Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Pyramids (Discworld)

By Terry Pratchett

Teppic is the son of the Pharaoh, or rather the Discworld's version of a pharaoh. His father is the king of Djelibeybi, a narrow land stretched along the two banks of a desert river. And like a pharaoh, he is considered to be a god, responsible for causing the sun to rise and the crops to grow.
Teppic was sent off as a lad to Ankh-Morpork to Assassin's school and just as he was all set to start his new career, his father died and now Teppic has to go home to run the kingdom. But being king isn't quite what he thought it would be as he is completely under the thumb of the high priest Dios and finds himself pressured to do only what the high priest approves. Succumbing to the pressure, and even though the kingdom is bankrupt, Teppic orders a pyramid to be built as a tomb for his father. This will be the biggest pyramid ever built. What nobody understands, though, since pyramids influence time, this huge new pyramid will have catastrophic effects on the kingdom. And Teppic finds himself on the run from his own high priest who finally tires of Teppic's resistance and sets out to kill him. And the only thing that maybe able to set things right is a camel named You Bastard.

This was a pretty funny and interesting book. Teppic isn't much of an assassin nor is he much of a king and the massive new pyramid certainly turns things upside down in Djelibeybi as the dead come back to life and the old gods become real. My favorite character in the book was Teppic's dead father, who didn't want to be buried in a pyramid and who doesn't particularly want to live forever either. He just hangs around watching the embalmers dismember his body, plucking his eyes out of his head and his brains out through his nostrils and stuffing his interior with sawdust. That is probably one of the funniest parts of the book. One of the other funniest parts is when the priests are doing the play-by-play as various suddenly real gods vie for control of the sun. Absolutely priceless.

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