self appointed counters of beans and monastic cults without being offensive to either is another sign of Pratchett's mastery.
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Format: Hardcover
For the Perennial Pratchett Fans: This book is firmly in the Death series. Death and Susan have to save the world. Again. Is anyone keeping track of how many times the world has almost been destroyed?
For the New readers: This book stands on it own well enough. Regular fans will already know Death, War, Famine, Pestilence, Susan, Nanny Ogg, Igor, Lu Tze, and the Way of Mrs.Cosmopilite they are old friends and we are happy to see them again. But Pterry gives enough information so new readers are not lost. Just know that if you like them you can read more about them without waiting for another book.
So what is it about?
The Auditors have hired Jeremy, a man with a perfect sense of time, to build a glass clock that will stop time.
Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd of the History Monks are on a mission to stop the clock.
Susan is working as a school teacher until Death puts her to work saving the world. (Nanny Ogg has a cameo as the world's best Midwife)
Death is having a hard time getting the other three Horsemen to Ride Out for the Apocalypse.
And then there is the Fifth Horsemen, Ronnie, who left before they got famous.
All the stuff about the History Monks is one continuous joke about Kung Fu movies.
The Five Horsemen lend themselves to Beatles references but also to any rock band where some members are more famous than others.
Susan seems to have developed a Chocolate dependency. It is nice to know that Pterry understands these things.
The American edition cover is hideous, they could not have made it more ugly if they tried. Are they actually trying to lose business?
The British cover is the usual Josh Kirby (in case your are wondering it depicts the History Monks' time storage vault,. The little yellow figures are monks. They are getting buckets of water and yak butter out of storage wells to cool and grease the time spindles)
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