The Color of Magic (Discworld Series #1)

The Color of Magic (Discworld Series #1)

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by Terry Pratchett, Victor Gollancz
     
 

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Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent novels are consistent number one bestsellers in England, where they have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett's maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all

Overview

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent novels are consistent number one bestsellers in England, where they have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett's maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins—with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
“Ingenious, brilliant, and hilarious.”
From the Publisher
"One of the best, and one of the funniest English authors alive:
-Independent

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061020711
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Series:
Discworld Series, #1
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

THE COLOR OF MAGIC

Fire roared through the bifurcated city of Ankh-Morpork. Where it licked the Wizards' Quarter it burned blue and green and was even laced with strange sparks of the eighth color, octarine; where its outriders found their way into the vats and oil stores all along Merchant Street it progressed in a series of blazing fountains and explosions; in the streets of the perfume blenders it burned with a sweetness; where it touched bundles of rare and dry herbs in the storerooms of the drugmasters it made men go mad and talk to God.

By now the whole of downtown Morpork was alight, and the richer and worthier citizens of Ankh on the far bank were bravely responding to the situation by feverishly demolishing the bridges. But already the ships in the Morpork docks-laden with grain, cotton and timber, and coated with tar-were blazing merrily and, their moorings burnt to ashes, were breasting the river Ankh on the ebb tide, igniting riverside palaces and bowers as they drifted like drowning fireflies toward the sea. In any case, sparks were riding the breeze and touching down far across the river in hidden gardens and remote rickyards.

The smoke from the merry burning rose miles high, in a wind-sculpted black column that could be seen across the whole of the Discworld.

It was certainly impressive from the cool, dark hilltop a few leagues away, where two figures were watching with considerable interest.

The taller of the pair was chewing on a chicken leg and Mugu

"Just go away, will you?" said the rider. "I just haven't got time for you, do you understand?"

He looked around and added: "That goes for your shadow-lovingfleabag partner, too, wherever he's hiding."

The Weasel stepped up to the horse and peered at the disheveled figure.

"Why, it's Rincewind the wizard, isn't it?" he said in tones of delight, meanwhile filing the wizard's description of him in his memory for leisurely vengeance. "I thought I recognized the voice."

Bravd spat and sheathed his sword. It was seldom worth tangling with wizards, they so rarely had any treasure worth speaking of.

"He talks pretty big for a gutter wizard," he muttered.

"You don't understand at all," said the wizard wearily. "I'm so scared of you my spine has turned to jelly, it's just that I'm suffering from an overdose of terror right now. I mean, when I've got over that then I'll have time to be decently frightened of you."

The Weasel pointed toward the burning city.

"You've been through that?" he asked.

The wizard rubbed a red-raw hand across his eyes. "I was there when it started. See him? Back there?" He pointed back down the road to where his traveling companion was leaning on a sword that was only marginally shorter than the average man. If it wasn't for the air of wary intelligence about him it might have been supposed that he was a barbarian from the Hubland wastes.

His partner was much shorter and wrapped from head to toe in a brown cloak. Later, when he has occasion to move, it will be seen that he moves lightly, catlike.

The two had barely exchanged a word in the last twenty minutes except for a short and inconclusive argument as to whether a particularly powerful explosion had been the oil bond store or the workshop of Kerible the Enchanter. Money hinged on the fact.

Now the big man finished gnawing at the bone and tossed it into the grass, smiling ruefully.

"There go all those little alleyways," he said. "I liked them."

"All the treasure houses," said the small man. He added thoughtfully, "Do gems bum? I wonder. 'Tis said they're kin to coal."

"All the gold, melting and running down the gutters," said the big one, ignoring him. "And all the wine, boiling in the barrels."

"There were rats," said his brown companion.

"Rats, I'll grant you."

"It was no place to be in high summer."

"That, too. One can't help feeling, though, a-well, a momentary-"

He trailed off, then brightened. "We owed old Fredor at the Crimson Leech eight silver pieces," he added. The little man nodded.

They were silent for a while as a whole new series of explosions carved a red line across a hitherto dark section of the greatest city in the world. Then the big man stirred.

"Weasel?"

"Yes?"

"I wonder who started it."

The small swordsman known as the Weasel said nothing. He was watching the road in the ruddy light. Few had come that way since the Deosil Gate had been one of the first to collapse in a shower of white-hot embers.

But two were coming up it now. The Weasel's eyes, always at their sharpest in gloom and half-light, made out the shapes of two mounted men and some sort of low beast behind them. Doubtless a rich merchant escaping with as much treasure as he could lay frantic hands on. The Weasel said as much to his companion, who sighed.

"The status of footpad ill suits us," said the barbarian, "but, as you say, times are hard and there are no soft beds tonight. "

He shifted his grip on his sword and, as the leading rider drew near, stepped out onto the road with a hand held up and his face set in a grin nicely calculated to reassure yet threaten.

"Your pardon, sit" he began.

The rider reined in his horse and drew back his hood. The big man looked into a face blotched with superficial burns and punctuated by tufts of singed beard. Even the eyebrows had gone.

"Bugger off," said the face. "You're Bravd the Hublander,* aren't you?"

Bravd became aware that he had fumbled the initiative.

"Just go away, will you?" said the rider. "I just haven't got time for you, do you understand?"

He looked around and added: "That goes for your shadow-loving fleabag partner, too, wherever he's hiding."

The Weasel stepped up to the horse and peered at the disheveled figure.

"Why, it's Rincewind the wizard, isn't it?" he said in tones of delight, meanwhile filing the wizard's description of him in his memory for leisurely vengeance. "I thought I recognized the voice."

Bravd spat and sheathed his sword. It was seldom worth tangling with wizards, they so rarely had any treasure worth speaking of.

"He talks pretty big for a gutter wizard," he muttered.

"You don't understand at all," said the wizard wearily. "I'm so scared of you my spine has turned to jelly, it's just that I'm suffering from an overdose of terror right now. I mean, when I've got over that then I'll have time to be decently frightened of you."

The Weasel pointed toward the burning city…

 

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett's novels have sold more than eighty-five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II made Pratchett a knight in recognition of his "services to literature." Sir Terry lives in England with his wife.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Date of Birth:
April 28, 1948
Place of Birth:
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Education:
Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

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The Color of Magic (Discworld Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 227 reviews.
Kasia_S More than 1 year ago
I've been collecting the Discworld books in no particular order for a few years now, mostly because my father always had an affinity for them and recommended them as hilarious and entertaining at the same time. Now that I finally got to read the first in the series I can see what the fuss is all about! There is plenty of humor, dry wit and magic, extremely complex scientific and fantastic themes and myriad of characters brighter than all the rainbows and flowers in the world combined. My head was spinning after few pages but somehow I couldn't stop reading; this incredible journey that Pratchett invites the reader on takes some time to get adjusted to, but once I let my mind go and read it slow, it all melted into a fantasy like no other. I can't really imagine kids reading it unless they are prodigies at understanding language because their little brains might pop from the amount of information given; I know mine was taken for a spin a few times!

So here we are, visiting a world that exists as a flat disc with water walling over the edges, carried by four giant elephants standing on an ancient turtle, covered in meteor holes and all sorts of space debris, swimming who knows where....In one of it's cities, Ankh-Morpork , a failed wizard by the name of Rincewind comes across Twoflower, a traveling little man with magical luggage, carved out of rare sapient pear tree that follows him everywhere on its tiny feet. Yes walking luggage, with teeth too, guarding his master and providing lots of entertainment through out the story. The two men are the only ones in the whole city who speak the same language and thus their zany adventures start. Hastily hired as a guide the magician, who sucks at magic but it awfully funny and likable, gets into all sorts of troubles with trolls, dragons, islands with lunatics chased by Death itself without trying to loose poor Twoflower who thinks the whole adventure as a great sight seeing trip, they escape all sorts of scenarios that take them form the murkiest depths of underwater caves into far away galaxies in deep space.

Seems like a lot and it is, but the novel takes all sorts of turns ad twists and one never knows what awaits our heroes on the next page. When Gods play magic dice and Fate and Death are in talks of getting them, our characters have a lot at stake and loosing such charming little fellows would certainly be horrible so the reader is constantly kept on a tight leash as the beauty of the story and its intricate pattern morphs into more fantastic scenarios. I can't even clearly say what this book is about other than being simply fantastic, albeit very complex. Folklore, mythology, fairy tales, comedy and drama, it's all here exquisitely woven for those who dare.

- Kasia S.
MatthewHooban More than 1 year ago
The book is fantastic, but there is a 10-word omission on page 130 of the file that may lead to some confusion. So while I recommend the book, I don't recommend buying it until Barnes & Noble or the publisher fixes the error.
BrettJamen More than 1 year ago
The Color of Magic is to Fantasy novels what The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is to Science Fiction. If you are too serious about either genre, you will not enjoy it. If, by chance, you enjoy the absurd, then this is the book for you.
kah9932 More than 1 year ago
The first book that I had ever read by Terry Pratchett was Hogfather and I now read it on Winter solstice every year. It was from that book that I wanted to read the first book of the Disc World series, which led me on the hunt for this book. I love the characters of Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind. But it is the chest that steals the show so to speak. Although there are only a couple of the Disc World books that feature the adventures of Twoflower and Rincewind I loved every one and will miss the characters enough to want to re-read the books. With that said although there are several books in the series the books can be read in any order. I choose to read all of the books about Twoflower and Rincewind and then all of the books about Death and Susan. If you enjoy British humor and like to poke fun at reality then Terry Pratchett is the author for you and ¿The color of magic¿ is a good place to start.
teh_bruce More than 1 year ago
Although Pratchett's style at this point was still largely undeveloped, and he seems in this book to cling perhaps too tightly to the coattails of Douglas Adams (Rincewind the wizard is still nearly a clone of poor, bungling Arthur Dent), this is still a hilarious book filled with great little bits of satire, magic,. and adventure. Perhaps it's no longer the best intro to the Discworld and its inhabitants, as the tone of the stories changed after Pratchett's initial works, but it's still a great little romp. You'll grin through most of it, and laugh out loud frequently. This is without a doubt one of the best bathtub reading books ever written. Enjoy it--that's the point!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The luggage is the best part of this book! I can't believe how he turned something so ordinary in to something so hilarious! Next time I buy luggage, I hope I can find a piece half as entertaining. I picked up this book thinking it was something easy to read, I am now officially addicted! I'm half way through the series now, and am looking forward to going back and reading them all again! These are a must read for anyone who believes there is a world out there parallel to us, it will make believers of non believers, it will turn non readers in to avid bookworms! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not a waste of time!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this series about 5 times and never get tired of it. If you enjoy funny and witty you will enjoy it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Also check out the art of disc world, there are really neat character pictures.
Maena More than 1 year ago
loved this book. It's cute, whimsical and definitely worth reading. My only advise is buy the paperback version, it's cheaper than the electronic copy which imho shouldn't be more as it's actually saving them the cost of paper, and production.
Vedamoo More than 1 year ago
A brilliant and humorous tale in a fantasy setting that goes beyond anything that any other author has yet produced. Terry Pratchett's insightful and intelligent humor will keep any mind entranced in this most obscure world. This is a great read and will not get much time on your shelf due to rereading or lending it to someone who has yet to experience this amazing author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. It is a great introduction to the discworld series.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
Simply wonderful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many puns, I look forward to reading this again to see what I missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is abrilliant start to a brilliant series. Be warned that pratchett's brain disease made everthing after Unseen Academicals read like fan fiction.
ryanseanoreilly More than 1 year ago
A right good romp on the Disc, full of madcap adventure and plenty of wonderment (plus a dash of introspection for good measure)! This the first book of Pratchett’s long-running Discworld series, and the first gateway into all things Disc (yet it is not the only entry point). The story is told through four novelette-sized vignettes that tie together enough to justify compilation here. The story is told through the eyes of the much-harried wizard, Rincewind, who has been expelled from the wizarding school known as the Unseen University due to his rather inconvenient ability of not being able to cast any spells (almost). Rincewind makes fast friends with a local ‘tourist’ named Twoflower (the first tourist in fact). The wizard is primarily concerned with his new friend’s inexhaustible supply of precious metals due to a quirk in the exchange rates (setting a nice tone of absurdity to compliment Pratchett’s steady, dry and brilliant wit). The local Patrician charges Rincewind with the seemingly impossible task of keeping Twoflower alive while he tours about the place (no need to start an international incident by letting the locals pop off paying tourists). The story takes on the momentum of a roly poly dodge of misadventures as the twosome seem to simply fall in and out of trouble. The action is often driven by Twoflower’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed view of the world as he stumbles along taking in all the sights. The tourist is too awed at each every new experience to notice when any real danger is abound. Rincewind serves as a polarizing balance to this as he continually foretells their certain doom with biting sarcasm. That said, Rincewind also manages to develop a special place in his heart for Twoflower’s unique and almost child-like love of new experiences which helps to fully flesh the characters out. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the luggage. Every tourist must carry their very own piece of gawdy and garish luggage. Twoflower is no different. However, we learn very early on that this particular piece of travelware is very unique—being of the magical quality. The luggage itself becomes a character unto itself and is even granted a sort of point-of-view status throughout the book as it scurries on after its meandering owner like an extremely loyal big dog. I’ll say no more, except that the luggage really was my favorite part of the book. Through various interactions with other players on the Disc (including the gods themselves), we learn more and more about Rincewind and Twoflower. From sword-slashing barbarians to academic wizards; even fabled dragons and monsters abound the place. Pratchett’s genius as he makes us reconsider our own reality through the unique silliness floundering about on Discworld. Classic fans of the fantasy genre will note some specific references that might particularly tickle their funny bones, but even neophyte priests will enjoy the universally relatable humor. I mean come on? Twoflower is an insurance salesman on holiday amongst: trolls, dragons, pirates, slavers, wizards, heroes, and multi-tentacled beasts of old. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?! Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: "No Deodorant In Outer Space". The podcast is available on iTunes, YouTube or our website.
mtsilence More than 1 year ago
Take a walk in Discworld, enjoy the irreverent musings of terry Pratchett and come to love the blending of Mark twain, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, all from the masterful pen. Once you have started in Discworld you will not stop, because it calls you back with humor and wit, and insightful thoughts.
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Fun to read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the death if this author we lose one if the all time greats. If you have never read his Discworld books now is a great time to start. I own all of them and there is not a bad one in the bunch.
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