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Equal Rites (Discworld Series #3)

Equal Rites (Discworld Series #3)

4.2 100
by Terry Pratchett

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Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

In Equal Rites, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the


Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

In Equal Rites, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 • The first seven Discworld titles are being reissued with stunning new covers, publication coincides with 21 years of Discworld anniversary and the hardback publication of The Celebrated Discworld Almanak and Going Postal.

 • "If you are unfamiliar with Pratchett's unique blend of philosophical badinage, you are on the threshold of a mind-expanding opportunity." —Financial Times

 • "Persistently amusing, good-hearted and shrewd." —The Sunday Times

 • "Pratchett keeps getting better and better... It's hard to think of any humorist writing in Britain today who can match him." —Time Out

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Discworld Series
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880L (what's this?)
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277 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesh't pretend to answer all or any of these questions.

It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author's control. They might.

However, it is primarily a story about a world. Here it comes now. Watch closely, the special effects are quite expensive.

A bass note sounds. It is a deep, vibrating chord that hints that the brass section may break in at any moment with a fanfare for the cosmos, because the scene is the blackness of deep space with a few stars glittering like the dandruff on the shoulders of God.

Then it comes into view overhead, bigger than the biggest, most unpleasantly armed starcruiser in the imagination of a three-ring filmmaker: a turtle, ten thousand miles long. It is Great A'Tuin, one of the rare astrochelonians from a universe where things are less as they are and more like people imagine them to be, and it carries on its meteorpocked shell four giant elephants who bear on their enormous shoulders the great round wheel of the Discworld.

As the viewpoint swings around, the whole of the world can be seen by the light of its tiny orbiting sun. There are continents, archipelagos, seas, deserts, mountain ranges and even a tiny central ice cap. The inhabitants of this place, it is obvious, won't have any truck with global theories. Their world, bounded by anencircling ocean that falls forever into space in one long waterfall, is as round and flat as a geological pizza, although without the anchovies.

A world like that, which exists only because the gods enjoy a joke, must be a place where magic can survive. And sex too, of course.

He came walking through the thunderstorm and you could tell he was a wizard, partly because of the long cloak and carven staff but mainly because the raindrops were stopping several feet from his head, and steaming.

It was good thunderstorm country, up here in the Ramtop Mountains, a country of jagged peaks, dense forests and little river valleys so deep the daylight had no sooner reached the bottom than it was time to leave again. Ragged wisps of cloud clung to the lesser peaks below the mountain trail along which the wizard slithered and slid. A few slot-eyed goats watched him with mild interest. It doesn't take a lot to Interest goats.

Sometimes he would stop and throw his heavy staff into the air. It always came down pointing the same way and the wizard would sigh, pick it up, and continue his squelchy progress.

The storm walked around the hills on legs of lightning, shouting and grumbling.

The wizard disappeared around the bend in the track and the goats went back to their damp grazing.

Until something else caused them to look up. They stiffened, their eyes widening, their nostrils flaring.

This was strange, because there was nothing on the path. But the goats still watched it pass by until it was out of sight.

There was a village tucked in a narrow valley between steep woods. It wasn't a large village, and wouldn't have shown up on a map of the mountains. It barely showed up on a map of the village.

It was, in fact, one of those places that exist merely so that people can have come from them. The universe is littered with them: hidden villages, windswept little towns under wide sides, isolated cabins on chilly mountains, whose only mark on history is to be the incredibly ordinary place where something extraordinary started to happen. Often there is no more than a little plaque to reveal that, against all gynecological probability someone very famous was born halfway up a wall.

Mist curled between the houses as the wizard crossed a narrow bridge over the swollen stream and made his way to the village smithy, although the two facts had nothing to do with one another. The mist would have curled anyway: it was experienced mist and had got curling down to a fine art.

The smithy was fairly crowded, of course. A smithy is one place where you can depend on finding a good fire and someone to talk to. Several villagers were lounging in the warm shadows but, as the wizard approached, they sat up expectantly and tried to look intelligent, generally with indifferent success.

The smith didn't feel the need to be quite so subservient.

He nodded at the wizard, but it was a greeting between equals, or at least between equals as far as the smith was concerned. After all, any halfway competent blacksmith has more than a nodding acquaintance with magic, or at least likes to think he has.

The wizard bowed. A white cat that had been sleeping by the furnace woke up and watched him carefully.

"What is the name of this place, sir?" said the wizard.

The blacksmith shrugged.

"Bad Ass," he said.

"Bad — ?"

"Ass," repeated the blacksmith, his tone defying anyone to make something of it.

The wizard considered this.

"A name with a story behind it," he said at last, "which were circumstances otherwise I would be pleased to hear. But I would like to speak to you, smith, about your son."

"Which one?" said the smith, and the hangers-on sniggered. The wizard smiled.

"You have seven sons, do you not? And you yourself were an eighth son?"

The smith's face stiffened. He turned to the other villagers.

"All right, the rain's stopping," he said. "Piss off, the lot of you. Me and — " he looked at the wizard with raised eyebrows.

"Drum Billet," said the wizard.

"Me and Mr. Billet have things to talk about." He waved his hammer vaguely and, one after another, craning over their shoulders in case the wizard did anything interesting, the audience departed.

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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Equal Rites 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chapters are out of place and we cannot figure them out. Waste of money. :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This review is specifically for the nook edition. It appears to have gotten mixed up in converting to nook. The last few chapters are displaced to the middle, which made it very confusing to read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page 49 of the Nook edition suddenly skips to the final few chapters of the book, not returning until page 114. Irritating.
LATeachCO More than 1 year ago
If you are intrigued by Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, but don't know where to start; I would start with this one. When I read it the first time, I began waiting impatiently for the next and the next and the next book. In this book we are introduced to the perceived difference between male and female magic, several important settings, and some characters and ideas that flow through all the books. Besides, it is just TOO much fun to miss and doesn't require any background knowledge of Discworld to love every minute of it.
jpmedusa More than 1 year ago
It's a good read just by itself, nice and clean storyline, not too cluttered with extra characters and tangents. I love the thinly veiled commentary on traditional gender roles! Pratchett writes such realistic female characters, I have met a few Granny Weatherwaxes in my time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much and periodically reread it. I've given it as a gift and recommend it to friends -- as well as buyers.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This review concerns the e copy only! The story it's self is great. Unfortunately, the e copy is all messed up. at page 50, it jumps to the last 3rd of the book, returning to Granny's letter to the Unseen University at page 114. I contacted a Barnes and Noble representative about this, they told me to archive my copy, and in 1-2 weeks their Content team would fix it. That was more than three weeks ago, and its still not fixed. I've complained a second time now. I will report back if they fix it this time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I thought was a jump forward in time was actually about 50 missing pages that turned up at the end.
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Funny, witty
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect. Great story and characters the readers care about. So great and so well written. Just another job well done by terry pratchett
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with ALL Pratchett's works, goes way above & beyond the scope of reality. Fantastic!!
sharna76 More than 1 year ago
Another highly entertaining Discworld novel. Terry Pratchett does not disappoint. The books are very funny, engaging and captivating. When looking for a fun read I always turn to Terry Pratchett.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago