Book Review: “Thief of Time” by Terry Pratchett

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The 26th tale in the Discworld series is another Susan Sto-Helit adventure (Death’s granddaughter), and it once again has to do with the evil Auditors of the Universe making a sneaky attempt to assassinate All Life.

Bureaucratic types, you know. They can’t abide untidiness, and nothing is more unpredictable and messy than life, especially humanity. They’ve tried before now to rub-out mankind (see Reaper Man and Hogfather) but now they’ve hit on something truly diabolical: build a clock that can measure the heartbeat of the universe (the smallest possible division of time in which anything can possibly happen) and Time herself will be trapped, everything will stop, and the universe will exist without change forever. How tidy can you get, eh?

Only Death is on to them, and while he collects the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (including the Fifth Horseman, who left before the group got popular, ha ha) to fight the battle of Armageddon, Susan accepts the assignment to track down a History Monk whose weirdly gifted apprentice seems to be the key to the whole thing.

History Monks! We’re talking about people who can move incredibly fast by “slicing time,” and who use machines called Procrastinators to pump time from where it isn’t needed (like, for instance, the sea) to where there doesn’t seem to be enough of it (like the city). But Lu Tze’s ex-thief apprentice, Lobsang, is especially gifted because, apparently, he is the son of Time herself. This is the sort of thing that only happens in Discworld.

But what really makes it weird is the dangerously sane clock maker Jeremy, his gruesome assistant Igor, and the creepy Lady who pays him handsomely to build the doomsday clock & then, for some reason, keeps sabotaging it so that he can’t quite finish it. It’s quite an interesting story and it also introduces a new use for chocolate–as a deadly weapon!

Recommended Age: 14+