Equal Rites (Discworld Series #3)

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Overview

The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check on the new-born baby's sex...
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Equal Rites (Discworld Series #3)

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Overview

The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check on the new-born baby's sex...
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 • The first seven Discworld titles are being reissued with stunning new covers, publication coincides with 21 years of Discworld anniversary and the hardback publication of The Celebrated Discworld Almanak and Going Postal.

 • "If you are unfamiliar with Pratchett's unique blend of philosophical badinage, you are on the threshold of a mind-expanding opportunity." —Financial Times

 • "Persistently amusing, good-hearted and shrewd." —The Sunday Times

 • "Pratchett keeps getting better and better... It's hard to think of any humorist writing in Britain today who can match him." —Time Out

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451157041
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/28/1988
  • Series: Discworld Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (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

Chapter One



This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesh't pretend to answer all or any of these questions.

It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author's control. They might.

However, it is primarily a story about a world. Here it comes now. Watch closely, the special effects are quite expensive.

A bass note sounds. It is a deep, vibrating chord that hints that the brass section may break in at any moment with a fanfare for the cosmos, because the scene is the blackness of deep space with a few stars glittering like the dandruff on the shoulders of God.

Then it comes into view overhead, bigger than the biggest, most unpleasantly armed starcruiser in the imagination of a three-ring filmmaker: a turtle, ten thousand miles long. It is Great A'Tuin, one of the rare astrochelonians from a universe where things are less as they are and more like people imagine them to be, and it carries on its meteorpocked shell four giant elephants who bear on their enormous shoulders the great round wheel of the Discworld.

As the viewpoint swings around, the whole of the world can be seen by the light of its tiny orbiting sun. There are continents, archipelagos, seas, deserts, mountain ranges and even a tiny central ice cap. The inhabitants of this place, it is obvious, won't have any truck with global theories. Their world, bounded by anencircling ocean that falls forever into space in one long waterfall, is as round and flat as a geological pizza, although without the anchovies.

A world like that, which exists only because the gods enjoy a joke, must be a place where magic can survive. And sex too, of course.

He came walking through the thunderstorm and you could tell he was a wizard, partly because of the long cloak and carven staff but mainly because the raindrops were stopping several feet from his head, and steaming.

It was good thunderstorm country, up here in the Ramtop Mountains, a country of jagged peaks, dense forests and little river valleys so deep the daylight had no sooner reached the bottom than it was time to leave again. Ragged wisps of cloud clung to the lesser peaks below the mountain trail along which the wizard slithered and slid. A few slot-eyed goats watched him with mild interest. It doesn't take a lot to Interest goats.

Sometimes he would stop and throw his heavy staff into the air. It always came down pointing the same way and the wizard would sigh, pick it up, and continue his squelchy progress.

The storm walked around the hills on legs of lightning, shouting and grumbling.

The wizard disappeared around the bend in the track and the goats went back to their damp grazing.

Until something else caused them to look up. They stiffened, their eyes widening, their nostrils flaring.

This was strange, because there was nothing on the path. But the goats still watched it pass by until it was out of sight.

There was a village tucked in a narrow valley between steep woods. It wasn't a large village, and wouldn't have shown up on a map of the mountains. It barely showed up on a map of the village.

It was, in fact, one of those places that exist merely so that people can have come from them. The universe is littered with them: hidden villages, windswept little towns under wide sides, isolated cabins on chilly mountains, whose only mark on history is to be the incredibly ordinary place where something extraordinary started to happen. Often there is no more than a little plaque to reveal that, against all gynecological probability someone very famous was born halfway up a wall.

Mist curled between the houses as the wizard crossed a narrow bridge over the swollen stream and made his way to the village smithy, although the two facts had nothing to do with one another. The mist would have curled anyway: it was experienced mist and had got curling down to a fine art.

The smithy was fairly crowded, of course. A smithy is one place where you can depend on finding a good fire and someone to talk to. Several villagers were lounging in the warm shadows but, as the wizard approached, they sat up expectantly and tried to look intelligent, generally with indifferent success.

The smith didn't feel the need to be quite so subservient.

He nodded at the wizard, but it was a greeting between equals, or at least between equals as far as the smith was concerned. After all, any halfway competent blacksmith has more than a nodding acquaintance with magic, or at least likes to think he has.

The wizard bowed. A white cat that had been sleeping by the furnace woke up and watched him carefully.

"What is the name of this place, sir?" said the wizard.

The blacksmith shrugged.

"Bad Ass," he said.

"Bad — ?"

"Ass," repeated the blacksmith, his tone defying anyone to make something of it.

The wizard considered this.

"A name with a story behind it," he said at last, "which were circumstances otherwise I would be pleased to hear. But I would like to speak to you, smith, about your son."

"Which one?" said the smith, and the hangers-on sniggered. The wizard smiled.

"You have seven sons, do you not? And you yourself were an eighth son?"

The smith's face stiffened. He turned to the other villagers.

"All right, the rain's stopping," he said. "Piss off, the lot of you. Me and — " he looked at the wizard with raised eyebrows.

"Drum Billet," said the wizard.

"Me and Mr. Billet have things to talk about." He waved his hammer vaguely and, one after another, craning over their shoulders in case the wizard did anything interesting, the audience departed.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 92 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(49)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 92 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 19, 2011

    A light read for the fanciful

    Terry Pratchett is once again in rare form in "Equal Rights." All of his Discworld novels read well independent of each other, but this is a good place to start if you haven't read the series. The main character is spirited and appealing to most readers, regardless of age.

    What this book is not is completely immersive. Pratchett has a very strong narrative voice and it sometimes overpowers the POV (point of view) characters or draws you out of the action by reminding you of the real world. However, this is not necessarily a drawback because Pratchett is, as always, charming and witty.

    The book is short and once you get settled into a good reading clip you'll be done before you know it (for a serious reader this is a one-nighter). Before you finish, though, you will experience some truly unique fiction that unapologetically pays no heed to any frumpish topics, such as Newtonian physics or attempting to keep the veil of reality alive.

    I give it three stars out of five because I am a fan of immersive fiction and I am obscenely picky. If you're looking for immersive fiction pick up "The Dresden Files" or "The Name of the Wind" or "Harry Potter" or several others. If you're looking for a fun read without pretension read this and its sequels.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Start your Discworld Adventures Here

    If you are intrigued by Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, but don't know where to start; I would start with this one. When I read it the first time, I began waiting impatiently for the next and the next and the next book. In this book we are introduced to the perceived difference between male and female magic, several important settings, and some characters and ideas that flow through all the books. Besides, it is just TOO much fun to miss and doesn't require any background knowledge of Discworld to love every minute of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great!

    It's a good read just by itself, nice and clean storyline, not too cluttered with extra characters and tangents. I love the thinly veiled commentary on traditional gender roles! Pratchett writes such realistic female characters, I have met a few Granny Weatherwaxes in my time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    A funny, perceptive book

    I enjoyed this book very much and periodically reread it. I've given it as a gift and recommend it to friends -- as well as buyers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Andwe to question

    LGBTQA stands for Lesbian Gay Bi(sexual) Trans(gender) Queer Asexual. A IS NOT FOR ALLIES I S2G.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Thank you!

    I really appreciate it! Also, I'm not against you guys being who you are. Just to clarify!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Jordan

    *Just stares at him.* You're joking. I haven't seen her in forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Hello?

    Here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Funny, witty

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    one of my favorite discworld books so far...

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    Amazing

    Perfect. Great story and characters the readers care about. So great and so well written. Just another job well done by terry pratchett

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Definitely Recommend!

    As with ALL Pratchett's works, goes way above & beyond the scope of reality. Fantastic!!

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Another win for Discworld!!

    Another highly entertaining Discworld novel. Terry Pratchett does not disappoint. The books are very funny, engaging and captivating. When looking for a fun read I always turn to Terry Pratchett.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    a 17 yaer old reader from othello WA

    a fun read with grat characters

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2003

    DISCWORLD IS AMAZING

    This was my thirteenth discworld novel and I loved it. I enjoy all of Terry Pratchett's books because hes histerical!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2001

    Slow moving ...

    I have read five of Terry Pratchett's books including this one. I absolutely love the other four, but this one was missing something. While it has its high points, it was an overwhelming bummer. It was slow passed, few (if any) unexpected turns, and few humorous spots (in the relative sense of the other four books).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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