Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
on 21 January 2005
Pyramids (The Book of Going Forth) is Terry Pratchett's 7th Discworld novel, and continues the trend of changing the series from a satire of the fantasy genre into a distorted mirror of our own world. The main inspiration here is quite obviously ancient Egypt, with the returning heir to the throne of Djelibeybi (ouch!) getting involved in a plot which involves the return of ancient gods, a riddling sphinx, mathematical camels, and hundred's of re-animated mummies (though just for a change these aren't the bad guys in this novel), though it also finds time to lampoon the Trojan war and ancient Greek philosophers along the way.
Pyramids is one of Pratchett's better constructed novels, with the story divided into four separate segments of Teppic's journey: first his training at the Assassin's Guild in Ankh-Morpork; then his inheritance of the throne of Djelibeybi; his escape with the beautiful handmaiden Ptraci when the ancient gods reclaim the land; and his final return and saving of his country. The main theme seems to be the danger of a stagnant society trapped in unthinking historical ritual, with the pyramids themselves interestingly acting as time negators by collecting and discharging time in order to preserve the mummies within. The novel also ends with an unexpected twist on Teppic and Ptraci's seemingly predictable romantic relationship, and a nice uroboric ending for the villain, who turns out to have been more a misguided do-gooder than evil.
If there is a slight downside to Pyramids (and the only reason I haven't given it the full 5 stars) it's that it's not particularly funny. While the cover blurb proclaims this as '...the most outrageously funny (Discworld novel) to date' I found the humour to be rather obvious and cheesy, particularly when it came to the bad puns. Nevertheless, Pyramids is still a fine novel - just not a hilarious one, and the fact that this is a completely standalone novel (in fact this is sequentially the first Discworld novel that has not yet been sequelised by the return of it's lead characters) makes this perfect for newcomers as well. Recommended.