Lords and Ladies (Discworld Series #14)

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Overview

Ever wonder what those magic circles of stones in the English countryside are for? They're to keep the elves out. Elves are nasty (besides being brutish and short). They're vicious. They love cruelty. Plus, to make things worse, elves have got It. Glamour. Style. Humans find elves absolutely irresistible. They actually think elves are cute! So when an infestation of Faerie Trash invades the Kingdom of Lancre, upsetting the Royal Wedding Plans (not to mention the Annual Morris Dance), the ordinary people of Lancre...
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2000 Trade paperback First edition. New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 314 p. Discworld Novels (Paperback). Audience: General/trade.

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Lords and Ladies (Discworld Series #14)

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Overview

Ever wonder what those magic circles of stones in the English countryside are for? They're to keep the elves out. Elves are nasty (besides being brutish and short). They're vicious. They love cruelty. Plus, to make things worse, elves have got It. Glamour. Style. Humans find elves absolutely irresistible. They actually think elves are cute! So when an infestation of Faerie Trash invades the Kingdom of Lancre, upsetting the Royal Wedding Plans (not to mention the Annual Morris Dance), the ordinary people of Lancre are helpless. It's up to the witches, led by Granny Weatherwax, to deal with the vicious little bastards. Which is all right with Granny. She thinks elves are cute, too. And that makes them even more fun to kill.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061092169
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Series: Discworld Series, #14
  • Pages: 320

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

Now read on ...

When does it start?

There are very few starts. Oh, some things seem to be beginnings. The curtain goes up, the first pawn moves, the first shot is fired*—but that's not the start. The play, the game, the war is just a little window on a ribbon of events that may extend back thousands of years. The point is, there's always something before. It's always a case of Now Read On.

Much human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before.

The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus: In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.

Other theories about the ultimate start involve gods creating the universe out of the ribs, entrails, and testicles of their father. There are quite a lot of these. They are interesting, not for what they tell you about cosmology, but for what they say about people. Hey, kids, which part do you think they made your town out of?

But this story starts on the Discworld, which travels through space on the back of four giant elephants which stand on the shell of an enormous turtle and is not made of any bits of anyone's bodies.

But when to begin?

Thousands of years ago? When a great hot cascade of stones came screaming out of the sky, gouged a hole out of Copperhead Mountain, and flattened the forest for ten miles around?

The dwarfs dug them up, because they were made of a kind of iron, and dwarfs, contrary to general opinion, love iron more than gold. It's just that although there's more iron than gold it's harder to sing songs about. Dwarfs love iron.

And that's what the stones contained. The love of iron. A love so strong that it drew all ironthings to itself. The three dwarfs who found the first of the rocks only got free by struggling out of their chain-mail trousers.

Many worlds are iron, at the core. But the Discworld is as coreless as a pancake.

On the Disc, if you enchant a needle it will point to the Hub, where the magical field is strongest. It's simple.

Elsewhere, on worlds designed with less imagination, the needle turns because of the love of iron.

At the time, the dwarfs and the humans had a very pressing need for the love of iron.

And now, spool time forward for thousands of years to a point fifty years or more before the ever-moving now, to a hillside and a young woman, running. Not running away from something, exactly, or precisely running toward anything, but running just fast enough to keep ahead of a young man although, of course, not so far ahead that he'll give up. Out from the trees and into the rushy valley where, on a slight rise in the ground, are the stones.

They're about man-height, and barely thicker than a fat man.

And somehow they don't seem worth it. If there's a stone circle you mustn't go near, the imagination suggests, then there should be big brooding trilithons and ancient attar stones screaming with the dark memory of blood-soaked sacrifice. Not these dull stubby lumps.

It will turn out that she was running a bit too fast this time, and in fact the young man in laughing pursuit will get lost and fed up and will eventually wander off back to the town alone. She does not, at this point, know this, but stands absentmindedly adjusting the flowers twined in her hair. It's been that kind of afternoon.

She knows about the stones. No one ever gets told about the stones. And no one is ever told not to go there, because those who refrain from talking about the stones also know how powerful is the attraction of prohibition. It's just that going to the stones is not ... what we do. Especially if we're nice girls.

But what we have here is not a nice girl, as generally understood. For one thing, she's not beautiful. There's a

certain set to the jaw and arch to the nose that might, with a following wind and in the right light, be called handsome by a good-natured liar. Also, there's a certain glint in her eye generally possessed by those people who have found that they are more intelligent than most people around them but who haven't yet teamed that one of the most intelligent things they can do is prevent said people ever finding this out. Along with the nose, this gives her a piercing expression which is extremely disconcerting. It's not a face you can talk to. Open your mouth and you're suddenly the focus of a penetrating stare which declares: what you're about to say had better be interesting.

Now the eight little stones on their little hill are being subjected to the same penetrating gaze.

Hmm.

And then she approaches, cautiously. It's not the caution of a rabbit about to run. It's closer to the way a hunter moves.

She puts her hands on her hips, such as they are.

There's a skylark in the hot summer sky. Apart from that, there's no sound. Down in the little valley, and higher in the hills, grasshoppers are sizzling and bees are buzzing and the grass is alive with micro-noise. But it's always quiet around the stones.

"I'm here," she says. "Show me."

A figure of a dark-haired woman in a red dress appears inside the circle. The circle is wide enough to throw a stone across, but somehow the figure manages to approach from a great distance.

Other people would have run away. But the girl doesn't, and the woman in the circle is immediately interested.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 52 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Nature restricts covens to three witches

    No Discworld situation requires more than three, but more probably if you put more in a coven only three survive. Fortunately, no one would suggest a fourth for Granny and Nanny, though Nanny has polished off many a fifth. This story is one of those proofs that all you need are three, well sort of.
    Terry Pratchett takes the tack that perhaps we're enamored by the beauty of elves, but in fact they only want to toy with us painfully and ultimately destroy us. There is no evidence his elves are like politicians, i.e. so cute you want to hug them, but you'd be better off hanging them. Oh wait, perhaps this book is the proof, or not. Read it and see.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    Weehoo!!!

    This was very entertaining and lively, kept you moving at a brisk pace with no slow spots. It had a few surprising twists, including one I'de never seen in a fantasy book. I won't say any more or I'll give it away! Several humerous moments, as well as thrilling ones!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2000

    Excellent and witty; my favorite!

    I've read 7 of Terry Pratchett's marvelous Discworld novels, and this is my favorite so far. Terry Pratchett has a real way with fantasy; he can mix passages of genius humor with messages of substance. This book is a particularly good example of how these novels can have you roaring with laughter one moment, and doing some real introspection the next. The man is amazing, the book is amazing. If you can, read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The secrets of Disc world revealed

    Okay maybe not but how about another delightful romp in the land of Magic and Mayhem? This is one of those adventures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    love it

    Fun and entertaining, Patchett, gives the reader a mental vacation we have been waiting for!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    Lovw Love!

    Terry Pratchett is a literary genius!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    ,

    Because only Terry Pratchett can write something like this and get away with it. He's an amazing author with a great sense of humor! And now that he's gone senile, the latest books are even better than before!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2002

    Won't you come out and play with us?

    As a switchboard operator who finds boredom lurking around every corner, I find Pratchett to be a lifesaver! Fans of the witches, Granny Weatherwax in particular (in this book, she does it with bees), are in for a treat here. <i>Lords and Ladies</i> is, from where I sit in the dark recesses of the doldrums, Pratchett's wittiest, most entertaining novel. Just when I thought I'd seen it all, I was introduced to Casanunda, the dwarf whose business card bills him as the 'world's second-greatest lover.' ... Probably he's not the greatest on account of he has to carry a stepladder with him for <i>everything</i>.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2000

    Elves are actually evil! I knew it!

    I really enjoyed 'Lords and Ladies'. I love Discworld, too. I played the first Discworld game (not 'Colour of Magic', but 'Discworld'). However, I've never read the books at that time, so the game was my first experience. I liked this book, because it's in a different point of veiw. Elves are evil! Cool! My favorite charracters is: Granny Weatherwax (because she reminds me of my mom.), Mustrum Ridcully ('Cause he reminds me of Dad.), Magrat ('Cause she reminds me of my sister.), the Librarian (r.m.o. my brother.), and Bursar (r.m.o. me!!). So I'd recommend that you don't attempt to read Discworld books until you read the first book, 'Colour of Magic'. Terry, you're one heck of a writer!

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