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The seventeenth Discworld tale once again features the most powerless and chronically-frightened Wizard in Discworld, Rincewind. The title is based on the “ancient curse”: “May you live in interesting times.”
Dear old Rincewind reunites with his old partner in adventure, Twoflower, from the original two books that started the Discworld series (The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic). Now Rincewind is summoned from a peaceful interlude on a tropical island, where he and the Luggage are stranded, apparently in the wake of the events of Eric.
Using powerful magic the wizards at Unseen University send him to the mysterious Counterweight Continent (some combination of China and Japan) where the services of “the Great Wizzard” (sic) are required. There he gets tangled up with a war of succession for the imperial throne, a revolution by young intellectuals who are too polite to make effective revolutionaries, and an invasion by a barbarian horde consisting of seven old men, one of whom is more of a schoolteacher than a hero.
I am speaking of Cohen the Barbarian, a.k.a. Genghiz Cohen, and his Silver Horde: Caleb the Ripper (who keeps tabs on hero obituaries); Boy Willie (who wears orthopedic shoes because BOTH of his legs are shorter than the other); Truckle the Uncivil (who is trying not to swear so much), Mad Hamish (who rides a wheelchair and is very deaf), Old Vincent (who has problems with memory and bladder control), and Ronald Saveloy, a borderline-postal school teacher who is trying to bring some culture (and a plan) to these old barbarians.
Throw in a devious villain, a maniacal emperor, a bunch of silly revolutionaries, an impossible palace invasion and an even more unlikely battle, a few golems (actually, not a few), a butterfly that literally creates weather patterns, and the mysterious mating rituals of the Luggage, and you have a book that really lives up to its title.
Recommended Age: 14+