15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2000
The difference between this and many of the other Discworld novels is the fact that the characters are exclusively in Pyramids and no other book. This sets it apart from the 'series within a series' (Witches, Wizards, Guards, Death, Rincewind etc.)ideal that occurs frequently. Perhaps the difficulty that some readers have is getting to know characters that have not previously been introduced and are not developed further after the dust jacket of Pyramids has been closed. However, having read all of Pratchetts Discworld novels several times (sad, I know) there is no doubt that the characters in Pyramids stand above the rest in the way that they are written. The frequently confused Teppic fits brilliantly with the foppish Chidder, the well-meaning but fundamentally flawed Dios, the superficially vulnerable Ptraci and so on. The initial description of life at the Guild is also brilliantly put together and the later sections DO continue the strong plotline and the interplay between Teppic and the people he encounters is consistently entertaining. Pick it up and read it (or listen to it) and enjoy again and again.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2001
This is definitely one of the best discworld novels Pratchett has ever written. An absolutely hilarious take on ancient Egypt, this book is absolutely brilliant. Featuring Teppic, heir to the throne, and the greatest mathematician on the disc (a camel called You Bastard) this book had me crying with laughter from start to finish. Buy this book- I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 1999
It is always hard to say one story in the discworld series is better than any other,especialy if like most devotee's you have read all of the series.Although there are at least 4 in the series i would say stand out as being exemplorary,i cannot in all honesty say that any are better than this. The humour is on par with Pratchetts best,and the story itself leaves nothing to be desired.If you have at times decided Pratchett's discworld series has been decreasing in content or storyline,or that the master had lost his touch and was now churning out any old nonsence,then this book will make you forget any past indiscrepancies on his part and bring you back into the fold a true believer once again in the unmistakenly superior writings of Terry Pratchett-author,humourist,and undisputed king of story telling.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2009
My star rating should be considered in the light of the fact that I love Terry Pratchett books. The rating takes into account the need to distinguish between my favourites and others. My problem is that I've not been reading the books in any sort of order and once I'd discovered Sam Vimes and the Watch, Granny Weatherwax and the Witches and the Wee Frees I've tended to look for books featuring them.
I did, however, enjoy this book. I particularly enjoyed the Assassins Guild/roof top Ankh Morpork sections near to the beginning but I also enjoyed the development of the character of Ptraci the handmaiden and the final outcome.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great Discworld novel! In this seventh novel, we are taken to the kingdom of Djelibeybi which is ruled by King Teppicymon XXVII; the kingdom and its customs are very similar to those of Ancient Egypt, and the Grand Priest Dios seems to have agendas all of his own. The prince, Teppic goes to Ankh Morporkh to study being an assassin, but has hardly completed his training when he is called home. But is that where he wants to be? And what will happen when the largest pyramid ever built is constructed? And what is Dios up to?
This is a great story; the greatest mathematician (all is revealed in the book) is a great character, as are Dil and Gern, and Ptraci. The story rolls along rapidly, and comes to a satisfying conclusion - highly recommended for any fan of funny fiction, and particularly any Discworld fan.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Pyramids represents something of a detour in Pratchett’s Discworld series. The principal action takes place in the heretofore unfamiliar land of Djelibeybi, located in northern Klatch across the Circle Sea from Anhk-Morpork. This is a unique realm of the Discworld, two miles wide and 150 miles long. It is often referred to as the Old Kingdom for a very good reason—it is quite old, over 7000 years old in fact. It is a desert land whose pharaohs are obsessed with pyramid-building; besides bankrupting the country, this obsession has also had the unforeseen consequence of keeping the country firmly entrenched in the past. Pyramids, you see, slow down time, and there are so many pyramids in Djelibeybi now that new time is continually sucked in by them and released nightly in flares. In a land where the same time is reused daily, it comes as something of a surprise when the pharaoh Teppicymon XXVII decides to send his son Teppic outside of the kingdom to get his education. Just after becoming a certified, guild-approved assassin, young Teppic is called upon to return home after his father suffers the unfortunate consequences attendant upon thinking he can fly. Three months into his reign, he basically loses his kingdom—literally. The Great Pyramid being built for his father’s mummy is much too big, and eventually it causes the temporal dislocation of Djelibeybi from the face of the Discworld. Accompanied by the handmaiden Ptraci, whom he rescued from certain death, and a camel whose name would be edited were I to state it here, Teppic must find a way to restore his kingdom back to its proper place and time above the ground. The ordeal is only complicated further by the fact that all of the land’s dead and thousands of gods suddenly have appeared in person, acting as if they own the place.
While its unusual setting and the fact that it features characters seen here and nowhere else makes this novel seem a little different from its fellow Discworld chronicles, I must admit it is quite an enjoyable read. Pratchett ingeniously incorporates ideas and practices from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece: pyramids, mummification, Greek philosophers, the Trojan War and its Horse in particular, etc. Teppic is an enjoyable enough character, but we never seem to delve deeply enough to understand him properly. I loved the brash handmaiden Ptraci and her fearless contempt for tradition. All of the dead pharaohs are quite funny, particularly in terms of their opinions on an afterlife spent shut inside a tomb inside an escape-proof pyramid. The subplot featuring the history of warfare between two neighboring kingdoms really helps make this novel a true winner. Perhaps the most interesting thing to be found in these pages, though, is the actual identity and thought processes of Discworld’s greatest mathematician. There is also much to amuse and delight fans of temporal dislocation theories—the pyramid builders make many incredible discoveries in the process of building the Great Pyramid, not the least of which is a means of utilizing the structure’s innate time loop to call forth several different selves to help make sure the job is finished in the allotted time.
Even though this book is funny and satisfying enough to stand on its own, I would not start my Discworld reading with it. Aside from Teppic’s time spent in Anhk-Morpork learning to be an assassin, the action takes place outside the much more familiar lands we encounter time and again in the other novels. Of course, Pratchett devotees will want to read it for the very reason that it acquaints us with a strange, otherwise unfamiliar section of the Discworld.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Young Prince Teppic is sent forth by his father, the ruler of the desert kingdom of Djelibeybi, who sends him to Ankh-Morpork to join the Assassin's Guild. Teppic is successful in his studies there, but, seven years later, the death of his father sees him recalled to take up the mantle of pharoah.
Unfortunately for all concerned, Teppic comes home with some strange notions about plumbing and the benefits of feather mattresses, which is not good news to the head priest, Dios, who prides himself on how things are run in the kingdom precisely as they were seven thousand years ago. New ideas are not welcome in the Old Kingdom...
Pyramids (subtitled 'The Book of Going Forth'), the seventh Discworld book, is one of several 'sleeper' hits in the series. Much more attention is lavished on the book preceding it, Wyrd Sisters, for introducing the popular characters of the Witches, whilst the succeeding volume, Guards! Guards!, gets a lot of props for introducing the City Watch and also for being one of the best books in the series. Pyramids by contrast tends to slip beneath the radar, which is a shame as it is a very good book indeed.
It's a stand-alone with not too many continuing story elements, but it works well for that. Rather than simply doing a story about someone with new, radical ideas turning up that the priesthood gets annoyed by, Pratchett throws in some excellent mickey-taking of philosophers and also some nice commentary about SF. Around the time Pyramids came out a lot of 'approachable' SF had been discarded in favour of brain-expanding stories about time travel and non-linear space or something, and Pratchett's constant use of "It's probably quantum!" to explain every single possible plot hole in the novel is a nice bit of satire.
Teppic makes for an engaging protagonist, although he's one of Pratchett's more familiar archetypes (a general do-gooder whose attempts to do good go wrong but he sorts it all out in the end). Dios is one of the series' more interesting protagonists, and the various pyramid-builders and embalmers make for an amusing secondary cast as well. On the minus side, the book's humour is a little bit too obvious in places (there's a few obvious Cleopatra jokes and the employment of mummies for comedic purposes), but there's still a few good belly-laughs in there as well. The theme of the book also seems a bit vague, except that ossification should be avoided by embracing new ideas, which is a bit of a no-brainer.
Pyramids (****) is a solid entry to the Discworld series, funny and entertaining throughout. The book is available now in the UK and USA.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Terry Pratchett's first novel, "The Carpet People", appeared in 1971. "Pyramids" is the seventh novel in his hugely popular Discworld series and was first published in 1989. It's the first - and, to date, only - book to feature Teppic, and is largely set in his home country of Djelibeybi.
As the book opens, Teppic (or Pteppic) is approaching the end of his education at Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Assassins. (The final exam, if failed, tends to be very...<ahem>...final). However, there is more to Teppic than dressing very stylishly and inhuming only for vast amounts of money. With the very recent death of his father, he has also become King Pteppicymon XXVIII of Djelibeybi. Teppic's home country is very obviously based on Egypt : it's two miles wide, one hundred and fifty miles long and runs along the river Djel. It has driven itself bankrupt, having spent seven thousand years building pyramids for its monarchs - invariably on the country's most fertile soil. Having become the first Pharoh to be educated outside Djelibeybi, Teppic finds it difficult to re-adapt to the traditions of his home country. He is technically a God and although he is officially Head of State, it's Dios - the very aged High Priest - who actually runs the country. Teppic isn't entirely impressed about this - he wants to introduce proper plumbing and pillows, for example. However, in spite of the country's debt, he does agree to building a massive pyramid for his late father. (This isn't something his late father - still pottering around as a ghost - isn't too impressed with). The final straw comes when Dios decides to feed Ptraci - the late King's favourite handmaiden - to the crocodiles. Teppic decides to become a little more politically active - and, luckily, he has a helpful education to fall back on.
Like everything else I've read by Pratchett, this is an excellent book. It's easily read, features plenty of likeable characters and there are plenty of laughs. As it's one of Pratchett's stand-alone books, it's a good starting point if you've never read any of the Discworld books before. (In a way, I find that a pity : I'd love to have known what became of Teppic and Ptraci). Definitely recommended !
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2001
I'd never read any Discworld before, so I was kind of dubious. But this was brilliant - hysterically funny. It's about the teenage pharoah of the desert kingdom of Djelibeybi (say that out loud!) whose name is Teppic. He has to cope with the irritating priest, Dios, the fact his father's ghost keeps shouting at him, three pyramid builders - Ptaclusp and his sons Ptaclusp IIa and Ptaclusp IIb, his curiously under-dressed sister/aunt, Ptraci, and if all that wasn't enough, the Great Pyramid itself explodes from paracosmic instability and flings Djelibeybi into another dimension (!) Brilliant.