7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Make Time for this - it's his best., 2 Dec. 2002
Now I never thought Terry Pratchett would be able to do it - writing a better Discworld book than Reaper Man. But with Thief Of Time, he does just that. Of course, you'll find the classic Pratchett ingredients - the world viewed with a deadpan ironic twist, snappy one-liners, a natural gift for comedic timing and a well-honed eye for the bizarre - but here it's more. Far more. The novel's unrelentingly rich, because Pratchett manages to seamlessly interweave a number of entirely unrelated themes *and* keep them all going as the novel unfolds.
Firstly, for DiscWorld fans, both the scenario and numerous characters are fondly familiar - the setting's the great city of Ankh-Morpork, as ever its usual mix of grime, stupidity and intrigue - the Wizards of Unseen University appear in habitual "What Not To Wear meets Celebrity Fat Club" style, the Auditors of Reality are back, but this time Death's not around to stop them, since He's trying to drum up support for a little pony-trekking among the other three Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (oh, did I say just three?), and so it's all up to Susan, His grand-daughter.
Parody is an essential part of Pratchett novels, and here you'll find James Bond's MI6 meeting the Shaolin Temple of a David Carradine TV series with a dash of Grimms' Fairy Tales thrown in for good measure. Brilliantly conceived, wonderfully observed and hilariously executed.
But what sets this book apart from other Pratchett novels is that it sneakily makes you think, without your knowing that you're doing so, because you're too busy having such a good time chuckling. There's a whole underlying theme in the novel about the nature of Time that isn't silly and that isn't just used as a narrative device to force the plot along - Terry's thought about it, clearly. Imagine Steven Hawking after just one or two beers and just a brief puff of relaxing Indian herbal smoking mixture, and you might just get a vague idea - there's a Science Of The DiscWorld feel here, but infinitely more subtle.
If Terry Pratchett wants to allege that he's just a writer of comic fantasy - and he's the best there's been, without doubt - then that's fine with me. If you want to read The Thief Of Time on just this level, then you'll get everything you want out of it. Farbeit from me to accuse him of being either a philosopher or an educator - I'll not blow his cover.