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Pyramids (Discworld Series #7)

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Overview

It's bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn't a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he's been trained at Ankh-Morpork's famed assassins' school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun.First, there's the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit,...

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Pyramids (Discworld Series #7)

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Overview

It's bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn't a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he's been trained at Ankh-Morpork's famed assassins' school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun.First, there's the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit, betrayal — not to mention aheadstrong handmaiden — at the heart of his realm.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061020650
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/31/2001
  • Series: Discworld Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.88 (d)

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

Nothing but stars, scattered across the blackness as though the Creator had smashed the windscreen of his car and hadn't bothered to stop to sweep up the pieces.

This is the gulf between universes, the chill deeps of space that contain nothing but the occasional random molecule, a few lost comets and...

...but a circle of blackness shifts slightly, the eye reconsiders perspective, and what was apparently the awesome distance of interstellar wossname becomes a world under darkness, its stars the lights of what will charitably be called civilization.

For, as the world tumbles lazily, it is revealed as the Discworld — flat, circular, and carried through space on the back of four elephants who stand on the back of Great A'tuin, the only turtle ever to feature on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, a turtle ten thousand miles long, dusted with the frost of dead comets, meteor-pocked, albedo-eyed. No one knows the reason for all this, but it is probably quantum.

Much that is weird could happen on a world on the back of a turtle like that.

It's happening already.

The stars below are campfires, out in the desert, and the lights of remote villages high in the forested mountains. Towns are smeared nebulae, cities are vast constellations; the great sprawling city of Ankh-Morpork, for example, glows like a couple of colliding galaxies.

But here, away from the great centers of population, where the Circle Sea meets the desert, there is a line of cold blue fire. Flames as chilly as the slopes of Hell roar toward thesky. Ghostly light flickers across the desert.

The pyramids in the ancient valley of the Djel are flaring their power into the night.

The energy streaming up from their paracosmic peaks may, in chapters to come, illuminate many mysteries: why tortoises hate philosophy, why too much religion is bad for goats, and what it is that handmaidens actually do.

It will certainly show what our ancestors would be thinking if they were alive today. People have often speculated about this. Would they approve of modem society, they ask, would they marvel at present-day achievements? And of course this misses a fundamental point. What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"

In the cool of the river valley dawn the high priest Dios opened his eyes. He didn't sleep these days. He couldn't remember when he last slept. Sleep was too close to the other thing and, anyway, he didn't seem to need it. Just lying down was enough-at least, just lying down here. The fatigue poisons dwindled away, like everything else. For a while.

Long enough, anyway.

He swung his legs off the slab in the little chamber With barely a conscious prompting from his brain his right hand grasped the snake-entwined staff of office. He paused to make another mark on the wall, pulled his robe around him and stepped smartly down the sloping passage and out into the sunlight, the words of the Invocation of the New Sun already lining up in his mind. The night was forgotten, the day was ahead. There was much careful advice and guidance to be given, and Dios existed only to serve.

Dios didn't have the oddest bedroom in the world. It was just the oddest bedroom anyone has ever walked out of.

And the sun toiled across the sky.

Many people have wondered why. Some people think a giant dung beetle pushes it. As explanations go it lacks a certain technical edge, and has the added drawback that, as certain circumstances may reveal, it is possibly correct.

It reached sundown without anything particularly unpleasant happening to it,* and its dying rays chanced to shine in through a window in the city of Ankh-Morpork and gleam off a mirror.

It was a full-length mirror. All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to anyone to kill them when you were badly dressed.

Teppic examined himself critically. The outfit had cost him his last penny, and was heavy on the black silk. It whispered as he moved. It was pretty good.

At least the headache was going. It had nearly crippled him all day; he'd been in dread of having to start the run with purple spots in front of his eyes.

He sighed and opened the black box and took out his rings and slipped them on. Another box held a set of knives of Klatchian steel, their blades darkened with lamp black. Various cunning and intricate devices were taken from velvet bags and dropped into pockets. A couple of longbladed throwing tlingas were slipped into their sheaths inside his boots. A thin silk line and folding grapnel were wound around his waist, over the chain-mail shirt. A blow-pipe was attached to its leather thong and dropped down his back under his cloak; Teppic pocketed a slim tin container with an assortment of darts, their tips corked and their stems braille-coded for ease of selection in the dark.

He winced, checked the blade of his rapier and slung the baldric over his right shoulder, to balance the bag of lead slingshot ammunition. As an after-thought he opened his sock drawer and took a pistol crossbow, a flask of oil, a roll of lockpicks and, after some consideration, a punch dagger, a bag of assorted caltraps and a set of brass knuckles.

Teppic picked up his hat and checked its lining for the coil of cheesewire. He placed it on his head at a jaunty angle, took a last satisfied look at himself in the mirror, turned on his heel and, very slowly, fell over.

It was high summer in Ankh-Morpork. In fact it was more than high. It was stinking.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 55 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    All you thought you knew about pyramids twisted for laughs

    Here we go again on Discworld. Pratchett is mixing an hilarious take on a stiff and unchanging tradition with his blend of twisted logic and magic. All the myths about pyramid power are here- sharpening blades, prolonging life, preserving food and then there are a few Prachett made up himself.

    There is a reluctant king, a beautiful slave girl, a "Zorro" figure and lots of laughs. And don't forget the importance of a thirsty camel.

    Finally, as in all Terry Prachett books there is an underlying social commentary. What should we do with our land and other resources? And is eternal life really something to be sought?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 8, 2013

    To anonymos on may first

    I thought the book was wonderful, btw
    Anonymos,
    Not everything has to be funny

    -s.m. peeden

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  • Posted May 1, 2010

    Mr. Pratchett, I love you but...

    Pyramids follows the story of young Prince Teppic as he journeys far from his home which is totally not Egypt to train as an Assassin and back again to become the ruler, savior, and living god of his country. For awhile.

    This isn't Pratchett's best humorous work by a long shot. There were a couple of fantastic one liners (and a bit about Homer/ Virgil/ [Insert bard here] that was brilliant) and a smattering of Pratchett's favorite archetypal characters, but overall the book seemed to have a different goal in mind. Where it lacked in humor, it more than made up as a fantastic meditation on physics, camels, the relations between fathers and sons and hereditary businesses, and people who are unable to let go and end up destroying the thing they love.

    The book has several technical flaws, including a slew of undeveloped characters, a love story that is even less than a tacked on afterthought, and a heavy reliance on stock characters. As a casual read, or in comparison to some entries in his earlier body of work, this book might prove less than satisfying. But taken as a meditation on certain social ills related to myopic focus and workaholism, it's a fantastic brain tickler. Unfortunately, that still doesn't quite bring it up to par in a side by side comparison with the rest of his stuff. I don't think there's a Discworld book out there to which I'd be able to give less than three stars (with the exception of the uniformly awful Monstrous Regiment), but take my rating of 3.5 with a hefty dose of salt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2003

    It bites...

    Another timely classic satire on our world! This time the subject is government and the powers behind them. Teppic has been trained in the highly valued skill of assasination, and he will need every bit of that skill to survive leading his kingdom out of the dark grasp of .... Teppic is part hero part accident and all lovable. But I should warn you, silence will never be the same after you read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2001

    Well, someone has to write a review for this great book!

    This has to be one of my favorite discworld books. It has some great moments, like when the main character, Tepic, is faced with the Sphinx in some other dimenstion. It's hillarious! The classic riddle of the Sphinx is ripped apart, and you see how dum it really is! The plot of this book is wonderful, and once you start it, you wont be able to put it down!

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