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Nation Hardcover – 11 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Childrens; First edition (11 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385613709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385613705
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 288,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Terry Pratchett was the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he was the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Sir Terry Pratchett died on 12th March 2015

Photography © David Bird

Product Description


"Thought-provoking as well as fun, this is Pratchett at his most philosophical, with characters and situations sprung from ideas and games with language. And it celebrates the joy of the moment." (Nicolette Jones The Times)

"It's witty and wise, but it leaves its young readers enough room for a newly formed opinion or two as they think about its themes of love, loss, loyalty, courage, religion and nationhood." (

"An enchanting novel... Terry Pratchett is one of the most interesting and critically under-rated novelists we have." (Amanda Craig The Times)

"The unique pleasure of this story is that all the serious subjects and juicy ethical questions, such as the dilemma of the compassionate lie, are fully woven into action and character. Satirical portraits of upper-class twits, slapstick buffoonery, bad puns, and that particular brand of English wit buoy this story at every turn. Add a romance of gentle sweetness, encounters with ghosts, and lots of gunfire, and it is hard to imagine a reader who won't feel welcomed into this nation" (The Horn Book, USA)

"This is no heavy-toned tale: Tears and rage there may be in plenty, but also a cast of marvelously wrought characters, humor that flies from mild to screamingly funny to out-and-out gross, incredible discoveries, profound insights into human nature and several subplots. A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant and, happily, prolific author has produced so far." (Kirkus Reviews, USA)

Book Description

Washed up on the shores of a remote island, two kids from cultures half a world apart have to learn to get along and survive. Brilliantly funny novel from the master story-teller and creator of Discworld.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Margaret7 VINE VOICE on 10 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had this book on order for months - and I rushed home to rip open the package and get reading when it arrived from Amazon.
And there was no Discworld.. No turtle, no elephants, no witches, no dwarves - nothing - nothing but Terry and his beautiful, perceptive way of understanding and writing about human nature, life, the universe and everything..
I get the feeling that what he has gifted us with, this time, was too important to be hidden cunningly among the wonderful characters and humour of the discworld series. Although the Tiffany Aching books are pretty special, and give my favourite (Small Gods) a run for its money..

What Terry Pratchett doesn't know about people, quantum physics and spiritual philosophy isn't worth knowing.. And the way he engages us, and leads us through both his stories, and the breadth and depth of life and being human, in this place - and at this time - speaks of both love and poetry. This is a beautiful book - and it was worth going in to work half asleep - because I couldn't put it down and get myself off to bed until I'd finished it. Highly recommended.
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88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Kibbey on 2 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I want to add my review here of Nation but it's actually an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. The reason is that I don't want to appear to be `gushing' with praise for it. If ever I read such a review, it normally has the effect of turning me off the book completely, as it's obviously written by a fan who hasn't read a different author or genre since they left primary school. In view of this, here's what I genuinely thought of it:
I finished the book last night and my immediate thought was `Oh my gosh, this is a classic'. This is a book that will be discussed, debated and written about for years to come. It's a bit like being around when a new Dickens or Jane Austin novel came out.
The plot has been mentioned here already, so I won't repeat it again. I see that some reviewers have said that Nation is pitched at older children in their teens, but don't be fooled. This book has so much depth and can be read at so many levels, there's enough here to keep 10 year old Harry Potter fans to Academic Philosophers happy. The writing style is as clear and sparkling as cut crystal and while reading it, Pratchett takes your conscious mind out of this world and into his. You become each character, looking through their eyes, thinking their thoughts and feeling their every emotion. It is a fully immersive experience. The book also engages the brain by making you think about how societies and belief systems are created and our place in them. It is also a book to make you think about what makes you, you. If ever there was a book that could provide software upgrade for your brain, this is it.

Terry, I'll probably never meet you in person, but thank you for such a special gift.
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131 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So, first things first - this is not a Discworld book, which marks it as somewhat of a departure from the norm. Secondly, it's wonderful, made all the more wonderful by its separation from the usual Narrative Elements of a Terry Pratchett novel.

I received the book today and read it in a single sitting - bits of the book are tremendously sad, other bits are tremendously bitter - I do wonder how much of the book is a metaphor for TP's own deeply sad condition. There aren't many laughs in the book, but there is a very touching, emotionally resonant story that at its core is greatly optimistic.

I do hope that this isn't the last book we'll see from Terry Pratchett, who as an author has given me a greater Enjoyment to Hour ratio than any other writer. If this is to be his swan song though, he's carried it off marvellously.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Forster on 16 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Britain's most popular fantasy satirist returns with his new non-Discworld novel and he doesn't disappoint. Nation is a possible world comic fantasy based on a version of Earth set in a time equivalent to our nineteenth century. The novel takes place in the fictional South Pelagic Islands (somewhere in the equivalent of our South Pacific) and after a tsunami wreaks havoc we follow the fortunes of Mau, the sole survivor of an island known as `The Nation', and shipwrecked English teenager named Daphne (the daughter of the heir-by-circumstance to the English throne).

As with all Pratchett novels the satire is sharp, penetrating and most-importantly laugh out loud; furthermore, that characteristic Pratchett wisdom is deeply embedded within the jokes.

In Nation the themes include the question of identity: Mau's own sense of personal identity is present throughout, as well as his identity in other people's eyes. The annihilation of his people by the tsunami robs Mau of the fulfilment of the journey from man to boy (he never gets to complete the ceremony that would make him a man in his society). However, despite his own worries about this he completes the journey through his deeds and the responsibility he assumes (and is granted by later arrivals) gives birth to his maturity. Moreover, Mau has to consider the role of community in his own sense of identity: in the absence of the community, to what extent does he still belong to it? What constitutes the community - the physical existence of the people or the rules and ideology it embraces?
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