Wings (Bromeliad Trilogy Series #3)

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The third installment of Terry Pratchett's hilarious trilogy, now available in this individual paperback!

The powerful conclusion to the trilogy, wherein the nomes search for a way back to their original home and learn more than they ever could have imagined about airports, humans, outer space, geese, and Floridian sandwiches.

Three four-inch-high nomes, led by Masklin and aided by the tiny computer called Thing, set out on a ...

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Wings (Bromeliad Trilogy Series #3)

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The third installment of Terry Pratchett's hilarious trilogy, now available in this individual paperback!

The powerful conclusion to the trilogy, wherein the nomes search for a way back to their original home and learn more than they ever could have imagined about airports, humans, outer space, geese, and Floridian sandwiches.

Three four-inch-high nomes, led by Masklin and aided by the tiny computer called Thing, set out on a dangerous journey, determined to contact the ship that brought them to Earth and to find a way home for all the nomes.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385304368
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1991
  • Series: Bromeliad Trilogy Series, #3
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is the author of the phenomenally successful Discworld series and his trilogy for young readers, The Bromeliad. His first Discworld novel for children, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents was awarded the 2001 Carnegie Medal.


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

Table of Contents

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First Chapter

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.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013


    She waits f outher cats.

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    Posted September 12, 2012


    Med den

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Opps srry i mw E I mean good book

    Srry about f

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