The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld Novels) Hardcover – 27 Aug 2015
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"This isn’t just a great Discworld book, it’s extraordinary . . . A magnificent sign-off." (Kat Brown Daily Telegraph)
"From the shadow of dementia, a brilliant novel shines: Terry Pratchett's last book is a funny, fearless farewell . . . This is a book worth reading twice in quick succession." (Christopher Stevens Daily Mail)
"A joyful sign-off from a master of fantasy fiction . . . High-octane literary enjoyment." (Nicholas Tucker Independent)
"Terry Pratchett was never so witty, direct and generous as in this, his final Discworld novel." (Amanda Craig Guardian)
"The Shepherd’s Crown is a sometimes sad, often funny and eminently suitable testament to the life and career of Terry Pratchett." (David Barnett Independent)
Sir Terry Pratchett's final Discworld novel, which features the witch Tiffany Aching.See all Product description
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Tiffany is a powerful young witch, yes, but stepping into Esme Weatherwax's shoes (while not giving up her own steading on the chalk) is a very big step and there are some senior witches, particularly Mrs Earwig, who would deny her the opportunity. Indeed, people are always underestimating Tiffany. She's young, working class, she comes from the chalk, not from Lancre (and chalk is 'soft') and her kind of witching largely consists of going round the district dealing with births and deaths and cutting old men's toenails because that's what needs doing. And that's what a witch does. It's not flashy magic, in fact, it's not always magic, but it's what's needful.
Tiffany has allies. Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax's long time friend, knows that Tiffany wouldn't have been named as her successor unless she was worthy, and the Nac Mac Feegles, the Wee Free Men of the first Tiffany book - a cross between miniature Scottish Nationalists, Glasgow boys on a Saturday night out, and Braveheart extras with double woad - are her staunch supporters and protectors. And then there's Geoffrey, the boy who wants to be a witch, and Tiffany's long distance boyfriend who is learning to be a doctor in Ankh Morpork at the Lady Sybil Free Hospital.
All this comes together when there's another major incursion from the Elves, those Lords and Ladies repulsed by the elder witches in the novel of the same name. Elves are nasty and dangerous. They live by their glamour and take delight in doing mischief from ruining beer to stealing children and tormenting and killing humans in various despicable and painful ways.
Needless to say Tiffany does things in her own way and becomes her own witch in the end, not following exactly in Granny Weatherwax's bootsteps, but making her own.
This is a delightful book, a fitting end to Terry Pratchett's oeuvre. I have to say that right from the start there were moments when I could hardly read it dry-eyed. Tiffany has a lot to say about humanity, but she leads by example, working it out for herself as she goes.
When I finished the final page I was left with a hope that somewhere, in some reality, Terry Pratchett and Esme Weatherwax are sitting in the sun enjoying a substantial cup of their favourite tipple together.
Terry Pratchett didn't set out to write "literature" but then neither did Dickens and I suspect that, just like Charles, he'll be appreciated even more in the future than he is now. A true genius of satire, a great human being and a very, very, funny man
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