Carpe Jugulum (Discworld Series #23)

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It is rare and splendid event when an author is elevated from the underground into the international literary establishment. In the case of England's best-known and best-loved modern satirist, that event has been long overdue.

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent Discworld novels satirize and celebrate every aspect of life, modern and ancient, sacred and profane. Consistent number-one bestsellers in England, they have garnered him a secure position in the pantheon of humor ...

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Carpe Jugulum (Discworld Series #23)

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Overview

It is rare and splendid event when an author is elevated from the underground into the international literary establishment. In the case of England's best-known and best-loved modern satirist, that event has been long overdue.

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent Discworld novels satirize and celebrate every aspect of life, modern and ancient, sacred and profane. Consistent number-one bestsellers in England, they have garnered him a secure position in the pantheon of humor along with Mark Twain, Douglas Adams, Matt Groening, and Jonathan Swift.

Even so distinguished an author as A. S. Byatt has sung his praises, calling Pratchett's intricate and delightful fictional Discworld "more complicated and satisfying than Oz."

His latest satiric triumph, Carpe Jugulum, involves an exclusive royal snafu that leads to comic mayhem. In a fit of enlightenment democracy and ebullient goodwill, King Verence invites Uberwald's undead, the Magpyrs, into Lancre to celebrate the birth of his daughter. But once ensconced within the castle, these wine-drinking, garlic-eating, sun-loving modern vampires have no intention of leaving. Ever.

Only an uneasy alliance between a nervous young priest and the argumentative local witches can save the country from being taken over by people with a cultivated bloodlust and bad taste in silk waistcoats. For them, there's only one way to fight.

Go for the throat, or as the vampyres themselves say...
Carpe Jugulum

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Carpe Jugulum--seize the throat--is 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 legends--full 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." (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Without giving the matter sufficient thought, King Verence of Lancre invites the Magpyr family from Uberwald to his castle to celebrate the birth of his daughter. King Verence and his loyal subjects soon regret his action, because the Magpyrs are a family of vampires. Deciding they prefer Lancre to Uberwald, the Magpyrs want to stayforever. Because their powers include the ability to control the minds of the weakwilled, such as King Verence and the majority of his subjects, they may get their wish. However the Magpyrs do not control everyone in Lancreparticularly a family of cantankerous witches, one of whom engages in astral projection but cautiously leaves a sign near her body that says "I ate'nt dead." The Magpyrs' own servant, Igor, miffed that his new masters do not follow the old ways, also remains outside their spell. In addition, the Magpyrs have not considered the Nac mac Feegle, the sixinch tall, blueskinned, redhaired pixies who carry little swords that they do not mind using. The Nac mac Feegle speak with a pseudoScottish accent that is much funnier, but even less intelligible, than the real thing. These Smurfs with bad attitudes save the slightly addled King Verence in a scene that is laughoutloud funny. Once again, in his twentythird Discworld novel, Pratchett is wildly inventive and consistently funny, and would be a big name if he did not toil in the science fiction/fantasy genre. Pratchett fans will enjoy this installment, but anyone new to Discworld may start here reading these novels out of sequence is not a drawback. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12;~YA).1999 (orig. 1998), HarperPrism, Ages 16 to 18, YA296p, $24. Reviewer: Tom Pearson
KLIATT
In Discworld's tiny kingdom of Lancre, the royal family is celebrating the birth of their first child. But nothing is going quite as planned. Much to the witch Nanny Ogg's dislike (due to a history of witch burning), The Reverend Mighty Oats of the religion of Om is presiding over the ceremony, setting up his tent of hopefully displayed pamphlets. Through a misguided sense of goodwill, King Verence invites a family of modern Vampyres to the party; a big mistake if one wants them to eventually leave. Granny Weatherwax, the eldest witch and only person capable of eliminating the Vampyres from their new rule over Lancre, has left the village to fight her own internal battle with evil. Finally, Perdita, an extremely obese witch with two conflicting personalities, becomes the distressed object of a young Vampyre's desire. To everyone's dismay, the Vampyres have been spending years overcoming their reactions to religious symbols, sunlight, garlic and all other known defenses. Throw in the Nac Mac Feegle, a rampaging tribe of pixies, and there is enough bloody fun for everyone. So, sit back and enjoy poignant parody master Terry Pratchett's rollicking adventure and, as the Vampyres are wont to say, carpe jugulum! KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, HarperTorch, 378p, 18cm, $6.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Lynn Rosser; Freelance Writer, Asheville, NC January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
Don D'Ammassa
As always, Pratchett manages to make all of this look incredibly easy. Cape Jugulum is just the thing to cheer you up on a dreary winter day.
Science Fiction Chronicle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061051586
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Series: Discworld Series , #23
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.

Biography

Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Through the shredded black clouds a fire moved like a dying star, falling back to earth—
—the earth, that is, of the Discworld—
—but unlike any star had ever done before, it sometimes managed to steer its fall, sometimes rising, sometimes twisting, but inevitably heading down.
Snow glowed briefly on the mountain slopes when it crackled overhead.
Under it, the land itself started to fall away. The fire was reflected off walls of blue ice as the light dropped into the beginnings of a canyon and thundered now through its twists and turns.
The light snapped off. Something still glided down the moonlit ribbon between the rocks.
It shot out of the canyon at the top of a cliff, where meltwater from a glacier plunged down into a distant pool.
Against all reason there was a valley here, or a network of valleys, clinging to the edge of the mountains before the long fall to the plains. A small lake gleamed in the warmer air. There were forests. There were tiny fields, like a patchwork quilt thrown across the rocks.
The wind had died. The air was warmer.
The shadow began to circle.
Far below, unheeded and unheeding, something else was entering this little handful of valleys. It was hard to see exactly what it was; furze rippled, heather rustled, as if a very large army made of very small creatures was moving with one purpose.
The shadow reached a flat rock that offered a magnificent view of the fields and wood below, and there the army came out from among the roots. It was made up of very small blue men, some wearing pointy blue caps but most of them with their red hair uncovered. They carried swords. None of them was more than six incheshigh.
They lined up and looked down into the new place and then, weapons waving, raised a battle cry. It would have been more impressive if they'd all agreed on one before, but as it was it sounded as though every single small warrior had a battle cry of his very own and would fight anyone who tried to take it away from him.
"Nac mac Feegle!"
"Ach, stickit yer trakkans!"
"Gie you sich a kickin'!"
"Bigjobs!"
"Dere c'n onlie be whin t'ousand!"
"Nac mac Feegle wha hae!"
"Wha hae yersel, ya boggin!"

The little cup of valleys, glowing in the last shreds of evening sunlight, was the kingdom of Lancre. From its highest points, people said, you could see all the way to the rim of the world.
It was also said, although not by the people who lived in Lancre, that below the rim, where the seas thundered continuously over the edge, their home went through space on the back of four huge elephants that in turn stood on the shell of a turtle that was as big as the world.
The people of Lancre had heard of this. They thought it sounded about right. The world was obviously flat, although in Lancre itself the only truly flat places were tables and the top of some people's heads, and certainly turtles could shift a fair load. Elephants, by all accounts, were pretty strong too. There didn't seem any major gaps in the thesis, so Lancrastrians left it at that.
It wasn't that they didn't take an interest in the world around them. On the contrary, they had a deep, personal and passionate involvement in it, but instead of asking "why are we here?" they asked "is it going to rain before the harvest?"
A philosopher might have deplored this lack of mental ambition, but only if he was really certain about where his next meal was coming from.
In fact Lancre's position and climate bred a hard-headed and straightforward people who often excelled in the world down below. It had supplied the plains with many of their greatest wizards and witches and, once again, the philosopher might have marveled that such a four-square people could give the world so many successful magical practitioners, being quite unaware that only those with their feet on rock can build castles in the air.
And so the sons and daughters of Lancre went off into the world, carved out careers, climbed the various ladders of achievement, and always remembered to send money home.
Apart from noting the return addresses on the envelope, those who stayed didn't think much about the world outside.
The world outside thought about them, though.
The big flat-topped rock was deserted now, but on the moor below, the heather trembled in a V-shape heading toward the lowlands.
"Gin's a haddie!"
"Nac mac Feegle!"

There are many kinds of vampires. Indeed, it is said that there are as many kinds of vampires as there are types of disease.* And they're not just human (if vampires are human). All along the Ramtops may be found the belief that any apparently innocent tool, be it hammer or saw, will seek blood if left unused for more than three years. In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back.
Two things have traditionally puzzled vampire researchers. One is: why do vampires have so much power? Vampires're so easy to kill, they point out. There are dozens of ways to dispatch them, quite apart from the stake through the heart, which also works on normal people so if you have any stakes left over you don't have to waste them. Classically, they spent the day in some coffin somewhere, with no guard other than an elderly hunchback who doesn't look all that spry and should succumb to quite a small mob. Yet just one can keep a whole community in a state of sullen obedience . . .
The other puzzle is: why are vampires always so stupid? As if wearing evening dress all day wasn't an undead giveaway, why do they choose to live in old castles which offer so much in the way of ways to defeat a vampire, like easily torn curtains and wall decorations that can readily be twisted into a religious symbol?

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another must-have from Terry Pratchett

    I believe I have all the Discworld books and this is one of my favorites. Besides being the only one almost entirely about vampires, I think this book introduces Agnes Nitt and I love how in all of the Discworld books our favorite characters can come and go as they please without having to read 300 pages of backstory each time. Terry has a way of taking everything from the real world and twisting it around to fit in the Discworld like some hilarious game of satire Tetris.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2010

    one of prachetts very best

    laughed hard - could not put down

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2000

    A good Igor.

    23 novels. I'd say it was about time we got one with vampires in. Terry Pratchett continues to take his comic genius to new levels. The witches are among the best characters, partly because they remind me of my own grandmothers. I kid you not. One thing must be said: In England, the discworld books have much better covers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2000

    Fantastic!

    This was the first book I've ever read by Terry Pratchett, and I loved it! I loved how he fit the humor right in with the actual plot, altogether, great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2000

    It rules!

    I loved this book. It was very funny and since it was the first Pratchett novel to star the vampires, it is worth the read just for that if you like Pratchett.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2000

    Carpe Jugulum:Just a quick bite of brillience

    This was one of Pratchett's most greatly achieved pieces. I throughly enjoyed it and I will reccomend it to anyone who likes his work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2000

    Interesting, but Long-Winded

    I enjoyed the wit in Carpe Jugulum. There were some chapters that seemed a bit long-winded. Overall, I would recommend this book for reading.

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