Book Review: “Pyramids” by Terry Pratchett

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The seventh novel is totally different from those that have gone before, but you can see one thread that connects it to Wyrd Sisters: the idea of a country that is magically isolated from the flow of time. Lancre only skipped 15 years. In Pyramids however, the Old Kingdom a.k.a. Kingdom of the Sun a.k.a. Djelibeybi is like Egypt at the height of its pyramid-building, king-worshiping tradition…only it has been frozen like that for 7000 years.

Enter one progressive-minded king, who sends his son Teppic off to Ankh-Morpork to study at the Guild of Assassins. This sounds a lot like Hogwarts, only instead of studying magic, you study being a licensed assassin…and you pass your final exam, basically, by surviving it.

No sooner has Teppic finished his schooling, than he is summoned back home by the death of his father and the demands of being king of Djelibeybi. This doesn’t turn out to be so easy, what with a social structure that insulates Teppic from having any real power or even freedom, from making any changes in his society. It gets even harder, when he makes an enemy of the high priest Dios, when his father’s giant pyramid temple distrupts the fabric of space and time, when a pantheon of nasty Egyptian gods comes to life, when the mummified dead walk (or rather, lurch) through the streets, when the neighboring nations (essentially, Greece and Troy) decide to make war on each other, and when the only hope for everybody is a king who is more at home in Ankh-Morpork than in his native land, an assassin who would rather be a king than kill people, and a camel named You Bastard who happens to be the greatest mathematician in the world.

There is also a scantily clad handmaiden, a man who carries his twin brother folded up in his pocket, a river full of giant crocodiles, a giant dung beetle that pushes the sun across the sky, and a symposium of Greek-style philosophers and creative artists who have to pay somebody by the minute to listen to their inane babble. It’s just too funny to be missed. And a totally wild adventure, to boot!

Recommended Age: 14+