Maskerade (Discworld Series #18) [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Ghost in the bone-white mask who haunts theAnkh-Morpork Opera House was always considered a benign presence -- some would even say lucky -- until he started killing people. The sudden rash of bizarre backstage deaths now threatens to mar the operatic debut of country girl Perdita X. (nee Agnes) Nitt, she of the ample body and ampler voice.

Perdita's expected to hide in the chorus and sing arias out loud while a more petitely presentable soprano mouths the notes. But at least...

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Maskerade (Discworld Series #18)

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Overview

The Ghost in the bone-white mask who haunts theAnkh-Morpork Opera House was always considered a benign presence -- some would even say lucky -- until he started killing people. The sudden rash of bizarre backstage deaths now threatens to mar the operatic debut of country girl Perdita X. (nee Agnes) Nitt, she of the ample body and ampler voice.

Perdita's expected to hide in the chorus and sing arias out loud while a more petitely presentable soprano mouths the notes. But at least it's an escape from scheming Nanny Ogg and old Granny Weatherwax back home, who want her to join their witchy ranks.

Once Granny sets her mind on something, however, it's difficult -- and often hazardous -- to dissuade her. And no opera-prowling phantom fiend is going to keep a pair of determined hags down on the farm after they've seen Ankh-Morpork.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
I often wonder what Terry Pratchett's version of a bad book is; it's one of those pleasant, futile imaginative exercises as I don't actually think he can write one. In Maskerade, he's in fine form as Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax attempt to add a third witch to their coven. Well, actually, they do a lot more than that, being witches, and they do it in inimitable style (which is probably a good thing). Unfortunately, they're not quite in their element; they're at the Opera House. The haunted Opera House. Anyone who's familiar with The Phantom of the Opera and who retains a sense of humour about it will get a certain added amusement out of the bit players: a vapid young blond named Christine who faints at convenient times, a put-upon theatre owner who isn't informed of the history of the building itself, and, well, a Ghost. Murder, mayhem, and more improbable plot twists than any rational person could possible believe: Grand Opera.
—Michelle West
Piers Anthony
Pratchett is fast, funny, and going places. Try him!
Oxford Times
Simply the best humorous writer of the twentieth century.
New York Review of Science Fiction
The funniest parodist working in the field today, period.
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
Consistently, inventively mad . . . wild and wonderful!
White Dwarf
The hottest writer in fantasy today.
VOYA - Meg Wilson
Clever puns, plot twists, and witty sarcasm make reading Maskerade an enjoyable jaunt into the fantasy world. Pratchett has created a likeable cast of characters and a believable setting, which help move the story along at a rapid pace. His style is funny and intelligent, and will appeal to many adult and young adult fantasy readers. In "yet another novel of Discworld" (from the cover), young Agnes Nitt has decided to make her mark in the world of Opera in the big city. Although she is enormously overweight, she has been blessed, or cursed, with a wonderful personality, great hair, and an astounding singing voice. Her good sense also makes her a definite anomaly in the looney world of the Ankh Morpork Opera house, where the resident Ghost demands full observance of all superstitions, makes demands regarding the casting of Operas, and occasionally leaves behind the corpses of those who dare cross him. To further complicate her life, Agnes believes, two witches from her home town turn up and do their best to end her career in the opera by recruiting Agnes into their coven. In the end, the good witches prevail and the mystery of the Opera House Ghost is solved. Nothing about Maskerade makes it an intrinsically YA novel, though many YAs would enjoy it thoroughly. It should be included in any collection where fantasy readers appreciate a well-written story and a good laugh. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
From the Publisher
 • "Pratchett is as funny as Wodehouse and as witty as Waugh." —Independent

 • "The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody... who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences." —New York Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061809293
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Discworld Series , #18
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 46,377
  • File size: 312 KB

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

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.

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

The wind howled.The storm crackled on the mountains.Lightning prodded the crags like an old man trying to get an elusive blackberry pip out of his false teeth.

Among the hissing furze bushes a fire blazed, the flames driven this way and that by the gusts.

An eldritch voice shrieked: "When shall we...two...meet again?"

Thunder rolled.

A rather more ordinary voice said: "What'd you go and shout that for? You made me drop my toast in the fire."

Nanny Ogg sat down again.

"Sorry, Esme.I was just doing it for...you know...old time's sake...Doesn't roll off the tongue, though."

"I'd just got it nice and brown, too."

"Sorry."

"Anyway, you didn't have to shout."

"Sorry."

"I mean, I ain't deaf.You could've just asked me in a normal voice.And I'd have said, 'Next Wednesday.'"

"Sorry, Esme."

"Just you cut me another slice."

Nanny Ogg nodded, and turned her head."Magrat, cut Granny ano...oh.Mind wandering there for a minute.I'll do it myself, shall I?"

"Hah!" said Granny Weatherwax, staring into the fire.

There was no sound for a while but the roar of the wind and the sound of Nanny Ogg cutting bread, which she did with about as much efficiency as a man trying to chainsaw a mattress.

"I thought it'd cheer you up, coming up here," she said after a while.

"Really." It wasn't a question.

"Take you out of yourself, sort of thing..." Nanny went on, watching her friend carefully.

"Mm?" said Granny, still staring moodily at the fire.

Oh dear, thought Nanny.I shouldn't've said that.

The point was...well, the pointwas that Nanny Ogg was worried.Very worried.She wasn't at all sure that her friend wasn't well going well, sort of...in a manner of speaking...well...black...

She knew it happened, with the really powerful ones.And Granny Weatherwax was pretty damn powerful.She was probably an even more accomplished witch now than the infamous Black Aliss, and everyone knew what had happened to her at the finish.Pushed into her own stove by a couple of kids, and everyone said it was a damn good thing, even if it took a whole week to clean the oven.

But Aliss, up until that terrible day, had terrorized the Ramtops.She'd become so good at magic that there wasn't room in her head for anything else.

They said weapons couldn't pierce her.Swords bounced off her skin.They said you could hear her mad laughter a mile off, and of course, while mad laughter was always part of a witch's stock-in-trade in necessary circumstances, this was insane mad laughter, the worst kind.And she turned people into gingerbread and had a house made of frogs.It had been very nasty, toward the end.It always was, when a witch went bad.

Sometimes, of course, they didn't go bad.They just went...somewhere.

Granny's intellect needed something to do.She did not take kindly to boredom.She'd take to her bed instead and send her mind out Borrowing, inside the head of some forest creature, listening with its ears, seeing with its eyes.That was all very well for general purposes, but she was too good at it.She could stay away longer than anyone Nanny Ogg had ever heard of.

One day, almost certainly, she wouldn't bother to come back...and this was the worst time of the year, with the geese honking and rushing across the sky every night, and the autumn air crisp and inviting.There was something terribly tempting about that.

Nanny Ogg reckoned she knew what the cause of the problem was.

She coughed.

"Saw Magrat the other day," she ventured, looking sidelong at Granny.

There was no reaction.

"She's looking well.Queening suits her."

"Hmm?"

Nanny groaned inwardly.If Granny couldn't even be bothered to make a nasty remark, then she was really missing Magrat.

Nanny Ogg had never believed it at the start, but Magrat Garlick, wet as a sponge though she was half the time, had been dead right about one thing.

Three was a natural number for witches.

And they'd lost one.Well, not lost, exactly.Magrat was queen now, and queens were hard to mislay.But...that meant that there were only two of them instead of three.

When you had three, you had one to run around getting people to make up when there'd been a row.Magrat had been good for that.Without Magrat, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax got on one another's nerves.With her, all three had been able to get on the nerves of absolutely everyone else in the whole world, which had been a lot more fun.

And there was no having Magrat back...at least, to be precise about it, there was no having Magrat back yet.

Because, while three was a good number for witches...it had to be the right sort of three.The right sort of...types.

Nanny Ogg found herself embarrassed even to think about this, and this was unusual because embarrassment normally came as naturally to Nanny as altruism comes to a cat.

As a witch, she naturally didn't believe in any occult nonsense of any sort.But there were one or two truths down below the bedrock of the soul which had to be faced, and right in among them was this business of, well, of the maiden, the mother and the...other one.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000

    Not Bad

    Not one of the best BUT i did like it alot.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 1999

    Terry Pratchett Does it Again!

    A super book with loads of puns, gags and head exploding humour. Great fun for all. Well done Mr. Pratchett, it just gets better and better!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 13, 2003

    It was one of the best twisted versions of The Phantom of the Opera that I have ever read

    I like Phantom of the Opera as a rule, and I was somewhat wary about picking this one up because I don't really like people messing with Phantom of the Opera, but after I read it, I thought 'Whoa! This is SO good!' Since then, I have purchased more of Terry's novels and am trying to read them.

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