Monstrous Regiment (Discworld Series #31)

Monstrous Regiment (Discworld Series #31)

by Terry Pratchett

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062307415
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/29/2014
Series: Discworld Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 152,360
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his phenomenally successful Discworld series. His young adult novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal, and Where's My Cow?, his Discworld book for “readers of all ages,” was a New York Times bestseller. His novels have sold more than seventy five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. Named an Officer of the British Empire “for services to literature,” Pratchett lived in England. He died in 2015 at the age of sixty-six.


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

Read an Excerpt

Monstrous Regiment

The recruits tried to sleep.

Occasionally, someone belched or expelled wind noisily, and Polly responded with a few fake eructations of her own. That seemed to inspire greater effort on the part of the other sleepers, to the point where the roof rattled and dust fell down, before everyone subsided.

Once or twice she heard people stagger out into the windy darkness; in theory, for the privy, but probably, given male impatience in these matters, to aim much closer to home. Once, coasting in and out of a troubled dream, she thought she heard someone sobbing.

Taking care not to rustle too much, Polly pulled out the much-folded, much-read, much-stained last letter from her brother, and read it by the light of the solitary, guttering candle. It had been opened and heavily mangled by the censors, and bore the stamp of the Duchy. It read:

Dear all,

We are in .... which is .... with a ... big thing with knobs. On .... we with .... which is just as well because .... out of. I am keeping well. The food is .... .... well .... at the ..... but my mate .... er says not to worry, it'll be all over by .... and we shall all have medals.

Chins up!

It was in a careful hand, the excessively clear and well-shaped writing of someone who had to think about every letter.

She folded it up again. Paul had wanted medals, because they were shiny. That'd been almost a year ago, when any recruiting party that came past went away with the best part of a battalion, and there had been people waving them off with flags and music. Sometimes, now, smaller parties of men came back. The lucky ones were missing only one arm or one leg. There were no flags.

She unfolded the other piece of paper. It was a pamphlet. It was headed "From the Mothers of Borogravia!!" The mothers of Borogravia were very definite about wanting to send their sons off to war Against the Zlobenian Aggressor!! and used a great many exclamation points to say so. And this was odd, because the mothers in the town had not seemed keen on the idea of their sons going off to war, and positively tried to drag them back. Several copies of the pamphlet seemed to have reached every home, even so. It was very patriotic. That is, it talked about killing foreigners.

She'd learned to read and write after a fashion because the inn was big and it was a business and things had to be tallied and recorded. Her mother had taught her to read, which was acceptable to Nuggan, and her father made sure that she learned how to write, which was not. A woman who could write was an Abomination Unto Nuggan, according to Father Jupe; anything she wrote would by definition be a lie.

But Polly had learned anyway, because Paul hadn't, at least to the standard needed to run an inn as busy as The Duchess. He could read if he could run his finger slowly along the lines, and he wrote letters painfully slowly, with a lot of care and heavy breathing, like a man assembling a piece of jewelry.

He was big and kind and slow and could lift beer kegs as though they were toys, but he wasn't a man at home with paperwork. Their father had hinted to Polly, very gently but very often, that Polly would need to be right behind him, when the time came for him to run The Duchess. Left to himself, with no one to tell him what to do next, her brother just stood and watched birds. At Paul's insistence, she'd read the whole of "From the Mothers of Borogravia!!" to him, including the bits about heroes and there being no greater good than to die for your country.

She wished, now, she hadn't done that. Paul did what he was told. Unfortunately, he believed what he was told, too.

She put the papers away and dozed again, until her bladder woke her up. Oh, well, at least at this time of the morning she'd have a clear run.

She reached out for her pack and stepped as softly as she could out into the rain.

It was mostly just coming off the trees now, which were roaring in the wind that blew up the valley. The moon was hidden in the clouds, but there was just enough light to make out the inn's buildings. A certain grayness suggested that what passed for dawn in Plün was on the way.

She located the men's privy, which, indeed, stank of inaccuracy.

A lot of planning and practice had gone into this moment. She was helped by the design of her breeches, which were the old-fashioned kind with generous, buttoned trapdoors, and also by the experiments she'd made very early in the mornings when she was doing the cleaning. In short, with care and attention to detail, she'd found that a woman could pee standing up. It certainly worked back home in the inn's privy, which had been designed and built with the certain expectation of the aimlessness of the customers.

The wind shook the dank building.

In the dark, she thought of Aunty Hattie, who'd gone a bit strange around her sixtieth birthday and persistently accused passing young men of looking up her dress. She was even worse after a glass of wine, and she had one joke: "What does a man stand up to do, a woman sit down to do, and a dog lift its leg to do?" And then, when everyone was too embarrassed to answer, she'd triumphantly shriek "Shake hands!" and fall over. Aunty Hattie was an Abomination all by herself.

Polly buttoned up the breeches with a sense of exhilaration. She felt she'd crossed a bridge, a sensation that was helped by the realization that she'd kept her feet dry.

Someone said, "Psst!"

It was just as well she'd already taken a leak. Panic instantly squeezed every muscle. Where were they hiding? This was just a rotten old shed! Oh, there were a few cubicles, but the smell alone suggested very strongly that the woods outside would be a much better proposition. Even on a wild night. Even with extra wolves.

"Yes?" she quavered, and then cleared her throat and demanded, with a little more gruffness:"Yes?"

"You'd need these," whispered the voice. In the fetid gloom, she made out something rising over the top of the cubicle. She reached up nervously and touched softness. It was a bundle of wool. Her fingers explored it.

"A pair of socks?" she said.

"Right. Wear 'em," said the mystery voice hoarsely.

"Thank you, but I've brought several pairs -- " Polly began.

There was a faint sigh. "No. Not on your feet. Shove 'em down the front of your trousers."

"What do you mean?"

"Look," said the whisperer patiently, "you don't bulge where you shouldn't bulge. That's good. But you don't bulge where you should bulge, either. You know? Lower down?"

"Oh! Er ... I ... but ... I didn't think people noticed ..." said Polly, glowing with embarrassment. She had been spotted! But there was no hue and cry, no angry quotations from the Book of Nuggan. Someone was helping. Someone who had seen her ...

"It's a funny thing," said the voice, "but they notice what's missing more than they notice what's there. Just one pair, mark you. Don't get ambitious."

Polly hesitated.

"Um ... is it obvious?" she said.

"No. That's why I gave you the socks."

"I meant that ... that I'm not ... that I'm ..."

"Not really," said the voice in the dark. "You're pretty good. You come over as a frightened young lad trying to look big and brave. You might pick your nose a bit more often. Just a tip. Few things interest a young man more than the contents of his nostrils. Now I've got a favor to ask you in return."

I didn't ask you for one, Polly thought, quite annoyed at being taken for being a frightened young lad when she was quite sure she'd come over as quite a cool, non-ruffled young lad. But she said, calmly: "What is it?"

"Got any paper?"

Wordlessly, Polly pulled "From the Mothers of Borogravia!!" out of her shirt and handed it up.

She heard the sound of a match striking, and a sulfurous smell that only improved the general conditions.

"Why, is this the escutcheon of Her Grace the Duchess I see in front of me?" said the whisperer. "Well, it won't be in front of me for long. Beat it ... boy."

Polly hurried out into the night, shocked, dazed, confused, and almost asphyxiated, and made it to the shed door. But she'd barely shut it behind her and was blinking in the blackness when it was thrust open again, to let in the wind, rain, and Corporal Strappi.

"All right, all right! Hands off ... well, you lot wouldn't be able to find 'em ... and on with socks! Hup Hup Hi Ho Hup Hup --"

Bodies were suddenly springing up or falling over all around Polly. Their muscles must have been obeying the voice directly, because no brain could have got into gear that quickly. Corporal Strappi, in obedience to the law of noncommissioned officers, responded by making the confusion more confusing.

"Good grief, a lot of old women could shift better'n you!" he shouted with satisfaction as people flailed around looking for their coats and boots. "Fall in! Get shaved! Every man in the regiment to be clean shaven, by order! Get dressed! Wazzer, I've got my eye on you! Move! Move! Breakfast in five minutes! Last one there doesn't get a sausage! Oh deary me, what a bloody shower!"

The four lesser apocalyptical horsemen of Panic, Bewilderment, Ignorance, and Shouting took control of the room, to Corporal Strappi's obscene glee. Polly, though, ducked out of the door, pulled a small tin mug out of her pack, dipped it into a water butt, balanced it on an old barrel behind the inn, and started to shave.

She'd practiced this, too. The secret was in the old cutthroat razor that she'd carefully blunted. After that, it was all in the shaving brush and soap. Get a lot of lather on, shave a lot of lather off, and you'd had a shave, hadn't you? Must have done, sir, feel how smooth the skin is ...

She was halfway through when a voice by her ear screamed: "What d'you think you're doing, Private Parts?"

It was just as well the blade was blunt.

"Perks, sir!" she said, rubbing her nose. "I'm shaving, sir! It's Perks, sir!"

"Sir? Sir? I'm not a sir, Parts, I'm a bloody corporal, Parts. That means you calls me 'Corporal,' Parts. And you are shaving in an official regimental mug, Parts, what you have not been issued with, right? You a deserter, Parts?"

"No, s -- Corporal!"

"A thief, then?"

"No, Corporal!"

"Then how come you got a bloody mug, Parts?"

"Got it off a dead man, sir -- Corporal!"

Strappi's voice, pitched to a scream in any case, became a screech of rage.

"You're a looter?"

"No, Corporal! The soldier -- "

-- had died almost in her arms, on the floor of the inn.

There had been half a dozen men in that party of returning heroes. They must have been trekking with gray-faced patience for days, making their way back to little villages in the mountains. Polly counted nine arms and ten legs between them, and ten eyes.

But it was the apparently whole who were worse, in a way. They kept their stinking coats buttoned tight, in lieu of bandages over whatever unspeakable mess lay beneath, and they had the smell of death about them. The inn's regulars made space for them, and talked quietly, like people in a sacred place.

Her father, not usually a man given to sentiment, quietly put a generous tot of brandy into each mug of ale, and refused all payment.

Then it turned out that they were carrying letters from soldiers still fighting, and one of them had brought the letter from Paul. He pushed it across the table to Polly as she served them stew, and then, with very little fuss, he died.

The rest of the men moved unsteadily on later that day, taking with them, to give to his parents, the pot-metal medal that had been in the man's coat pocket and the official commendation from the Duchy that went with it. Polly had taken a look at it. It was printed, including the Duchess's signature, and the man's name had been filled in, rather cramped, because it was longer than average. The last few letters were rammed up tight together.

It's little details like that which get remembered, as undirected white-hot rage fills the mind. Apart from the letter and the medal, all the man left behind was a tin mug and, on the floor, a stain which wouldn't scrub out.

Monstrous Regiment. Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Reading Group Guide

Book Description
War has come to Borogravia. The homes and businesses limp along, doing the best they can without their men, sent to fight their age-old enemy. Polly has taken over the lion's share of responsibility for the running of her family's humble inn, The Duchess. Her beloved brother Paul marched off to war almost a year ago, but it has been more than two months since his last letter home, and the news from the front is bad: the fighting has reached the border, supplies are dwindling, and the brave Borogravians are losing precious ground. So the resourceful Polly cuts off her hair and joins the army disguised as a young man named Oliver. As Polly closely guards her secret, she notices that her fellow recruits seem to be guarding secrets of their own. This novel explores the inanity of war, the ins and outs of sexual politics, and why often the best man for the job is a woman.

Topics for Discussion
  1. Polly and her fellow comrades are forced to disguise themselves as boys because of the law forbidding female participation in the armed services. However, their female regiment succeeds where all men before them have failed. What is it about these girls that make them so successful?
  2. The national deity, Nuggan, and his "Abominations" strictly control the lives of the people of Borogravia. What do you think Pratchett is trying to say about the integration of religion and government?
  3. Polly feels that her regiment ends up being viewed as mascots instead of true soldiers, and is angered by this. Do you agree with her opinion or do you feel that they did, in fact, initiate change?
  4. Do you think that Polly and the rest of her regiment will succeedas soldiers as they head off to war, yet again, at the end of the novel?

About the Author
Terry Pratchett's first short story was published when he was 13, and his first full-length book when he was 20. He worked as a journalist to support the writing habit, but gave up the day job when the success of his books meant that it was costing him money to go to work. Pratchett's acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the U.S. and the UK, and have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Monstrous Regiment is one of many novels that make up the Discworld series. There are Web sites, newsletters, conventions, collectibles, chat rooms, theatre adaptations, and computer games based on Discworld.

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Monstrous Regiment 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a Discworld series fan, and have just about every book in the series. For those not acquainted with the Discworld, there are series within the series, such as story-lines dedicated to a coven of witches, a wizard's university and a police force. Monstrous Regiment is mostly a stand-alone book (other stand-alone Discworld books include Pyramids, Small Gods, Moving Pictures and The Truth) that has ties to the story of the Discworld as a whole. I have thoroughly enjoyed Monstrous Regiment! Like all Discworld books it is funny, thought provoking and touching. I think most people have asked themselves what life would be like to be the opposite sex, Terry Pratchett has plumbed the depths of this curious subject surprisingly well. As a woman, I can vouche that he seems to have gotten a grasp not only of what is like to be a woman in a mans' world, but a woman trying to blend seamlessly into that world. The story is addicitng, and a revelation at each turn of the page. This book is appropriate for Discworld regulars, and even those visiting the Disc for the first time!
Captain_SmokeblowerTW More than 1 year ago
I get caught up in Terry Pratchett stories knowing full well he has a message. That's important because writers may let their message overpower their story (or their story is just a veneer to their message), but Terry Pratchett weaves a tale that traps me. I bought into the story of "Monstrous Regiment" sword, epaulet, and unmentionables. [I may be mistaken that Terry Pratchett has a message; it's possible he just sees situations, institutions, and the world differently, i.e. more clearly that others. In which case it's no wonder his stories come across as they do.] "Monstrous Regiment" follows the military career of our heroine/hero driven to join the army, but not really out of patriotism. The story follows her during a war initiated out of national false pride and sustained by vilifying an enemy whose army is led by an old friend (to those who read the Discworld stories) from the Ankh-Morpork City Watchmen, Sir Samuel Vimes. While the story is told from our heroines perspective as a soldier following orders, we sense her growing understanding of war from the soldier's perspective as its contrasted with the politician's patriotism, but always there is the central problem faced by, yet hidden by, our heroine; she's a woman in a man's army isn't she?
harstan More than 1 year ago
Over the last three decades, the Duchy of Borogravia has declared war on all of its neighbors. Now more countries have formed the alliance whose goal is to destroy the duchy. The prince of Zlobenia is the heir to the Borogravian throne and hopes to prove the ruling family has died out so he can incorporate it into his country. Polly is not interested in issues of state but intends to find her brother and bring him home.

She disguises herself as a male and signs up to join the army. Her unit consists of other females masquerading as men, a vampire, a troll, an Igor as well as a heroic sergeant. When they capture some enemy soldiers, instead of taking them as POW¿s, they end up releasing them, not realizing one of the soldiers is the prince of Zlobenia. Their actions bring them to the attention of the Alliance who is inspired by the courage of the MONSTROUS REGIMENT and hesitates to invade their country. That hesitation gives Polly and the other members of the unit a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of the Alliance and a chance for Borogravia to retain its independence.

It¿s always a pleasure visiting Discworld where the magical and mundane exist side by side. MONSTROUS REGIMENT is one of the better novels in this long running series because the characters are zany and quirky yet somehow believable. Terry Pratchett seems to write a light-hearted comical fantasy but in reality he is using humor to provide a very deep condemnation of terrorists and nations that make war inevitable.

Harriet Klausner

ClicksClan on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Having read every book on the top shelf of my bookcase when I finished with The Wee Free Men I moved on to the next shelf down and the thirty-first of Terry Pratchett¿s Discworld books, Monstrous Regiment. This is one of the only books that really sort of stands alone; Sam Vimes comes into it a little and of course Death makes a cameo, but otherwise it¿s dealing with entirely new characters in an entirely new country. I do wonder if perhaps that¿s what I like about it so much. Slight warning here, if you¿ve not read this book and you¿re not wanting the little twists to be revealed, you might want to skip this review¿ I¿ll try not to give too much away, but I can¿t make any promises.It¿s also one of the last Discworld novels I read before I started doing the whole reading-the-whole-series-in-order thing that I¿ve been working on since very late 2010. I loved this book when I first read it and so I was very much looking forward to the reread. It features Polly Perks, a girl in a country where being a girl isn¿t particularly great. Her country is permanently at war with one or another of the surrounding countries and her brother has gone away to fight. She decides to leave the family Inn, The Duchess, to find him and bring him home. Of course, the only way to do this is to sign up for the army and so with the squad she¿s joined (which includes a vampire, a troll and an Igor), Oliver (as she renames herself) travels towards the front, meanwhile more and more of the males in the book are revealed to actually be females.I thought I remembered this one very well, but as I said, it¿s probably been about three (or maybe slightly more) years since I read it, so while I knew the basic outline of the plot there were massive bits that I¿d forgotten. One of the really big twists at the end (which is very cleverly hinted at most of the way through) came as a bit of a surprise to me¿ at least until Polly decided to reveal it, then I kind of knew what was coming. It wasn¿t that I¿d remembered it though, it was just piecing it together from the text as though I¿d never read it before.I did also get through it very quickly. As always when reading the Discworld books, I¿m torn between hurtling through them because I find them hilarious and I love reading them and I want to know what¿s going to happen next, and reading them dead slowly because I¿m fast getting to the end of the published series and I¿m not looking forward to taking them all off my bookcase and replacing them with something new. I¿ve got six Discworld books left to read at the moment, plus I Shall Wear Midnight and Snuff still to get for my collection. I¿m hoping that perhaps I can drag it out until nearer the end of the summer before I need to get them but at this rate it¿ll be sooner rather than later.The book is largely told through Polly¿s eyes which works really well, she has a fantastic attitude. It also means that the boys are slowly revealed to be boys as she discovers them. Meanwhile you¿re also learning about the religious and political aspects of their country as well. It means that there¿s none of the info-dumps that you occasionally get in fantasy books. Plus you get to learn a bit more about vampires and the Igors as well.My one little problem was keeping all the characters¿ names straight. There were the girls, who had adopted boys names, went largely by their surnames when being given orders but used adopted nicknames when speaking to each other; in some cases there were three or four names to try to remember. They sunk in eventually but to begin with there was a bit of flipping backwards to remind myself who was who.So far it doesn¿t seem that Terry Pratchett has written anything more featuring Polly Perks or Borogravia, which is a shame because I¿d love to have a bit more like this to look forward to. I am pleased that the next book in the series is A Hat Full Of Sky another of the Tiffany Aching series even if it does mean that I¿m that much closer to the last Di
sloopjonb on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A poor book included here purely for completist reasons. The 'message' is didactic, the characterisation thin, the plot full of holes and the jokes few.
RobertDay on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Pratchett's novels keep getting more and more serious; 'Monstrous regiment' is no exception. Taking the old folk trope of the woman who disguises herself as a man to follow her sweetheart/brother into the army, Pratchett pushes this idea as far as it will go (and then some), on the way examining war, peace, the nature of women's reactions to these states, gender identity, class and stereotyping. Oh, and socks, too.As with many recent Pratchett novels, the magical elements of the Discworld are receding as the society develops - here we are roughly in the earrly 19th century in Earth terms. True, there are the fantastic characters - the trolls, goblins, werewolves and vampires (who have signed the Pledge), and some magical apparatus such as the iconograph are still used. And there are supernatural elements to the story. But this is essentially Pratchett holding a mirror up to our own times.(In case no-one else has spotted it, the title is a reference to Charles I's best-seller, "The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women". Quite apposite in many ways. Look it up.)
Maaike15274 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Really good, moving story. Although I was not exactly rolling over the floor, it still managed to make me giggle every now and then. This is one of the more serious Discworld novels (or maybe its just me).
salimbol on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Another gem from Pratchett, gleefully skewering gender norms and militarism. As always, there's real substance behind the (many) laugh-out-loud moments.
ds_61_12 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Based on pb cover:Polly Perks had to become a boy in a hurry. Cutting of her hair and wearing trousers was easy. Learning to fart and belch in public and walk like an ape took more time...And now she's enlisted in the army, and is searching for her brother.But there's a war on. There's always awar on. And Polly and her fellow recruits are suddenly in the thick of it, without any training, and the enemy is hunting them.All they have on their side is the most artful sergeant in the army and a vampire with a lust for coffee. Well... They have the Secret. And as they take the war to the heart of the enemy, they have to use all the resources of... the Monstrous Regiment.You get all this and it is still funny. At the same time it is a book that questions pacifism, war, religious fanaticism and gender. It is satire of a serious kind, at times you laugh out loud, at times you frown at the similarities with the real world.Great book and definitly recommended.
catherinestead on LibraryThing 8 months ago
War, Discworld style. Polly Perks needs to find her brother, Paul. But Paul is a soldier - unless he's a prisoner or a casualty - so Polly pretends to be a boy and joins the army. Polly doesn't know a lot about the army, but even she can work out that her fellow recruits (not to mention the sergeant) are quite ... unusual. And Polly doesn't know the half of it. Very funny, very clever and very powerful. One of the best Discworld novels, and strongly recommended.
SatansParakeet on LibraryThing 9 months ago
This book is quite excellent. It is highly amusing, like most of the Discworld books are and it has an insidiously amazing message if your looking for it. The obvious messages seem to be that discrimination against women is bad and that blindly following religious writings doesn't get you very far. Both of these are good, but it is interesting that the theme of the book also applies so well to homosexualtity and the common "don't ask, don't tell" policy that is expected and even enforced in the US military. I can only assume that Pratchett was not unaware of this reading of his novel. I really don't know what his views are on the subject, but I find it extremely hard to believe that he is against homosexuals in the military after reading this book. Even without that message, though, Pratchett does some of his best work in this novel. The characters are interesting, their conundrums are believable, and the conclusion is exciting. Anyone who likes the Discworld series should pick up this book.
benfulton on LibraryThing 9 months ago
Avoid the temptation to race through this one. There are a lot of bits that are totally predictable, and it's hard not to just roll through the text, assuming that you already know everything that's going to happen. There are surprisingly few typical Pratchett topsy-turvy twists, even though the tale of a girl dressing up in boy's clothes to join the army isn't too unusual. But take it slow and read with an eye more on the characters and the social commentary; pay a little less attention to the pace and the action; and you won't be disappointed.
MrsLee on LibraryThing 9 months ago
I quite enjoyed this book. It was not as side-splittingly funny as some of the other Discworld novels, but it had quite a few humerous situations and some fine characters.The issues brought up in this story were quite serious. Whether or not one should hide their true selves to get along in society, the fact that people's greed, stubbornness and pride will continue to lead them into senseless wars with one another, patriotism, women's roles, rights and abilities. Yet the author manages to bring these up for thought without pushing his own answers at you.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 9 months ago
Tiny Borogravia is a plagued nuisance to her neighbors and has been for generations - border wars, poor weather, a god that abominates everything from the color blue to beets... But that's a country's rite, right? Sure it is - right up until the abomination and subsequent burning of the clax towers draws the attention of the powers that be in Ankh-Morpork. Obviously one little upstart country can't be allowed to pinch the transfer of news!For Polly, international politics aren't even on the radar. All she wants to do is find her brother Paul, seasons gone for a soldier, and bring him home. Joining up seems the thing to do - all she needs is a haircut, a swagger, and a strategically placed roll of socks...What happens when a group of raw recruits square off against the might of Ankh-Morpork? That's nothing compared to what happens when a group of women in disguise join the army. Funny from cover to cover.
reading_fox on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A favourite of mine, although some of the puns are fairly obvious they are still very funny - all the military clothing jokes featuring everybody except Lord Cardigan! It is also a collossal farce, with women dressed as men dressing as women etc etc ad absurdum. The obvious storyline being the ability of women to be men as well as men can be, is carried through the book very well. Polly aka oliver, ozzer, parts, Perks - joins the army disguised as a boy in order to look for her slightly simple brother Paul, this allows the gag Private Parts to be repeated several times. By dint of luck and the tender care of Seargent Jackorum, her small patrol makes it though enemy lines to the keep. Gradually Polly becomes aware that other memebers of her patrol are also women in disguise, much hilarity ensues. The underlying thems though are far deeper and less explict. A simple parallel in names of the complicated conflict in eastern Europe is obvious, but can quickly be extended to the Middle East - Ankh-Morpock features as Polly's conflict has distroyed the clacks towers. Vimes is sent in to restore order along with the imfamous Lord Rust. The symbolism between oil and clacks can be made - the outcome contrasts with the way America has handled the Gulf. Also featuring are comparative religion, pacifism, and gender issues. A thoughtful and movning book on many levels, whilst maintaining the typical humour so beloved of Pratchett this book is one of his best works - even though it only fleetingly mentions some of his most popular characters.
SimonW11 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Not the world best plot but good characters and the authors humanitydo their work.
fastfinge on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This book is one of the darker discworld novels. However, it does serve as a brilliant twist on the girl-as-boy standard plot, poking fun at societies andthe plot device itself. That's all I can say about that and still honestly keep this review no spoilers. The discworld series is one of those that is improvingwith age. If you haven't yet read this book, even if you've never read any discworld book before, I think you'll enjoy it.
VioletDelirium on LibraryThing 11 months ago
My most favorite Discworld novel is forever changing. However this one, ranks up among the top. It was refreshing to read. With the same wit that Pratchett writes his other novels, yet in a new setting (for all the it's the same world) and fabulous new characters.
altivo on LibraryThing 11 months ago
As frequently has happened in its history, the Duchy of Borogravia is embroiled in war with its neighbors over vague points of fundamentalist belief and jingoistic patriotism. The war has gone on too long, the young men of the nation are depleted, and for various reasons, young women begin to surreptitiously take their places. The reaction to this as it is gradually discovered is both hilarious and realistic.
drewandlori on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Very, very funny. If you liked this, try "The Man who was Thursday" as well.
heidilove on LibraryThing 11 months ago
a fun and satirical look at the entire machine that is the military in western society. nicely done.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Not his best but an interesting story of some women who join the army of a repressive country where they're losing the war(s) badly. Fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know what I had done to become this. I know this isn't me. I had been normal. Grown up, had a childhood, fell in love, but it had been ripped away. Gone. Nothing but these hollow memories and faint feelings remained. One minute I was living my life, the next I was taking others. I didn't know why. It just...happened. I get a feeling to go somewhere and end somebody. I felt like I was doing good. These people were bad people and I was the hero. Right? That's why I did this wasn't it? I didn't know. I had a gut feeling I didn't want to know. I knew I would find out sooner or later. Sooner to spare me pain, later if I wanted agony. So, I picked up a newspaper and read the giant caption that screamed, "MURDERER STILL AT LARGE; IS ANYONE SAFE?" With a picture of my last kill beneath it. I dropped the paper and ran. I ran from it. I pretended I was running from what I was. There was no changing me, but something had changed now. I ran. Until I heard the scream.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago