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Wings (Bromeliad Trilogy Series #3)

Wings (Bromeliad Trilogy Series #3)

4.8 9
by Terry Pratchett

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In a world whose seasons are defined by Christmas sales and Spring Fashions, hundreds of tiny nomes live in the corners and crannies of a human-run department store. They have made their homes beneath the floorboards for generations and no longer remember—or even believe in—life beyond the Store walls.

Until the day a small band of nomes arrives


In a world whose seasons are defined by Christmas sales and Spring Fashions, hundreds of tiny nomes live in the corners and crannies of a human-run department store. They have made their homes beneath the floorboards for generations and no longer remember—or even believe in—life beyond the Store walls.

Until the day a small band of nomes arrives at the Store from the Outside. Led by a young nome named Masklin, the Outsiders carry a mysterious black box (called the Thing), and they deliver devastating news: In twenty-one days, the Store will be destroyed.

Now all the nomes must learn to work together, and they must learn to think—and to think BIG.

Part satire, part parable, and part adventure story par excellence, master storyteller Terry Pratchett's conclusion of the engaging Bromeliad trilogy traces the nomes' flight and search for safety, a search that leads them to discover their own astonishing origins and takes them beyond their wildest dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Led by young Masklin, a small band of four-inch-tall nomes join a larger society of nomes living in a human department store. When they learn that the store is to be destroyed, rival factions come together to find safety, and learn the surprising truth about their origins. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this third volume in Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy, three "nomes" travel from England to Florida (with plenty of humorous misadventures along the way) to try to send their computer-like "Thing" off on the space shuttle to contact the "Ship" which originally brought nomes to Earth 15,000 years ago. Pratchett's nomes bear striking similarities to Mary Norton's borrowers: both are races of tiny people who live around the margins of human civilization, trying to avoid ever being seen by humans, and surprised to find that humans don't view themselves as existing only to service the needs of nomes/borrowers. The story makes frequent references to events of the first two books and does not completely stand alone for those who have not been following the nomes' adventures from the beginning. But the reason to read on is Pratchett's consistently funny—and often wryly wise—voice. Every page has some hilarious and deliciously ridiculous line: "[The tree frogs] crawled onward. They didn't know the meaning of the word 'retreat.' Or any other word." The long-necked turtle is lucky in "having a long neck like that and being called a long-necked turtle. It'd be really awkward having a name like that if it had a short neck." And there are also wonderful insights into the nome-ish—and human—need for faith in something beyond themselves: "It's a big world. You need someone really ready to believe." Pratchett offers an appealing mix of genuine silliness and genuine philosophy—understanding how the two are sometimes one and the same. 2004 (orig. 1990), HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
—Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-- The last book of a science-fiction trilogy about four-inch beings who were stranded when their scout ship crashed to earth 15,000 years ago. Truckers (1990) introduced Masklin, leader of a dwindling band of nomes hunting among the hedgerows in modern England. Completely ignorant of their origins, they are guided by a small black box they call ``The Thing,'' which turns out to be a very powerful computer. In Diggers (1991, both Delacorte), they join a group of department-store nomes to live in a quarry. In this last installment, Masklin and friends sneak aboard the Concorde and head for Florida. Their mission: to place The Thing on a communications satellite so it can rouse their waiting mother ship. Nomes are foolishly courageous, companionable, literal and innocent creatures whose repeated misunderstandings confirm readers' sense of smug superiority. The bad puns generated by their mistakes in language may amuse some readers but annoy others. Neither as complex nor interesting as Mary Norton's ``Borrowers'' (Harcourt) or the Lilliputians of T. H. White's Mistress Masham's Repose (Berkley, 1984), Pratchett's creatures enact a blatantly obvious parable of broadening horizons. Yet the conversational style and fast-moving plot make this cheerful, unpretentious tale useful where there is a need for accessible science fiction, or where the previous volumes have been enjoyed.-- Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
The Horn Book
“Fascinating and funny.”
“Witty, funny, wise and altogether delightful.”
Lloyd Alexander
“Terry Pratchett has created a wild adventure, a fable, a fantasy, an elegant satire.”– Lloyd Alexander
ALA Booklist
“A wry tongue-in-cheek fantasy…which unhesitatingly lampoons the ingrained habits and complacent attitudes found in any society.”
From the Publisher

"The triumphant conclusion of his 'nome' trilogy."  —Independent

"As always (Pratchett) is head and shoulders above even the best of the rest. He is screamingly funny. He is wise. He has style…Splendid"  —Daily Telegraph

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Bromeliad Trilogy Series , #3
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Bromeliad Trilogy: Wings

Chapter One

A place where people hurry up and wait.

From A Scientific Encyclopedia

for the Inquiring Young Nome

by Angalo de Haberdasheri

Let the eye of your imagination be a camera. . . .

This is the universe, a glittering ball of galaxies like the ornament on some unimaginable Christmas tree.

Find a galaxy. . . .


This is a galaxy, swirled like the cream in a cup of coffee, every pinpoint of light a star.

Find a star. . . .


This is a solar system, where planets barrel through the darkness around the central fires of the sun. Some planets hug close, hot enough to melt lead. Some drift far out, where the comets are born.

Find a blue planet. . . .


This is a planet. Most of it is covered in water. It's called Earth. Find a country. . . .


. . . blues and greens and browns under the sun, and here's a pale oblong which is . . .


. . . an airport, a concrete hive for silver bees, and there's a . . .


. . . building full of people and noise and . . .


. . . a hall of lights and bustle and . . .


. . . a bin full of rubbish and . . .


. . . a pair of tiny eyes . . .





Masklin slid cautiously down an old burger carton.

He'd been watching humans. Hundreds and hundreds of humans. It was beginning to dawn on him that getting on a jet plane wasn't like stealing a truck.

Angalo and Gurder had nestled deep into the rubbish and were gloomily eating the remains of a cold, greasy french fry.

This has come as a shock to all of us, Masklin thought.

I mean, take Gurder. Back in the Store he was the Abbot. He believed that Arnold Bros made the Store for nomes. And he still thinks there's some sort of Arnold Bros somewhere, watching over us, because we are important. And now we're out here, and all we've found is that nomes aren't important at all. . . .

And there's Angalo. He doesn't believe in Arnold Bros, but he likes to think Arnold Bros exists just so that he can go on not believing in him.

And there's me.

I never thought it would be this hard.

I thought jet planes were just trucks with more wings and less wheels.

There's more humans in this place than I've ever seen before. How can we find Grandson Richard, 39, in a place like this?

I hope they're going to save me some of that potato. . . .

Angalo looked up.

"Seen him?" he said, sarcastically.

Masklin shrugged. "There's lots of humans with beards," he said. "They all look the same to me."

"I told you," said Angalo. "Blind faith never works." He glared at Gurder.

"He could have gone already," said Masklin. "He could have walked right past me."

"So let's get back," said Angalo. "People will be missing us. We've made the effort, we've seen the airport, we've nearly got trodden on dozens of times. Now let's get back to the real world."

"What do you think, Gurder?" said Masklin.

The Abbot gave him a long, despairing look.

"I don't know," he said. "I really don't know. I'd hoped . . ."

His voice trailed off. He looked so downcast that even Angalo patted him on the shoulder.

"Don't take it so hard," he said. "You didn't really think some sort of Grandson Richard, 39, was going to swoop down out of the sky and carry us off to Florida, did you? Look, we've given it a try. It hasn't worked. Let's go home."

"Of course I didn't think that," said Gurder irritably. "I just thought that . . . maybe in some way . . . there'd be a way."

"The world belongs to humans. They built everything. They run everything. We might as well accept it," said Angalo.

Masklin looked at the Thing. He knew it was listening. Even though it was just a small black cube, it somehow always looked more alert when it was listening. The trouble was, it spoke only when it felt like it. It'd always give you just enough help, and no more. It seemed to be testing him the whole time.

Somehow, asking the Thing for help was like admitting that you'd run out of ideas. But . . .

"Thing," he said, "I know you can hear me, because there must be loads of electricity in this building. We're at the airport. We can't find Grandson Richard, 39. We don't know how to start looking. Please help us."

The Thing stayed silent.

"If you don't help us," said Masklin quietly, "we'll go back to the quarry and face the humans, but that won't matter to you because we'll leave you here. We really will. And no nomes will ever find you again. There will never be another chance. We'll die out, there will be no more nomes anywhere, and it will be because of you. And in years and years to come you'll be all alone and useless and you'll think, Perhaps I should have helped Masklin when he asked me, and then you'll think, If I had my time all over again, I would have helped him. Well, Thing, imagine all that has happened and you've magically got your wish. Help us."

"It's a machine!" snapped Angalo. "You can't blackmail a machine—!"

One small red light lit up on the Thing's black surface.

"I know you can tell what other machines are thinking," said Masklin. "But can you tell what nomes are thinking? Read my mind, Thing, if you don't think I'm serious. You want nomes to act intelligently. Well, I am acting intelligently. I'm intelligent enough to know when I need help. I need help now. And you can help. I know you can. If you don't help us, we'll leave right now and forget you ever existed."

A second light came on, very faintly.

The Bromeliad Trilogy: Wings. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE, was the author of more than 70 books, including the internationally bestselling Discworld series of novels. His books have been adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal. In January 2009, Pratchett was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry, who lived in England, died in March 2015 at the age of 66.

Brief Biography

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

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Wings (Bromeliad Trilogy Series #3) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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