Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Last Hero


This Discworld novella, much like its longer brethren, opens with mention of the disposition of the series’ world, suspended by four giant elephants standing on the back of a turtle. Flight has long been a dream of the world’s inhabitants, and sure enough, Lord Vetinari of Ankh-Morpork commissions the artist Leonard of Quirm for a flying machine. Meanwhile, Cohen, the barbarian leader of the Silver Horde, kidnaps a minstrel in want of a saga about him and his fellow warriors, and wants to meet the gods on the world of Cori Celesti.

Pratchett occasionally mentions backstory to the Discworld, such as Emperor Carelinus having an empire that encompassed the world, and a construction known as the Circumference spanning a third of the way around the land. The mentioned flying machine, christened the Kite, sets off, with its controllers, among them being the wizard Rincewind, struggling initially, but getting off-world, fearing things such as space monsters. The Silver Horde ultimately ventures past the gates of Dunmanifestin, meeting a few of the gods and even gambling with Fate. The Ankh-Morpork City Watch, led by Captain Carrot, eventually comes to arrest Cohen, fearing the destruction of the world.

The novella ends on a humorous note, and is generally on par with its predecessors in the Discworld series, being a good spiritual successor to the works of authors such as Lewis Carroll, given its propensity for literary nonsense and lightheartedness compared to other stories within the fantasy genre. The backstory Pratchett provides occasionally is a good addition to the story, and tends to be just as humorous as the “present” events. Granted, it does do many things in an unorthodox manner, such as not sporting clear divisions into chapters, but fans of the franchise will likely appreciate this entry.

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