October 29, 2003

Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett

The little country of Borogravia has been at war for as long as anyone can remember, often with next-door neighbor Zlobenia, but generally with anyone who's handy. And the leading nations of the Discworld have paid little attention, for Borogravia and its neighbors are far-off, backwards, and dull. And then Nuggan, the god worshipped by the Borogravians, decrees that the line of semaphore towers built by Ankh-Morpork on the border between Borogravia and Zlobenia are an Abomination Unto Nuggan--and they are torn down.

Meanwhile, young Polly Perks, the daughter of a prosperous innkeeper, cuts off her hair, dresses as a man, and runs off to join the Borogravian army. As usual, she's following a man--her brother Paul. If Paul comes home from the wars, he'll inherit the inn, and Polly can go on running it as she has been for her father. But it's an Abomination Unto Nuggan for a woman to own property, so if Paul dies in battle the inn will pass to a distant cousin.

And so the next day we find Private Oliver "Ozzer" Perks marching off to war behind one of God's own noncoms, Sergeant Jackrum, with a squad of other raw recruits.

You might think you've heard this story. You might think you can guess what's going to happen. You're sorely mistaken, I feel sure.

This is vintage Pratchett, not his best but much better than his worst, and I spent a quite pleasant week of evenings reading it to Jane. Recommended.

Posted by Will Duquette at October 29, 2003 07:09 PM

Deb said:

Hmmmm, I bought this one for the son and he didnt come up for air for a couple days. Must be good. He recommends it too.

The Granny Weatherwax books are still my favorites tho. I want "The Joy of Snacks" which I see is published now.